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‘The 24-Hour Wine Expert’

A scene from the 2016 documentary, 'Burgundy: People With a Passion for Wine,' one of Bob Lipinski's top picks for the holidays.

By Bob Lipinski

My annual list of books (and video) to purchase for the upcoming holidays covers a multitude of topics, genres and authors. Some are current, “just-released” publications and other are “golden oldies” that are a “must read.” They are available in most bookstores and online.

Bob Lipinski
Bob Lipinski

“The Italian Slow Cooker” (2010) by Michele Scicolone. Finally, a book that combines the fresh, exuberant flavors of great Italian food with the ease and comfort of a slow cooker. Scicolone, an authority on Italian cooking, shows how good ingredients and simple techniques can lift the usual “crockpot” fare into the dimension of fine food.

“The Italian Vegetable Cookbook” (2014) by Michele Scicolone. Scicolone shares 200 of the best vegetable recipes gathered from talented home cooks, chefs, produce vendors and vineyard owners throughout Italy. A cherished few of the recipes are family specialties, passed down by her grandmother.

“Burgundy: People With a Passion for Wine” (2016-DVD) by Rudi Goldman. A colorful mosaic of extraordinary stories about people whose lives revolve around the culture, challenges and pleasures of wine, winemaking and French gastronomy in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. A must see video; it’s that good!

“101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” (2015) by Bob Lipinski. It covers the basics of each major whiskey category and countries of origin. Also covered are history, definitions, slang terms, classic cocktails, drinks of American presidents and famous people and whiskey-infused quotes.

“The 24-Hour Wine Expert” (2016) by Jancis Robinson. This best-selling author has penned a 112-page book that strips away the nonessentials and concentrates on what’s really important in learning about wine. Easy to read style with drawings and down-to-earth material that can be read in 24 hours.

“Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (2015) by Bob Lipinski and Gary Grunner. Background on more than 130 Italian cheeses paired with wine, cheese and fruit combinations, glossary of terms, phonetic pronunciation, regions of origin and so much more.

“Friends of Wine” (2013) by Michael Belardo. Friends of Wine represents Belardo’s personal collection of photographs taken through the years of people in and associated with the international wine business. Great photos!

Now for my “booze” recommendations to drink while reading:

Mayfair London Dry Gin (England) 86 proof. Juniper-filled bouquet along with lemon and rosemary. Medium-bodied and full of flavor with subtle hints of lemon, orange peel and a delicate creaminess in the finish. Superb gin … one of the best I’ve tried lately.

Lighthouse Gin (New Zealand) 84 proof. “Batch Distilled from 100 percent Sugar Cane.” Heavy juniper-perfumed bouquet with tones of sage, pine and citrus. Herbal tasting with hints of peach, orange, lime, lemon and pine, Quite smooth with little burn.

McCarthy’s Single Malt Whiskey (Oregon) “pot distilled” (Peat Malted Scottish barley). Aged three years. 85 proof. Medium-full peated nose (reminds one of Laphroaig) with smoke and leather. Flavors of citrus, orange, leather and black pepper. It’s not a Scotch, but pair it against a smoky one.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].