Pros: Each wine is of very good quality.
Cons: Not all wines are easily found in stores, and some popular styles are underrepresented.
Reviewed by: Ruben Urias
The book 500 White Wines is a collection of expert recommendations from authors Natasha Hughes and Patricia Langton. The authors do their best to recommend wines that they feel provide the most flavor for the money, and do not limit themselves to still wines; sparkling wines, sweet wines, and others styles are also included in this book for you to explore. To assist you in your white wine journey, the authors also include estimated prices, tasting notes, and other useful tips for each bottle. With so many recommendations, the book will easily steer you towards some flavorful wines, however you may find certain varietals or styles underrepresented. But generally, if you are looking for some good white wines to purchases, this book may be for you.
The book starts by first introducing you to some basic wine information. Introductory discussions include grape varieties, vines, the wine making process, aging, and even a few tips on tasting and pairing. If you are already familiar with such information, feel free to bypass it for the heart of the book, the wines.
This book is organized to help you easily find quality products from around the world. The wines themselves are grouped by region, with each region receiving a few recommendations. Each recommendation includes tasting notes, approximate price ranges, and other useful information such as wine style, appropriate food pairings, and aging ability of the wines. Of course, the standard varietals from all the expected regions are included such as California, France, Germany, and Italy. But smaller regions, like Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia, also receive thorough coverage. Surprisingly, even a few obscure Eastern European regions receive nods from the authors. While "most flavor for the money" was the driving force behind the authors' picks, this book will lead you to new wines and regions that you will enjoy regardless of price.
Unfortunately, despite the large number of recommendations, certain regions' signature styles are largely overlooked. For example, the celebrated ice wines from Canada receive merely two mentions. True, the authors only recommend a total of five wines from all of Canada; yet, for such a unique wine style, surely more space could have been dedicated to it, or to Canada generally. Italy is also slighted with only one recommendation for its ever popular Prosecco. Of course managing book space for 500 wines is difficult. But considering the overabundance of, say, California Chardonnay picks, surely more room could have been found for these popular regional wines.
Shortcomings notwithstanding, 500 White Wines is still a useful and user-friendly book to own. The palm-sized book is rather handy and can provide you with fast recommendations when needed. You may not always find the exact bottle you are searching for at your local wine store, but you will at least be steered towards some flavorful regions or varietals to take its place. For the white wine aficionado, even you may find new recommendations to please your palate. For those less familiar with white wines, this book will guide you to plenty of tasty wines enjoy. So if you are looking for a book that provides quick recommendations, 500 White Wines may be a book for you.
NOTE: While not certain, it appears that the authors simply provided the wine recommendations, with the introductory and possibly other information being supplied by the publisher. This is inferred from the fact that a sister volume, entitled 500 Red Wines, shares significant word-for-word passages with this particular book. However, this does not detract from the wine selections. Rather, it is simply a fact worth noting for those also considering 500 Red Wines.