A fresh, fun, and unpretentious guide to wine from Marissa A. Ross, official wine columnist for Bon Appétit.
Does the thought of having to buy wine for a dinner party stress you out? Is your go-to strategy to pick the bottle with the coolest label? Are you tired of choosing pairings based on your wallet, instead of your palate? Fear not! Bon Appétit wine columnist and Wine. All The Time. blogger Marissa A. Ross is here to help.
In this utterly accessible yet comprehensive guide to wine, Ross will walk you through the ins and outs of wine culture. Told in her signature comedic voice, with personal anecdotes woven in among its lessons, Wine. All the Time. will teach you to sip confidently, and make you laugh as you're doing it.
In Wine. All The Time., you’ll learn how to:
• Describe what you’re drinking, and recognize your preferences
• Find the best bottle for you budget and occasion
• Read and understand what’s written on a wine label
• Make the perfect pairings between what you’re drinking and what you’re eating
• Throw the best damn dinner party your guests will ever attend
• And much more
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
Copyright © 2017 Marissa A. Ross
I’m just going to get this out of the way: I am not a sommelier. People always assume that I am when they learn I’m a wine columnist, and I don’t blame them. Those are two very logical dots to connect, like A to B or Nate Dogg to Mr. Warren G. No one hears that I’m a wine columnist and is like, “Oh, shit! So you must be a college-dropout comedy writer, then!” Being a college-dropout-comedy-writer-turned-wine-columnist doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as saw-muhl-yay, but on the bright side, I didn’t have to take any tests to earn the title, and people can actually pronounce it. The important thing to take away from this is that despite my lack of formal education in this world, it eventually led me to writing the book you now hold in your hands: an unconventional, unpretentious guide to wine that I hope will help you become a more confident, more adven- turous drinker.
Because you don’t need to be a sommelier to know your way around wine. That notion is as insane as telling someone they need to go to film school to have a good time at the movies. Sure, it helps if you’re interested in directing Scorsese- style tracking shots one day, but you don’t have to be top of the class at NYU with a brand-new beret to be entertained by Goodfellas. And yet, we’ve all been made to feel that way1about wine at one point or another, whether it’s been while browsing the shelves of a stuffy wine shop, being side-eyed at a dinner party for throwing some ice in your Sauv Blanc, or being winesplained by your hard-lining in-law.
Wine is for everyone, and anyone can learn about it. It isn’t this sacred subject surmountable only by a handful of human aroma Rolodexes. That might be true if you’re trying to sniff out specific French slopes in glasses of Sémillon, but most people out there are just trying to find a reasonably priced Pinot Noir. And for that, you do not need to know “everything.” You need to know the basics of tasting, so you can describe what you like. You need to know the basics of how wine is made and the effects of regions, so you can recognize patterns in the wines you like. And you need to know the basics of buying wine, so you can buy more of those wines you like, instead of shopping with your fingers crossed. This may seem like a lot right now, but you can totally do it. I know this because I totally did it.
When I started off my writing career, I was a blogger with a reputation as a freewheeling wino with a proclivity for cursing and little regard for open-container laws. When Molly McAleer started HelloGiggles in 2011, she suggested I do a video series reviewing all the shitty wines I drank. Thus, Wine Time was born, “the show where a woman who has absolutely no qualifications to be reviewing wine, aside from the fact that she drinks it every day, reviews wine.” I studied the steps of tasting and approached each wine like it was a $200 unicorn bottle rather than a $2 dusty bottle from House of Spirits. I inspected the color and clarity, swirled and accessed the bouquet, took three sips, and then I chugged it, a step I declared “The Ross Test.”
After ten episodes of reviewing wines under $10, I came to the conclusion that all wines under $10 tasted like all other wines under $10. I was bored, but thirsty for more. I never had thought of tasting wines before Wine Time, and suddenly that was all I could think about. Rather than just chugging to get drunk, I found myself studying each bottle, wondering if it smelled like summer or winter. I began to go through the motions of tasting at dinner, at parties, and while writing. And it dawned on me. I couldn’t shoot live wine reviews every day, but I could certainly write them.
I started my blog Wine. All The Time. in 2012 and something just clicked. It was as if I had given myself permission to do what I had secretly, deep down wanted to do this whole time. To sit and be present with wine, to smell it and taste it, and to feel and just daydream. With each wine, I’d spend hours reading and researching, teaching myself about varietals and regions and winemaking, and writing my reviews, for no particular reason except that I enjoyed doing it. Virtually no one read it for years, but I didn’t care. The blog was for me, for those few moments of peace, for that feeling of somewhere else.
In February 2015, I got an e-mail from New York Magazine for an interview with Grub Street about Wine Time. I was flattered and excited, but I didn’t think much of it. By this time, I’d been working as Mindy Kaling’s assistant for four years and had written enough scripts, taken enough meetings, and performed in enough UCB Theatre storytelling shows to never get my hopes up about anything. Not even like, “Oh, this could be great! Wait, better not get my hopes up.” Just no hopes. Zero. Like it didn’t even cross my mind that this interview about my wine writing and videos could be the thing that launched my dream career.
A week after the interview went up, I had a literary agent and started the proposal for this book. By June, I had quit my job, was writing for Vice Munchies, won Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Choice for Best Wine Coverage at the Saveur Blog Awards, and sold this book. And that December, out of nowhere, my favorite magazine offered me a job as their wine columnist.
The moral of the story is, if I can go from chugging $2 Cabernet on the Internet to writing about wine professionally for Bon Appétit, then fuck yes, you can pick out notes of bell pepper in a Cabernet Franc. Especially because I’m not sending you off to start a blog and spend the next five years collecting an education by your lonesome. Nope, we’re doing this together, you and me, homie. I’m going to guide you through fermentations and sparkling wine methods, teach you how to navigate wine labels and how to swirl without spilling on your new shoes, and even tell you some of my secrets, like how I buy wine, how I survive family functions, and how I stopped hating Chardonnay. It’s everything you need to know to drink well, right now.
By the end of this book, you will be a confident wine drinker. You will know how wine is made, you will smell red fruits, you will be as comfortable talking tasting notes as you are parsing pop culture. You will enter wine shops with an assured air about you, you will take the list at restaurants without hesitation, you will volunteer to bring a bottle to pair with your mother-in-law’s famous pasta. You won’t get a lapel pin, nor will you know everything, but I don’t have those things either. And you don’t need them to kick ass and drink good wine. Promise.
What People are Saying About This
Can I just be Marissa, please? I want to be hilarious and sexy and smart and insanely knowledgeable about wine.
Funny as hell ... Wine. All The Time. breaks down one of the most exclusive-seeming concepts and industries of our time, making it more approachable and inviting in anyone who cares to participate.