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With the gift-giving season approaching, here are some newly released wine-inspired books that will bring hearty good cheer. • Wines of South America by Monty Waldin (Mitchell Beazley, 192 pages, $40) was clearly written by a wine insider who sees the tremendous promise of South American wines. Waldin, who is also the author of the Organic Wine Guide, shows us the beauty of Chile and Argentina’s wine regions with stunning photographs and detailed maps. The recipient of this book will also be pleased to discover that it is useful as a resource for collecting travel information about producers in those regions, and in Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. • It’s hard to gauge what kind of reaction you might get if you left someone a copy of The Official Guide to Wine Snobbery under the Christmas tree (Barricade Books, 160 pages, $17.50). The author Leonard S. Bernstein � not to be confused with the conductor � takes the view that “the wine drinker is trapped by the choreography of wine. Every question that he asks, every movement he makes, has the appearance of affectation.” What can a wine drinker do then? One answer, according to Bernstein, is to embrace the role of a wine snob. “There is something elite about those people who really know which wine to order with ris de vean � or can fake it. Their friends often hate them, sometimes love them, but always secretly envy them. Wine snobs, sensing that this knowledge (or posture) commands a certain respect, seek to secure their privileged status.” Bernstein anticipates the gnarly challenges facing the wine snob, like having to survive blind tastings, and what to say if you don’t actually have a wine cellar, and how to send back a bottle in a restaurant. • I immediately wanted to open Cellaring Wine: Managing Your Wine Collection to Perfection (Storey Books, 260 pages, $18.95) when I saw that the author dedicated the book to “the vineyard workers, who toil so that we may drink wine.” The author, Jeff Cox, is based in Sonoma and is a contributing editor to The Wine News, and writes for Decanter and other wine publications. Cox lays out general guidelines for collecting age-worthy wines, and offers sensible points for figuring the size and layout of your cellar, based on factors like how much wine you typically drink, the amount you dispense as gifts and for business reasons, and whether or not you want to eventually sell your collection or to leave it to your heirs. The checklists of materials and tools required to construct a cellar are well-thought-out and user-friendly. • The fifth edition of Hugh Johnson’s Wine Companion: The Encyclopedia of Wines, Vineyards & Winemakers (Mitchell Beazley, 592 pages, $40) has been revised and updated by Stephen Brook. This is a tome chock full of otherwise hard to find information like the leading Rhingau producers, the wines from Cyprus, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and the leading Cava producers. Choose the Wine Companion for a recipient who has a general wine book collection and is looking for a lot of information densely, but neatly, summarized in one place. • A practical and tasty choice to give a wine lover who knows his or her way around the kitchen is the Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cookbook by Dolores and Jack Cakebread (10 Speed Press, 256 pages, $35). The Cakebreads, based in Napa, have a chef on the premises and with his input compiled 120 recipes designed to celebrate “every season’s harvest.” At the winery, they hold seminars and the American Harvest Workshop where they aim to inspire visitors to create simple and elegant dishes that incorporate fresh herbs and nature’s bounty. Included are recipes for carrot soup with garam marsala and fromage blanc, and light offerings like the tomato, tapenade, and fresh herb pizza, and bruschetta with black mission figs and gorgonzola. Meat and poultry recipes range from labor intensive ones like the leg of lamb with green olive-almond tapenade and tomato jam, and the simpler and just as delightful rolled chicken. • Cooking With Merlot (Rayve Productions, 128 pages, $9.95) by Barbara and Norm Ray celebrates the marriage of merlot and food. Why not enhance that mushroom and shallot bisque with a dash of merlot? Those who are more daring can whip up a merlot and chocolate ragout of stewed beef, lamb and pork. Personally, I plan to make the flaming cherries with merlot over the holidays. • If you have someone on your list who is new to the world of wine, introduce him or her to Jancis Robinson and her latest book Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course: A Guide to the World of Wine (Abbeville Press, 352 pages, $35). Robinson, who is a wine columnist for the Sunday Times of London, distinguishes herself from the pack by writing in a style that shows her range of knowledge of old world wines, but also acknowledges and then knocks down prejudices about the qualities of the wines made in the new world like California and New Zealand. The book itself is nicely wrought, with an appealing and vibrant cover. Its size made it easy to slip into a file which I carried to court over a few days. On each occasion, my colleagues and adversaries clamored to let them skim through it while we waited for our cases to be called. Elisabeth Frater is an attorney who practices in Napa, Calif., and is the author of Breaking Away to Virginia and Maryland Wineries (Capital Books).

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