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The Advanced Oenophile - Review

Practical Guidance for Wine Lovers

by Denman Moody

(CreateSpace, 2012)

The Advanced Oenophile by Denman Moody

Houston-based wine writer Denman Moody is an eminently practical man, whose first book, The Advanced Oenophile, is crammed full of no-nonsense guidance, reaching from Bordeaux to Oregon to Chile and even Asia. Interspersed with country- and region-specific surveys are numerous short essays on topics as diverse as sulfites, screw caps, aging and cellaring, terroir, preventing hangovers and wine in the Bible.

Moody's practical guidance is most evident in his editorial-like essays. In his essay on food and wine pairing, for example, he concludes that, because people's tastes vary greatly, we should let our friends enjoy their wine however they please. "There are several incredible wine/food combinations I've picked up while dining at friends' homes that I never would have thought of nor read about. So experiment and have fun!" Moody evidently has great fun drinking wine and doesn't take himself too seriously. Moreover, he is not afraid to go against the grain and disparage some of his fellow wine writers for their opinions on decanting. Although he generally urges tolerance and argues that there are seldom right and wrong answers when it comes to questions about wine, Moody does occasionally make definitive statements, such as that wine ages best in magnums.

As much a book about wine as an autobiography, The Advanced Oenophile distills more than three decades of Moody's own experiences. He includes copious notes about a few spectacular wine tastings he was lucky enough to have participated in, such as a dinner featuring two centuries worth of Château Gruaud-Larose wines and a tasting of fifty 1961 Clarets in 1981. Moody also describes some of his wine-inspired travels, including a stay at the Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Though some of the material in The Advanced Oenophile has been published previously, it remains timely, informative and interesting. Denman Moody is a writer who deserves to be better known and has much practical wisdom to share.

Reviewed by Barnaby Hughes

(Updated: 01/11/13 BH)

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