Taste 2009 makes choosing wine easier than ever

Taste Food and Wine 2009 - Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

By Louise Johnson
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Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer, authors of Taste Food and Wine

Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer, authors of Taste Food and Wine

Taste Food and Wine 2009 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

Hooray, they did it again. The amazingly accessible wine guide Taste Food and Wine 2009 is on the shelves again. Too often experience, history and perhaps even politics, make wine recommendations more than just a review of performance in the glass. And who cares? When you pop the top off a bottle of wine, what you really want is some confidence in what you've bought.

Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer present their take on the current vintage releases in Australia and New Zealand in Taste Food and Wine 2009. What makes this guide different to all the others is that the authors wait until July to do their tasting - when all the new wine releases are bottled - then in an amazing frenzy of sniffing, tasting, judging, writing and printing, the book is on the shelves in October. For the cynically minded, this isn't just so you can buy it for Christmas, it's so you can take it to the bottleshop or vineyard, and look up the vintages that are on the shelves NOW, not last year.

So, what's in it? The hot list is shorter than ever before, though the lads say it's the finest collection yet - and havig just attended one of their tastings, I agree. However, to fine turn their list, they tasted more wines than ever before and most didn't make the cut.

The hit rate for Taste Food and Wine 2009 is a paltry three percent. They says out of 10,000 wines only three in every hundred were worthy of their recommendation. "Ninety-seven out of every 100 wines that we open are mind-numblingly boring, extraordinarily bad value for money, or should never have been put in the bottle in the first place," they say in their introduction.

This raises some major concerns for anyone going to the wine store and perhaps makes having a guide to the best even more essential.  

A nice feature of Taste is a mobile phone download, which gives you access to the full list - handy when you're instore without the book. The cover also folds down, with some simple origami, to a pocket sized ready reference. However, the book has grown in size this year and you'll need a bigger pocket.

There's the results of the Great Australian Red challenge and a chance to taste the winners when the lads take them on tour around the country in November 2008.  If you're a Cabernet Shiraz fan, then you shouldn't miss the chance to try the best exampes in Australia.

Kiwi Pinot lovers, and lovers of Kiwi Pinot, will enjoy the Great New Zealand Pinot Classification, which gives you a best bet on the quality of estate releases from New Zealand. It makes picking a bottle in a sea of branding so much easier.

Of course, the wine reviews themselves are just gold: "baked blueberry muffin nose" is how they describe a De Bortoli Shiraz; only superheroes should drink the Graggy Range Le Sol Giblett Gravel Syrah 2006; and if you're a fan of lime ice pops then try the ice sculpting suggestions that comes with Devil's Corner Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc 2008 to turn you into a human unicorn.  It's nice to sit down with a bottle of wine and some descriptions of it that you can relate to, and have a laugh about.

But my favourite section last year was the food and wine matching chapter and I was a smidge disappointed to find  the 2009 chapter it's just a refresh. Fortunately the 2008 section was excellent and worthy of republishing. It was so excellent it won the award for best food and wine writing at the Australian Food Media Awards this year. They cover off a huge range of ingredients, dishes and cuisines and give you broad recommendations to then choose a specific bottle from the wine reviews. The Who's Who chapter talks about the heroes in each region, so gives you a great background if you're choosing wines outside those listed in the book.

Really, it's brilliant. It's like taking a well-informed mate who's up for a bender to the bottle shop. You're in for a great night with Taste Food and Wine 2009 in your back pocket.


Taste Food and Wine 2009 is published by Winepress, October 2008. RRP A$19.95. VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive subscribers can puchase Taste Food and Wine 2009 at 12.5% discount through our book partners Seekbooks (postage extra).





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