All my wine blogs, Interviews

Drink bravely says Mark Oldman

I am sure it happens to you all the time. You scanned your inbox full of e-mails, replied to what you needed, deleted those that are obviously “unrequested, uninterested etc…” and got left with some that you plan to get to, eventually, later. But the next day the situation repeats – and your “get to it later” gets pushed all the way out of the view.

I am glad I have the habit to sort my inbox once in the while and file my emails into folders. Otherwise, I would have never come across this e-mail again. W.W. Norton & Company was informing me about the new wine book, they thought may interest me. That’s why I didn’t delete it at the first place. I was indeed interested in that book, and this time I finally looked it up.

I own many “wine books”. Among the most treasured still are Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Courses, recommended to me when I first started to learn about wines professionally. At that time, I wouldn’t dare reveal that many terms and basics, so familiar to my colleagues, were totally unknown to me. I learned the entire wine business in my second language, on top of that.

To catch up, I speed-educated myself, studying these books. Attending the professional tastings and receiving information about wines on a professional level, at the same time. It was quite overwhelming.

I am still coming back to Mr. Zraly’s courses, over and over again. As my wine knowledge slowly improved, I could relate to his books much better. I can appreciate it better now, than 10 years ago.

Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine, written by Mark Oldman, is nothing like that. Yes, it gives away a lot of valuable information that might not be familiar to a regular wine enthusiasts, but Mark does it the way that even “caveman can do it”.

The author claims to reveal the insider info of wine professionals to all of us. And to be completely honest, he does just that. As soon as my copy arrived from Amazon, I dag in to see what it was all about. I really liked the way Mark plays with words, giving you important facts, yet not taking himself too seriously at the same time.

You can learn a lot from this new “adventure, beyond wine’s usual suspects” – without a need of dictionary or world atlas to understand it. Marks walks you through with an ease. I really like his way of introducing not-so-known grape varietals. 

I found particularly helpful to relate taste profiles of some  wines, made from not so usual grapes to something far more familiar to regular wine drinkers. I honestly believe that even some wine store employees should grab this book and refresh their memory (or learn thing or two new).

After my years spent dealing with wine retail on daily basis, some wine store owners have no idea how many of their “educated staff” would be totally lost if asked for, let’s say, an alternative to Pinot Grigio. That’s why I like Mark’s book so much. If you don’t have a favorite wine store to go for recommendation, when planning to explore your wine experience, now is your chance to find out the “insider favorites” yourself.

Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine is full of playful graphics, much needed pronunciations of foreigner words (how many, possible great bottles did you put back on shelf just because you couldn’t even pronounce the name?). All that and more is comfortably wrapped in Mark’s entertaining writing style, interesting stories and humor that puts you in ease. Like his statement that “Viognier can really hit your V-spot”…

Mark went on and asked many wine loving celebrities, what they thought of wine. The fun quotes of people like Antonio Banderas, Kevin Bakon, Hillary Swank – and many more actors, musicians, journalists, sport stars, significant chefs or sommeliers, are also highlights of this wine book.

I truly enjoyed Mark’s Brave New World of Wine. I also enjoyed very much talking with Mark in person, given the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

You can find my interview with an author Mark Oldman here

I have the book left on my coffee table. I know I will be coming back to it often. For study purposes, for entertainment or just for fun. Don’t take me wrong. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy a glass of wine. Just like Mark said it himself: “It’s not a rocket science, you don’t need to have a Phd in linguistic, you don’t need a lot of money to enjoy the wine.”

Wine was invented thousands of years ago to compliment the food – and to elevate one’s spirit. I am sure, getting drunk played some role in it as well.

One of the most beautiful things about wine is the fact, that the more you know about it, the larger the undiscovered world of possibilities seems to be. I always love to learn  something new, don’t you?

Full interview with an author Mark Oldman here

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