Book Review: ‘How to Drink Like a Billionaire: Mastering Wine with Joie de Vivre’
Too often, wine authors tell you to smell the cork, drink with your pinkies up and toss around adjectives about a wine’s legs or aromatics that nobody understands. While Mark Oldman’s latest book title, “How to Drink Like a Billionaire: Mastering Wine with Joie de Vivre,” might allude to some of these high-brow tactics, the book’s contents make it perhaps one of the most approachable and essential wine books to date.
Its first sign of brilliance is the format. Each “chapter” is a single informative page, with a few exceptions, offering up a piece of savvy wine advice. The book begins with Oldman’s eloquent descriptions of billionaires who get it — the ones who are careful when ordering wine in restaurants so as not to get ripped off. He commends the superrich who toss pompous wine rules out the window and do things like — gasp — drop ice cubes in their wine or stock just one type of glass in their opulent homes.
Oldman warns readers not to confuse the perspective of his book “with the encouragement of snobbery.” He has made his career doing just the opposite, authoring previous wine books and hosting seminars about outsmarting wine and “wine speak without the geek.”
“I strive to puncture pomposity and encourage people of all capacities to ‘drink bravely,’” he writes. “As anyone who has spent time with me will attest, I relish deeply the chance to relieve drinkers of wine’s pretentiousness. It is in this spirit that we shall now, with an insider eye and a flavorful dollop of fun, drink richly.”
Want to find wines that drink above their price? Looking for bubbly to pair with your French fries, or a fine red Bordeaux to go with that cheeseburger? Seeking an obscure wine or an alternative to big-name Champagne? Oldman’s advice will make you feel like an insider the next time you’re the chosen one to select the wine at dinner.
You’ll feel smarter for not giving into the pressure of the sommelier who steers you toward the higher-end bottles (See Chapter 44: Choose the Cheapest).
Don’t let the billionaire title fool you. This book might be about drinking richly, but not in that way. Rather, it’s about being a smarter wine drinker.
The only criticism I have of the book is that it’s not produced in a purse-sized version for easy referencing on the go.
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