Saturday, 15 March 2014

Wine: A Tasting Course by Marnie Old

Is it better to be loved or understood?

For wine, the reality is clearly the former as its popularity increases in a world where more quality wine is arguably more available and affordable than at any other time in history. 

But is wine understood? Clearly not, given the legion wanting to show they are in the know but exhibiting less knowledge than they think. 

Philadelphia based sommelier Marnie Old has written Wine: A Tasting Course published by DK that we at SukasaStyle would argue is the best book available for the avid beginner wanting to learn about the world of wine at their own pace.

Wine gets complicated quickly. The cornucopia of terms and references makes understanding it as opaque as a Barossa Valley Shiraz but it doesn’t need to be that way. 

Any newcomer has options available: a plethora of books, winery tastings, institute courses, ‘knowledgeable’ friends and acquaintances, publications and the internet. Marnie Old’s Wine: A Tasting Course cleverly combines a number of these features. 

Available as a hardcover or in e-book format, it has the content to be taken seriously – even by oenophiles needing a quick brush up — and it is designed with tasting in mind with a foundation that starts with “Building Wine Skills” leading to “Navigating Wine By Style” then “Mastering Wine Variables” and ending with “Discovering Wine Grapes and Regions” at the apex. 

The friendly and accessible style means that the reader need not be overwhelmed with obfuscating prose and terminology; after all, only professional sommeliers need to bother themselves with a 500 page tome like Ronald Jackson’s Wine Tasting handbook. 

For those genuinely interested in knowing more then Old’s book is the perfect imbibe: replete with tidbits delivered in an info-graphic format that is visually appealing yet content rich. 

Example 1: Compare four styles of wine and their respective attributes in terms of body, tannin and carbonation

Example 2: How do you read “Old World” labels where a premium is placed on information over design?

Example 3: What effect does geography and climate have on those old vines?

Example 4:
You have perfected that dish for dinner but you’re unsure of the appropriate pairing

Extrapolate this content and visual style to 250 pages and you are left with a rich trove of knowledge that will leave you well versed in wine lore and able to navigate the wine list at the restaurant or the premium vintage aisle of your local liquor store with confidence and ease. Moreover, you will be able to hold your own in a conversation with your favourite sommelier and not necessarily buy into the latest recommendations from your local wine critic once you understand your own palate and preferences. We have always stressed the personal and social when it comes to wine at SukasaStyle. This book takes away the fuss and opacity of the wine world but it isn't fluff. It is a book that you can learn from at your own pace when learning or return to time and again. 

Suggested retail price in Canada is $26 but you may find it for less at your bookstore

Level: Beginner - Low Intermediate

Value: Outstanding

Writing Style: 5 / 5 

Sukasa Stars: 5 out of 5

Wine: A Tasting Course by Marine Old, is published by DK Publishing.

Post by @ArijitBanik  

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Shoes: Instant Expert by Linda O’Keeffe

Do women know shoes? This question appears heretical at face value but it isn’t; it is a given that women love shoes but do they really know them? As a generality men know that women love shoes: looking at the faces of boyfriends and husbands waiting (im)patiently on their girlfriends and spouses as the try on their 15th pair during an afternoon of shopping is testament to the love affair that women have with shoes but arguably they know less about footwear than they think they do. Shoes: Instant Expert by Linda O’Keeffe remedies that within its tightly bound 142 pages; the hardcover fits into palm of your hands and will deliver on its promise to make you an expert almost instantly.

“This passion for shoes is justified when considering the skill, creativity, and craftsmanship that go into their production – the art of shoemaking makes these essentially utilitarian items worthy of our enthusiasm and desire. The ancient skill of cobbling converts formless materials into a beautifully proportioned piece of architecture that acts as a second skin and strikes some as pure alchemy. Nowadays most shoes are mass-produced by machines and computers, so shoes that show signs of handcrafting are deservedly prized and coveted.” (Shoes: Instant Expert, p.7)

Starting from the fundamentals – where styles, materials, anatomy and construction are covered – to a discussion on customized and bespoke shoemakers before ending with resources for learning more, Shoes: Instant Expert will ensure that you come away knowing to clean and protect, maintain and alter as well as accessorize.

Throughout Linda O’Keeffe has succeeded in conveying a lot quickly and accessibly:

Different Leathers
The majority of women’s luxury shoes are made from cow hide, but there are a number of other leathers that can be used as well. The unique softness and pliability inherent in deer and elk skins produce handsome and highly practical outdoor shoes, the nubby follicles in ostrich skin lends a pronounced contour to formal shoe uppers; while snakeskin lends texture and natural pattern to strappy sandals.

Sukasa Stars: 4 out of 5

Shoes by Linda O'Keeffe, is published by Princeton Architectural Press and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books.

Post by @ArijitBanik  

Monday, 3 March 2014


No artist can put a smile on your face more quickly than Alexander Calder. A sense of playfulness animates all of his work – from his signature hanging mobiles to his endlessly creative toys, drawings and jewelry.

The Meet the Artist series are a selection of books that offer young readers exciting hands-on introduction to beloved artists. In the previous post, we covered Pablo Picasso. Now we introduce Alexander Calder who became famous thanks to his invention of mobiles: sculptures in motion. 

Calder liked the circus so much that he created Calder Circus, a complex body of performance art that consisted of a circus ring with different figures representing various characters of a whole circus company.

Born into a family of artists in Philadelphia in 1898, it seemed inevitable that that he’d find his passion in the creative arts. His father and his grandfather were sculptors and his mother was a portrait painter.

A few facts about Alexander Calder:

Red was Calder’s favourite colour.

His friends and his relatives called him Sandy.

Children of all ages will have a blast learning about art and artists from the Meet The Artist series of books, published by Princeton Architectural Press. From Alexander Calder’s book, kids will learn about this beloved American sculptor, as his whimsical world comes to life via imaginative pop-ups, pull tabs, flaps and cutouts.

Teaching young kids about history of artists can be hard. But, the Meet The Artist makes things a bit fun. Young minds will light up with imagination and creativity as a universe of artistic possibilities opens up for them to explore.

Meet the Artist by Patricia Geis, is published by Princeton Architectural Press and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books.

Post by @ShilpaRaikar