The Persistent Observer’s Guide to Wine by J.P. Bary is a guide geared to enlighten wine lovers. As an Italian, I have had wine at the center of my table, for every meal, all of my life, so there is no surprise I jumped at the opportunity to read this book.
In all honesty, when I picked up the book I thought I would be reading a lot of what I already knew. What a refreshing surprise to discover how little I know about the elixir I have been tasting since my childhood, from homemade wine in Sicily to my favorites from around the world.
Bary does a great job deconstructing for the reader the entire process of the development and enjoyment of wine tasting. I say development because he takes us on a self-discovery trip to find our unique palates right at the beginning. Then he moves on to all the other aspects of wine: selection, composition structure and types, grapes, aging process, etc. What us impressive, however, is how Bary makes this guide personal for the reader even as he focuses on the individuality and uniqueness of the whole wine experience.
Once in a while life gives us opportunities to experience what we read. As I was reading The Persistent Observer’s Guide to Wine, I was invited to go wine tasting in the Texan vines in Fredericksburg, and so I decided to take the book with me and experience Bary’s little guide by focusing on my own palate. I also brought a selection of cheeses and meats to pair with a bottle, focusing on the wine’s taste with the foods’ textures while we had a picnic lunch during the wine tasting. I was also able to compare the different vineyards and wines based on the aging and even the age of the vineyard itself. To my surprise I discovered I actually liked the newer wine better as it would remind me of Sicily’s homemade table wine. I had the most comprehensive wine tasting experience thanks to Bary’s little wine guide.
The Persistent Observer’s Guide to Wine by J. P. Bary is definitely the result of true life experience and research paired with true passion. It is a real, personal, and useful book that will enrich the wine experience for all who drink wine.