Wine Books: Giles Kime
Giles Kime once edited Decanter, and also wrote the Sunday Telegraph wine column. His introductory text, Secrets of Wine, provides an excellent system for educating the palate new to wine. An antidote to points and shopping lists!
It's rare to find something new and innovative in wine writing. But here it is. Giles Kime's book has 238 pages, but not one single specific recommendation. Not a single wine map. No droning on about the 1855 classification. No rulemaking on food and wine. And no pictures of labels. But I think it is one of the best introductory books to wine which I have ever come across.
Kime's desire is to instil in his reader freewill, and independence, when it comes to the subject of wine. He supports the concept of the 'free-thinking drinker'; those who have the confidence and security to drink what they enjoy, regardless of the label. Much of the book is given over to encouraging the knowledge and independence that such a stance demands, through a series of 52 short, focused chapters, each with a sequence of exercises. Take, for example, the chapter 'Whites with attitude', a stimulus to explore the many wines available that aren't Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. This comes with the suggestion of a taste test; comparing Verdelho, Viognier and the like against the more common grapes. The idea is, through experimentation, to encourage the reader to find their own way in wine, rather than providing a prescription for what's hot and what's not. Kime has it right; experimentation, and understanding your own palate, is the only way to truly enjoy wine. Anything else is fumbling around on the basis of someone else's opinion. Kime spouts a commendable philosophy, and this book is highly recommended.