From the encyclopedic to the personal, five books to help you uncork the mysteries of wine.



The Accidental Connoisseur

By Lawrence Osborne


"Nothing requires more taste than wine," says Osborne. It is the genius of his "irreverent journey" through the world of vines and vintages to take taste itself as his muse and to chase it -- "as solid as a soap bubble" -- through Italy, France, and California in this singular, shrewd, very funny book.




Judgment of Paris

By George M. Taber


For most of the history of winemaking in America, California wines were considered mere bumptious colonial cousins of their sophisticated European counterparts. But in 1976, when several Californian wines shockingly triumphed over the finest French vintages in a blind tasting, a new era in viticulture was born.  George M. Taber, the only journalist present at the momentous event, turns the story of the upset, and its consequences, into a tale to be savored.



Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

By Kevin Zraly


Frank Prial of The New York Times got it just right when he said, "If you have never bought a wine book before, start with this one." From grape varietals to bottle labels, vineyards to store shelves, Zraly's easygoing authority will help you master the fundamentals and have tasty fun while you're learning.



Inspiring Thirst

By Kermit Lynch


Since the early 1970s, when he opened his now famous Berkeley shop, wine merchant and importer Kermit Lynch has been waxing eloquent, erudite, and cantankerous in his monthly store brochure. This selection from his legendary communiqués is the most delicious browsing book a wine lover can discover.



The Billionaire's Vinegar 

By Benjamin Wallace


When a scion of the Forbes family paid a record $156,000 for a single bottle of wine at auction in 1985, he thought he was getting a 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeauxone that had been owned by Thomas Jefferson. The truth proved far murkier. Delving into the controversy provides author Benjamin Wallace ample opportunity to explore the fervor at the heart of wine collecting.

July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).