I picked up a copy of Kevin Zraly's The Ultimate Wine Companion: The Complete Guide to Understanding Wine by the World's Foremost Wine Authorities at a store on the Disney Boardwalk to read on our flight back to Washington, DC. I was glad I did.
Kevin Zraly is best known as the author of the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. He is considered to be one of America's top wine educators. Kevin Zraly selected quite a collection of articles and book excerpts from past and present top wine figures for this book.
I have read some of the parts of this collection in the past, for example, Oz Clarke’s, “Discover Grape Varieties” from his book, but in this collection it is placed in historical perspective. I have read and enjoyed critiques of Robert Parker's approach to wines, but I found his essay in this collection called “What Constitutes a Great Wine” persuasive. Alan Richman's story about tagging along with a group of wealthy collectors as they spend $25,000 for a week of wine tasting in France rather staggering (and humorous) when you consider they didn't taste any wines from Bordeaux because they are too expensive. My favorite essay was "Postcard from Porto" by Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jensen (no relation) about the history and ritual involved in the world of Port wine.
All in all this is an enjoyable collection for anyone interested in wine. There are articles for novices and experts in this well-selected anthology. I recommend it highly.