Friday, March 30, 2007

I Have a New Book! And You Can Win a Free Copy!

“Wine and The Informed Palate” by Seamus O'Bròg

How to Seriously Save Gobs of Money While You Increase the Quality of the Wine You Buy.

Thank you, thank you. Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a new book. The contract was signed yesterday and the book should be out June 8, 2007. Much to do. Cover to be designed, manuscript to printer, proofs to be edited, contest to be won…… CONTEST!!

I’m giving away free books. So far it’s just the modest number of 5 books total, but I haven’t even nailed down all the details of the contest yet, so cut me some slack. And watch the blog here for details of the contest.

First, about the book: “Wine and The Informed Palate” is an effort to help people select fine wines at a value price. Anybody can buy a cheap wine. Getting it down your throat can be a problem. Cheap wine can be awful stuff. But it need not be. I used to rely on paying $15-$20 to assure getting a quality bottle of wine, and I was still often disappointed. Now I’ve been paying between $7 and $12 and so far I have not been disappointed. How? Well that’s what the book is about.

On the other hand, if you have much more money than I have, I can show you an example of 3 bottles of wine, a Bordeaux (French, $479), a Barbaresco (Italian, $250) and a Grenache (Spain, $150), which are all red wines. All are substantially the same quality. Note I did not say the same flavor. While these are all hearty red wines, they are very individual and if you are familiar with them and naught but that particular wine will do, we are into another argument. In that argument I have to tell you to buy the particular wine that suits you.

However, if you are sitting around with friends, especially if you’ve already had a few glasses, and you just want another glass of red to go with the new platter of Hors D’oeuvres that the downstairs maid Fifi just brought out, I guarantee no one, including Julia, Jacques or Wolfgang will have a preference among the three bottles above. Except for Howie. Howie will have a lot to say about which one of those three you serve.

Howie is your accountant. And Howie will immediately notice that the Spanish Grenache is a full 69% less expensive than the French Bordeaux. And Howie will even have figured out that the Spanish wine is also 40% less than the Italian Barbaresco. You may not think that is much money, and you may not want to deprive your friends of the best. But Howie will tell you that if you want to retire when you hope to, so you can travel the world and keep enjoying the Bordeaux, Barbaresco and Grenache as you are currently enjoying it, you want to save wherever you can. Most especially if the savings will go un-noticed. Most especially if there will be no decrease in quality along with the savings.

And that is what my book is all about. Until recently I was at sea with the rest of humanity when it comes to selecting wine. I tried to buy the best wine I could, but I was painfully aware that there is NO correlation between the price and the quality of wine. Until I stumbled on this information recently, there really was only one way to be assured of a fine wine. Buy a bottle and taste it.

But excuse me. I just can’t afford to throw away my money like that. Right about here I usually find out a lot about the economic circumstances of the people I’m talking to. Right about now, I either hear, “Oh, no problem. You can buy all kind of wine for under $5 per bottle.” Or I hear, “At the price we buy, we don’t have to worry about the quality we get.” While those two comments are coming from two different economic levels, it is the same cry for help. “Help, we have no idea what fine wine should taste like!!!”

I don’t care how much you pay for a bottle of wine, the price doesn’t guarantee quality. The other thing I can guarantee is that if you are trying to assure the quality of your wine by buying the most expensive you can afford, you are wasting a whole lot of money. The wine market is like any other market and there are many dislocations. I like to argue as much as the next fellow about the “absolute efficiency” of the market place. But few people who believe that would still deny the existence of bargains and the good sense of shopping for value. I can give you another example:

But first, and again, remember I am discussing quality, not flavor. I don’t know anyone who looks for a wine that tastes exactly like another wine. Wine, like America, is an area where diversity is sought after and nurtured. But it is easy to find a wine of a very similar quality.

There is a well-known French Champagne. It is a favorite of a famous fictional British secret agent. There is a sparkling wine made in California by another well-known French Champagne maker. And third, there is an almost totally unknown Spanish maker of sparkling wine. All three are very similar in quality. All three are currently on the market. The Champagne favored by James Bond is upwards of $150 per bottle. The California version with the famous name is $21 per bottle and the unknown Spaniard is $7 per bottle.

I can live with almost any decision as long as it is an informed decision and if you have compared the taste of Dom Perignon to Tattinger’s Domaine Carneros alongside of Cristalino and you feel you prefer the one that costs $150, you have my blessing.

However, if you’re like me and you like to drink a couple or three bottles of bubbly a week; especially if you like to splash a spot of brandy into your bubbly; your accountant might find the Cristalino easier to live with. And the claim that the quality is nearly equal is not my opinion. The evaluations were by independents.

So these are the two ideas I try to explain in my book. There is no correlation between the price and quality of wine, and it is easy to achieve savings of 25, 50 even 75% without a significant or even noticeable decrease in the quality of the wine you purchase. Easy.

I’m not going to go through the gyrations of presenting dollar figures here. As my father, the greatest man who ever lived used to say, “Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.” so I won’t bore you. You entertain yourself. How much do you spend on wine each year? Multiply that by 25%. Then tell me you‘re not interested in what I’ve got to say.

The details of the contest are coming up. Either I will append them to this page here or they will occupy the next page of my blog. Hopefully by tomorrow if not later today.

Win a free book. What have you got to lose? - © 2007 The Chewed End All rights reserved.

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Seamus O'Bròg is an artist and freelance writer who tries to turn life's irritations into life's lessons.

His money back guaranteed newsletter "The Pitfalls of Unlocked Cell Phones and SIM Card Cloning" can be purchased by clicking here.