"Right now is the greatest time in history to be a wine drinker," declaims Eric Asimov on page 8 of How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto. He's so excited, he repeats it 12 pages later. It follows, then, that it's also the greatest time in history to be a wine writer. Asimov has been the chief (and only) wine critic of The New York Times since 2004.
Asimov offers earnest, accessible, enthusiastic recommendations and commentary that range all across the suddenly huge and exciting variety of excellent and often inexpensive wines now available. His manifesto is inclusive and catholic, reserving opprobrium mainly for the "tyranny of the tasting note," which he overthrows in an entertaining chapter.
For Asimov, wine is a personal "journey" that takes in all the scenery around it: the food we eat with it, the way it transects our relationships with our family and friends, its place in history and culture. "This book will not demystify wine for anybody," he cautions—later adding that "certainty is the enemy of wine"—but it is nonetheless a fortifying primer for the enthusiastic beginner who has soured on the bottles of industrial grapes in the big-box store and wants to go deeper into wine. For starters—and, in fact, eternal guidance—Asimov repeats this nugget from the midcentury wine entrepreneur Alexis Lichine: "Buy a corkscrew, and use it." Asimov appears at Wine Authorities, 2501 University Drive, at 1 p.m. in an event co-sponsored with the Regulator Bookshop. —Adam Sobsey
Update: Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Eric Asimov has rescheduled his visit and book signing for Dec. 15.