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Book Review

Leo Zanelli's Home Winemaking from A to Z

"A great little book just packed with information.... "

Zanelli, Leo. Home Winemaking from A to Z. Kaye & Ward, Ltd., 1971; S.A. Barnes & Co., 1972, South Brunswick and New York.

(Reviewed for Amazon.com by Jack Keller, The Winemaking Home Page)

Despite the thinness of this volume, it is one of my favorite winemaking references. Leo Zanelli has done something unique, combining an extended winemaking glossary with an alphbetical listing of recipes. I first found this book when someone mentioned it contained a recipe for burdock wine and someone else volunteered, "And aubergine wine -- don't forget that." I didn't even know what aubergine wine was, but I knew I had to get this book. I did, and I've been glad ever since. This book was written in 1971 and reprinted in 1972. It is a hardback, organized into three sections.

Section One is about making wine. It contains the basics and demonstrates them with a recipe and step-by-step instruction for bilberry and raisin wine. It concludes with three methods for extracting flavor and color from base ingredients. These methods are referenced throughout the book.

Section Two is the alphabetical listing of home winemaking recipes, equipment, ingredients, and other items and techniques. As advertised, it starts with A (Acetaldehyde) but fails to make it all the way to Z (it ends with Y -- Yeast). In between are some real gems (Aubergine, Burdock, Charlock, Folly, Gloegg, and so on).

Section Three is about imitating commercial wines, exotic or unusual wines, and ancient recipes. He tells you how to make a passable imitaion of Beaujolais using elderberries and raisins, a Claret using similar ingredients in differing proportions, a Hock using gooseberries, sultanas, grape concentrate and rose petals, and so on. He has recipes for Artichoke, Lychee, Morat, and Paw-Paw wines. And he includes recipes from 1768, 1814 and 1820 references.

What this book lacks in size it makes up for in unexpected diversity. It contains more than a few gemstones and belongs in every serious winemaker's library. It's out-of-print status does not make it a rarity. I found it the first time I looked for it.

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Last update was June 16th, 2001.

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