Book Review: Wine Simple

by Abi

It is easy to get lost in the delusion of wine. Everyone including your grandmother has their own opinions and their own unrequested suggestions of what you should drink. Points this, points that. Bordeaux’s Out, Burgundy’s in. Natural wine is just a phase of the millennial youth best paired with locally sourced toast and avocado spread. Shiraz is where it’s at.

Ugh. All of these opinions can be confusing and tiring, to say the least. But why? Why do we need someone else to give us opinionated advice on wine when we just want to try new and delicious things? We don’t! We know what tastes good to us, we just need to figure out what that means!

Many people have shied away from learning more about wine because they simply feel as if they will never know enough to enjoy wine because let’s face it, it’s daunting. It’s daunting as all hell! Even us, the wine professionals get overwhelmed with all the information! I’ll be the first to admit, I know a lot but I also do not know anything at all. Wine is one of those humbling experiences, where the more you learn, the more you understand that you will never be able to take in all there is to know. And plus, I get paid to be confused, navigating my way through mountains of wine books and articles to help you guys out!

Still, wine should be an approachable subject, right? I mean, most people drink the juice, so why isn’t it? Maybe it’s the institutionalized class-system, or maybe it’s the egos and the snobbery that sometimes go along with it. Who knows. Whatever it is, we are seeing more and more push back against much of the confusing and polarizing information. We are also seeing more bright spots in the wine world shine light on more inclusive approaches to wine. One of these stellar objects is Aldo Sohm.

Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier is as simple and as approachable as the title suggests. This is a book designed for people who simply just want to know more, so when they go to a restaurant or visit a boutique shop, they can be confident in what to look or ask for. It’s an extremely well-put-together guide that teaches you the best jargon to use when you’re looking for a great glass or bottle.

One of his first notes is that “it’s my job to help them find the perfect glass. But I can’t do it without them.” Speaking the truth there, Aldo! Us wine professionals love to offer help and our ideas on what you should be drinking, but you are the only person that knows exactly what you enjoy. That is why we sometimes ask those annoying questions of ‘what do you like? What’s your go-to wine?’ and so on. This book is an easy way to learn how to answer these questions, allowing you to find that delicious bottle!

Aldo Sohm is a Master Sommelier, who, unlike other wine writers, is constantly bouncing around restaurants assisting customers. And it’s not just those customers who are looking to spend a chunk of change at Le Bernardin, a 4-star restaurant in NYC, either. He also helps casual folk find perfect $11 glasses at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar. This, for starters, is someone that you can learn from. He is working with a diverse array of people each day, where he is constantly honing his knowledge and refining his approach to help everyone find their perfect bottle of wine. You can see this in his writing. There isn’t any forceful language of “you should like this, or you shouldn’t drink this.” He knows that people aren’t looking for that, they are looking to drink the shit they like!

This beautifully curated book will teach you basic geography and basic know-how of wine in a simple, yet artistic way. Not only does he inform you of the basics of each region, but he also gives you tips and tricks on how to order from a wine list and how to shop for wine! But, he takes it a step further! Want to learn how to open a bottle? Also has a section on that! How about taking a sabre to that champagne? Aldo has got you covered! Confused about what glass to serve it in? Turn to page 204. Need a great pairing for your favourite Nordic dish? He’s got your back! It’s honestly incredible how much USEFUL information Aldo has crammed into these pages.

I could go on and on about how useful it is, or continue to rave about the approach that is taken on those pages, but you should see for yourself. This is a great book to add to your bookshelf and will be a great reference for any wine lover whether it is a new passion or a long and happy marriage. If I’m being honest, I wish I had a book like this when I first started to learn about wine. The extremely approachable way it reads makes it far more fun than picking up that thick wine encyclopedia or dry tome of wine scores any day of the week!

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