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Wine-Books of the Year
November 16, 2007

Wine and Food
Books for Education & Good Eating

Reviews by Chuck Hill

Two new books have just come out for the season of giving that should be on the list of wine lovers with an interest in the Pacific Northwest.  Narrow in focus is Paul Gregutt's Washington Wines and Wineries, an in-depth examination of Washington's wine industry: past, present and future. Geographically expansive in scope, Briaden Rex-Johnson's Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining offers winery and restaurant vignettes accompanied by a wide assortment of recipes from those featured establishments.

Washington Wines and Wineries - The Essential Guide
By Paul Gregutt
University of California Press
ISBN 978-0-520-24869-4
$34.95


Paul Gregutt has done a superb job of condensing the vast topic of Washington State's wine history, regions, players and wines into a genial and accessible volume for those keen on discovering Washington's wine secrets.  In his witty and clear writing style, Gregutt first explores Washington's wine history and wine producing regions, examining the many new AVAs and their strengths and weaknesses.

Next, touching on the major varietals produced, he offers recommendations of "Best Bottles," producers whom he feels do the best at vinting each grape. Individual studies of ten of the State's most famous vineyards are fascinating reading for those of us who have been observing the industry for a decade or two.

Finally, Gregutt discusses 25% of the State's wineries individually and employs a rather arcane rating system divided into four parts: Style, Consistency, Value and Contribution (to Washington's wine industry development).  Once I got my mind around the numbers that represent these ratings, I was able to enjoy the academic discussion of each winery.

This is not a pocket guide, but rather a broad essay describing one person's impressions of a complicated and fascinating topic.  Readers who enjoy detail and examination of facts as a way of reaching opinion will benefit greatly from Washington Wines and Wineries

As a regional expert with over three decades of experience, Paul Gregutt supplies superb information to influence wine-buying decisions.

Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining...
The People, Places, Food and Drink of Washington,
Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia
By Braiden Rex-Johnson
John Wiley & Sons
ISBN-13: 978-0-471-74685-0
$34.95

Braiden Rex-Johnson is a certified Northwest foodie who has been writing on Northwest food and wine for more than 15 years.  Her Pike Place Market Cookbook and many articles on food and wine in regional magazines have won her a loyal following.  In her most ambitious project to date, she presents the entire Northwest region's foods and wines, viewed through the recipes and wine pairings from well-known restaurants, wineries and B & Bs.

Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining is organized geographically, almost an armchair tour guide, featuring many wonderful destinations.  But be sure your armchair is close to the kitchen, because you'll want to enjoy some of the 88 recipes adapted for the book.  Braiden includes everything from traditional preparations, highlighting the region's bounty, to adventurous offerings such as Blue Cheese Mussels and Chipotle Chocolate Cake.  Each recipe is paired with an appropriate Northwest wine selection.

Over 145 gorgeous color photos by Jackie Johnston illustrate the lavish book and offer a visual insight into the scenery and personalities described by the author. This would be a great gift for local friends who know many of the places and enjoy cooking. For your faraway friends and relatives, the gift would open their eyes and palates to the beauty and good tastes of the Pacific Northwest.

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