Aspiring sommeliers and the wine competitive, start your engines. Here comes British wine writer Jancis Robinson’s latest tome: "Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours" (Ecco Press, $175). Written with Julia Harding and grape geneticist Jose Vouillamoz, this has got to be the wine reference book to top all such guides. Get out those 3-by-5 cards or, for the technically inclined, Evernote’s Peek app to help you study.
Stump your unwary friends with grapes such as Lemberger a.k.a. Blaufränkish. Bone up on obscure indigenous varietals from Croatia, Greece and Argentina. Dazzle (or maybe just bore) your date with descriptions of flavors and aromas.
This is a serious book for the serious oenophile with an interest in history and ampelography. And it's a daunting work of research, no surprise from Robinson, who also penned the "Oxford Companion to Wine" (now in its 3rd edition), "How to Taste" and "Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course", among others, all books that should be in any serious wine geek’s library.