Review by Jessica Yadegaran.
Millennials, there's much to celebrate. Not only did wine out sell beer last year, but you are officially the fastest growing segment of the wine consumer market. Good times, indeed.
So if you're young and trendy " or both " and looking for a solid introduction to wine, you've found it in Courtney Cochran's Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine. Cochran is the brains behind the uber-popular San Francisco-based Hip Tastes events, where 20-somethings relish PB & J and Tater Tot pairings for their wine against a techno beat. She's infused her first book with much of the same verve.
Cochran, a certified sommelier, shares her great enthusiasm for wine " those who prefer exclamation-point-free prose, be warned " with the novice, organizing the book with intuitive, easy-to-follow chapters ("The White Stuff," "It's a Red, Red World," "Bubbly Basics and Sweet Treats"). From there, it's Wine 101 " more fabulously irreverent pairings, storage, navigating lists and shops, and wine gear must-haves. She's pro foil cutters; anti Rabbit.
Hip Tastes is one of few wine books that doesn't make you feel like a loser for lacking the cash or know-how, for that matter, to invest in Chateauneuf-du-Pape or a temperature-controlled cellar. Cochran assumes you live in a shoebox of an apartment " she does " and validates closets and other dark nooks for bottle storage. She's practical about nearly everything when it comes to wine, and it's refreshing, especially for the novice.
Furthermore, she introduces cult value wines sure to impress ("Dr. L" Riesling, Bon-Bon Shiraz Rose) and peppers the book with loads of boxed-off Hip Tips: the low-down on organic wines and how to make nice with a sommelier (always offer a taste of a special bottle you've brought to dinner). In return, he (or she) will no doubt be happy to customize a flight for you.
No self-respecting wine manual would be complete without a handy index, and "Hip Tastes" has one, in addition to a thorough appendix organizing European wines by their place names and grapes by their difficult pronunciations. There's even a vintage guide.
For those curious about winemaking and its various umbrellas, Cochran offers clear explanations of everything from extraction and lees stirring to malolactic fermentation without losing her fresh, light voice. It's just enough technical lingo to entice a person to further their wine studies but not too much to send them running to a tequila tasting.
Jessica Yadegaran is a wine and lifestyle writer for the Contra Costa Times and the Bay Area News Group. She writes a bimonthly wine column called Corkheads and blogs daily by the same name. Visit www.ibabuzz.com/corkheads.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Karen MacNeil The Most Untrustworthy Wine in the World Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 11/22 I'll Drink to That: CP Lin of Erewhon Warm Up: New Zealand's South Island I'll Drink to That: Bob Cabral of Three Sticks Wines Warm Up: Rotgipfler and Beyond I'll Drink to That: Bernhard Stadlmann of Weingut Stadlmann Vinography Images: Last Light I'll Drink to That: Suzanne Mustacich
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune