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Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine

Pleasure, Value, and Adventure Beyond Wine’s Usual Suspects

“Mark Oldman is the ideal mix of wine connoisseur, showman, and everyday dude.”

Publishers Weekly

Mark Oldman is the wine-obsessed best friend—wildly passionate, decidedly unsnobby, and forever eager to share his favorite new finds—we all wish we had. Now, in his irresistible new book OLDMAN’S BRAVE NEW WORLD OF WINE [W. W. Norton & Company; September 2010; $19.95 paperback], he pulls back the curtain on the wine world’s best-kept secrets: lesser-known wines of moderate cost and maximum appeal.

Why should insiders have all the fun? That’s what Mark asked himself when he saw that, despite the unprecedented selections from around the world that have made their way to our local wine stores, most shoppers resign themselves to yet another boring Chardonnay or mediocre Merlot. Meanwhile, wine experts go into ecstasies about varieties like Txakoli and Gewürztraminer—wines that intimidate the rest of us because we can’t pronounce them, don’t know what to eat with them, and can’t be sure that they’re worth the risk.

Fortunately, with “drink bravely” as his battle cry, Mark Oldman has put together a completely original and entertaining guide to the wine world’s most exciting frontiers and best values. Each chapter introduces a “brave new pour,” giving us the lowdown on what the wine tastes like, where it comes from, how to spot a good bottle, how much to pay, what wine-enthusiast celebrities have to say about it (including Tom Colicchio, Dan Aykroyd, Jodie Foster, and many, many others), and—thank goodness—how to pronounce it. Mark brings to this task his signature humor and flair, ensuring that every entry will make you laugh and make your mouth water. Consider this inspired description of the often-maligned rosé: “It is misjudged as the vinous equivalent of Mariah Carey’s hemline or Donald Trump’s hairline… [but] with better bottles, its bouquet will live up to its look, refreshing you with juicy red fruits like raspberries, cranberries, or watermelon, joined sometimes by floral essences, citrus fruits, or perhaps a whiff of minerals.”

Mark is the easily swallowed everyman of the wine world, and so you should prepare yourself for the best possible kind of sticker shock: most of his “brave new pours” cost just $15-25 a bottle, and many like Vinho Verde and Muscadet are downright steals at under $10. As if that weren’t enough to send you running to the nearest wine store or website, Mark also includes invaluable cheat sheets for each wine that are sure to inspire an unforgettable drinking experience. Here are just a few of the cheat sheets’ features:

· Not sure what to eat with your new find? Mark suggests food pairings from the same region as the wine (for example, polenta drenched in olive oil for the Italian red Aglianico) as well as less orthodox but equally delicious matches (Côtes du Rhône and hamburgers? Yes, please.) · Want to hone your sommelier skills? Mark offers ways for you to “spend the night together” with a wine and take your familiarity with it to the next level, such as staging a “taste-off” where you and your friends compare American sparkling wine and equivalent bottles of Champagne. · Fall in love with a given wine? See the “enthusiasts also like” section for similar pours, such as Lambrusco and Moscato d’Asti for Prosecco.

This book is worth its weight in gold—or perhaps aged Madeira—for experienced wine drinkers who want to spice up their repertoires, intermediates who yearn to serve up lesser-known wines that will devastate their friends, and beginners who crave a perfectly curated guide to the ever-expanding choices that line their wine stores’ shelves. Mark’s enthusiasm is nothing short of infectious, and OLDMAN’S BRAVE NEW WORLD OF WINE is sure to transport readers into the blissful vinous territory just outside of our comfort zones. In short, thanks to Mark Oldman, we will find ourselves drinking more bravely.

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Media Quotes

 [Oldman is] the ever-entertaining wine guru

Miami magazine

Georges Duboeuf "BEST WINE BOOK OF THE YEAR"

two-time winner

"An excellent primer…the perfect book for someone who’s just caught the bug, or would like to...informative and entertaining. Oldman knows his stuff, but he also enlists an army of chefs, winemakers, sommeliers and celebrities to help him demystify the subject...Oldman’s breezy, literate prose and his facility with pop culture metaphors makes for easy reading. Among a number of memorable phrases here, I particularly liked his description of Priorat—the powerful, minerally red from Spain—as ‘Unslim Slatey.’"

Jay McInernery, The Wall Street Journal

“Best Book of the Year"

Apple iTunes, 1 of 6 books featured in “Cookbooks, Food, & Wine" (along with Bourdain and Bittman)

"…Oldman nails it again…just when you think every possible nook and cranny of the wine 101 book category has been explored, out comes a book that takes a unique and valuable spin on the beginner to intermediate wine genre…His writing voice is warm, down-to-earth and accessible and the book itself is peppered with short chapters on varietals…widely available at good wine shops, but also mostly sitting under a layer of dust based on non-familiarity and our own ruts of wine drinking with the familiar…the book is very thoughtfully laid out and a valuable read as a primer on varietals that even the most ardent wine enthusiast likely aren’t too familiar with…the book lives up to its promise…"

Good Grape: A Wine Blog Manifesto

"A similar mind-set enriches "Oldman's Brave New World of Wine," in which Mark Oldman examines lesser-known but not obscure varietals. This book would be a great gift for beginners and especially for anyone in a malbec or chardonnay rut, thanks to Oldman's clear writing, understanding of context, and (most important, of course) great palate."

Minneapolis Star-Tribune


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