NOSE, LEGS, BODY is a book designed to help the interested layperson develop an appreciation for wine on a more sophisticated level.
Author Len Napolitano, a wine columnist and expert, carefully goes through the basics of wine production, labeling, selection, food pairing and tasting, with instructive explanations of terms used in the industry and the laws that regulate it. There are helpful references both scattered throughout the book and as appendices at the end, including tables that show what wines generally pair well with what sorts of food, what flavors are typically found in which wines, and other useful information. Additionally, Napolitano offers experiments at the end of chapters that allow readers to fully and personally experience the concepts he has been discussing in the chapter.
NOSE, LEGS, BODY is written in clear, concise, but not condescending language, for a reader who is assumed to be intelligent but not informed about wine. The references and appendices allow the book to be used as a quick guide for someone who wants help in making a decision about, perhaps, what wine to order with dinner, while the more leisurely explanations and experiments permit a more detailed and thorough study for the reader with more time and attention to give. The tables are well-designed for ease of use, providing information at a quick glance. The book is reasonably comprehensive, covering at least in basic form a wide and substantial range of information, from the origin of the grapes themselves to the tasting process to instructions on how to cellar a wine for aging, and much more. Through it all, the author maintains a chatty, cheerful tone that suggests an old friend who genuinely appreciates wine and wants to share that joy with the reader.
NOSE, LEGS, BODY provides a wealth of helpful knowledge and facts all out of proportion to its relatively short length. This is a useful guide to anyone who isn’t already a wine aficionado and who would like to be, or someone who would simply like to expand their appreciation of one of the finer pleasures in life.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader