La Cucina Italiana: Wine Smarts

I know what you’re thinking: Another one of those bulky books on wine that ends up collecting dust on the shelf next to the Samurai sword bible. Well, this is a different story. Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine is a short and snappy handbook full of useful tips and practical advise on grape varietals and terroir, wine tasting, restaurant ordering and food pairing. It spells out the meaning of the terms oaking and tannins, suggests alternatives to the omnipresent Merlots and Cabernets, and throws in a few celebrity wine picks—Tori Amos, Francis Ford Coppola, and Mario Batali. If you’re a budding wine enthusiast with a distaste for encyclopedic volumes, this is the book for you.