I’ve known Helen McGinn for donkey’s years. And if you’re a regular reader, you’ll have seen her appearing several times right here on this very blog, recommending wines for Christmas, wines for Easter, food and wine combos… all sorts of stuff. Helen is my ‘go to’ person when it comes to wine. I’m really interested in wine, but I’m often not sure what I’m doing, and am not confident tasting wine either. She’s always very patient when I bombard her with stupid questions and the recommendations on her fabulous blog, Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, go straight onto my shopping list every week. She’s never let me down.
Muchos excitement was in the air, then, when she told me she was writing a book. Happily it’s written exactly like Helen’s blog – with a hearty dash of humour, a ‘we’re all in this together’ chumminess, and an utter disregard for any kind of wine-based pomposity (is that a word? That’s a word, right?). Oh and I’m quoted on page 45, don’t you know?
This isn’t really a review because I haven’t read it yet (I’m saving it for a long flight I’m taking in February), but I can tell you that it’s full of Helen’s tips for choosing, tasting and food-matching wine – from lovely reds to sip by the fire, to fabulous treats for Christmas and New Year, and will go a long way towards making wine less mystifying for all of us. This is a book for every one of us who says ‘I really like that wine’, but don’t really know why. This is a book that will get us trying new wines, finding out what we really like and stop buying stuff that we don’t. Because, as Helen says, life’s just too short to drink bad wine: “people were always telling me how overwhelming they found the supermarket wall of wine (or the wine list) terrifying. This book is about giving you the confidence to navigate that wall of wine and break out of your wine comfort zone. Think of it as loading up your internal wine sat nav. There’s also loads of useful stuff too – tasting wine, food & wine matching, myths explained – I like to think of it as everything you really need to know about wine.”
I quite like the idea that you can treat this book as a bit of a wine course: you can work through it, discovering more about wine and, next time you’re at a dinner party, can flummox your fellow guests with your new-found winey knowledge.
So what are you waiting for? BUY THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW (well, when it’s released on 14th February)
In the words of Helen: ‘peace out, winos’.