The next best thing to drinking wine is reading about it; start with these new books

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THE WINE LOVER in your life enjoys reading about wine nearly as much as drinking the stuff because we crave knowledge and insight into our favorite beverage. Here are books I enjoyed and can happily recommend for holiday gifts:

“American Rhône: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink,” by Patrick J. Comiskey, $35.

This is the most important wine book of the year, perhaps in many years. We all have been affected by the “Rhône revolution.” Look at the Pacific Northwest and what is trending here: The most interesting wines are from Rhône varieties — Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, Grenache Blanc.

Comiskey, a longtime wine writer, has dug into the history of the American Rhône movement, the players who brought these grapes to our shores and the motivations behind their actions.

If you want to understand the direction the Washington wine industry is taking, then “American Rhône” is essential reading.

“Riesling Rediscovered: Bold, Bright and Dry,” by John Winthrop Haeger, $40.

Riesling is the greatest wine on Earth. Beauty, purity, versatility, food pairing — nothing beats riesling. Every wine would be riesling if it could.

With this in mind, I always look forward to learning more about the greatest of grapes, and this extensive and richly researched volume provides tremendous insights into one of Washington’s most important wines. The focus is on the dramatic dry rieslings emerging from the New World (Ste. Michelle gets its own chapter) and the Old.

“Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink,” by Alan Tardi, $27.

There is something special about sparkling wine. It begins with the celebratory pop of the cork and is followed by those bubbles that tickle the palate and the mind.

Sadly, we tend to bring out bottles of bubbly only for holidays and celebrations. We should, in fact, keep a bottle chilling somewhere close at hand for everyday enjoyment. My wife and I are both cancer survivors, so celebrating Wednesday, for example, is perfectly appropriate.

I love bubbles, and this book takes a deep dive into Champagne’s history, with explorations of that region east of Paris. This is a perfect book to enjoy with feet up, a glass of sparkling in hand and a roaring winter fire before you.

“Forking Seattle: Tales of Local Food and Drink from Farm to Table to Landfill,” by Ronald Holden, $19.

Drink local, eat local, read local.

Seattle’s resident food curmudgeon and longtime wine-book author (he penned a few in the 1980s) is using his latest book, “Forking Seattle,” to tell tales, and they are delicious. While mostly a food book, Holden dedicates a few chapters to drink, including one on the movers and shakers in the wine industry. If you love food or wine (or beer or spirits or coffee), you’ll love “Forking Seattle.”