Reviewed by Kai Jimenez
WINE. ALL THE TIME.
By Marissa A. Ross
304 pp. Blume.
We all have a list of things that we think we should know before we could call ourselves full-fledged adults. Things like doing our taxes, or changing our tires, or picking out a good bottle of wine. Things we inevitably put off learning (until we never do) because of how daunting the topics seem, or maybe because we’re always all too happy to just let someone else do the dirty work for us.
Wine. All the Time. is the book that eats both excuses. With years spent doing the dirty (and expensive) work of chugging progressively less terrible wines, Bon Appetit Wine Editor and Humorist Marissa A. Ross put together this compendium that demystifies the foreign-sounding world of wine. Wine. All the Time. is a comprehensive guide to wine appreciation for causal drinkers who just want better things in life than the cheapest bottle they could find. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?
The guidebook reads less like a textbook and more like text messages from that surprisingly knowledgeable friend who sends you amusing Did-You-Know wine facts sandwiched between her recollections of last night’s exploits. It’s effortlessly casual, occasionally crass, and always unpretentious. This conversational treatment of the prose is exactly what makes this guidebook as easy to consume as a glass of smooth and natural Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine. All the Time. is as informative as necessary, touching on the basics of wine appreciation that can help any neophyte not only confidently choose better wines, but also take more delight in the experience. After all, as Ross boldly claims again and again, the kind and quality of the wine makes up only half of the equation; the other half is the culmination of your memories and expectations and preconceptions that affect the way it tastes to you.
Enjoying wine is a personal experience, and that is exactly what this book looks like: it’s a peek into the author’s intimate relationship with her beloved beverage. We get just as many technical descriptions as we do memories Ross ties to her specific wine experiences – moments that most of us can relate to that Ross describes so vividly (sometimes poetic, sometimes snarky) to help us imagine the experience rather than the wine. What this does is to bring otherwise forgettable concepts to life, leaving the reader unwittingly remembering more about wine than she would have expected. If nothing else, this is what makes Wine. All the Time. so effective as a crash course to wonderful world of the fruit of the vine.
In sum, I am convinced that Wine. All the Time. has earned the rank of essential reading for aspiring #TitasOfManila, or for anyone who just hopes to come home to something good in the fridge at the end of a long day. After all, to quote the wise Miranda Ross, “life is too short not to venture past Pinot Noir.”
Wine. All the Time. by Marissa A. Ross will be available soon at Fully Booked. To reserve a copy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kai keeps an infinite fondness for curiosities under her pillow at night. She finds narratives and tells stories for a living, and is in constant search for fascination in worlds both real and imagined.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]