So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Book of the day – The Essential Wine Book by Oz Clarke

Oz Clarke’s New Essential Wine Book: An Indispensable Guide to Wines of the World

by Oz Clarke

  • Publisher: Fireside; 3 Rev Upd edition (December 20, 2005)
  • ISBN 10: 0743286685
  • ISBN 13: 978-0743286688
  • Note: all comments forthwith are based on the 1996 edition of this book.

    Robert Parker says it best on the cover of the edition that I own – The Essential Wine Book…is the best introductory text to wine and the most enjoyable to read.

    My edition is over 15 years old, having been published in 1996. Clarke, a wry Brit who’s not Australian despite his nickname, has found a format that really makes it easy for the wine neophyte to get a handle on the oft confusing world of wine. The book is small enough to be easily handled and large enough to offer space for nice color photographs and numberous sidebars.

    The book is quickly outdated as he gives specific vintage recommendations and specific wine choices. That’s part and parcel of a book that tries to be a consumer guide in addition to a reference work. Even some of the editorial commentary is outdated, but that’s the nature of a rapidly evolving wine trade.

    But what makes this a standout purchase, especially for people who need some brushing up on their wine knowledge, is the ease in which he throws open the curtains to an often complex and arcane wine world.  The book is logically designed and his observations are clearly personal and somewhat idiosyncratic. He doesn’t just plug in the generic tasting notes for the various varietals and regions that some volumes do. It’s clear that he’s describing the various products from his own tasting perspective and when he hasn’t tasted something, he’ll tell you, as in the case of Château Le Pin, the Pomerol winemaker who has surpassed Château Petrus as the world’s most expensive wine due to its tiny output (the output has tripled to ~600 cases a year from the ~200 cases per year at the time of my edition’s publication).

    Clarke has the ability to describe the characteristics of the land and environment that make each wine-growing region unique without sounding too abstract or scientific.

    This would be the perfect book for a waiter to keep in his or her locker or backpack at all times. You can pick it up, open it at any point, and learn something new about wine. His conversational style is refreshingly honest and colorful. It’s a delightful read and there are enough color photographs to give you a sense of the parts of the world that he’s discussing.

    All in all, for beginners, if there were one book that I would recommend, it would be the latest edition of this book, although, if you come across a copy of an earlier edition for $1.50 as I recently did, you should snap it up.

    You won’t be sorry.

    Clarke also has an informative and entertaining web site here:

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