Books and stuff
With more than 3,000 entries on every aspect of wine from vine pests to specific grapes, this hefty tome has something for both the seasoned connoisseur and novice alike. Edited by one of today's premier wine columnists, the work covers all aspects of wine, travelling back in time to early Greece to examine wine's role in Dionysian revels, then returning to today's wine centers to explore all aspects of wine appreciation. A full third of the book is dedicated to specific wines and wine-producing regions. All those technical terms you've heard and puzzled over at tastings are clearly explained, making this the perfect reference for newcomers to the world of oenology.
For the true connoisseur, The Oxford Companion offers detailed information on the history of the vintner's art, as well as a plethora of details on everything from climate effects on vine disease to the function of the second malolactic fermentation. If you buy only one wine book, this should be it.
Whether Montessori or Merlot, kindergarten or Cabernet, the importance of a good instructor during the formative years is crucial. That's why newcomers to the world of wine could do a lot worse than having a corkscrew in one hand and a copy of Jancis Robinson's How to Taste in the other. A revision of 1983's Masterglass and published in the U.K. under the superior title Jancis Robinson's Wine-Tasting Workbook, How to Taste is a primer by a certified Master of Wine and star of the PBS series Jancis Robinson's Wine Course. From acidity to Australian Shiraz, oak to Oregon Pinot, Robinson delivers chapters of information and theory, intermingled with shaded "Practice" exercises, presented in a style as off-dry as one of the author's beloved Rieslings (the tannin in a lesser vintage Barolo is "like sucking on a matchstick"). Sometimes tuition at Jancis U. runs high: the lesson on sugar/acid balance culminates with expensive Sauterne "Practice." And even if Robinson risks, by dropping words like "charred" and "umami" early in the book, sending novices back to tear open a fresh box of Franzia, vinous virgins are encouraged to stick with it. By the time they get to the glossary at book's end, they'll be identifying wines at blind tastings with professional accuracy--which, Robinson encouragingly reveals, and she ought to know, is about 50 percent. --Tony Mason.
Hailed by critics worldwide as “extraordinary” and “irreplaceable,” there are few volumes that have had as monumental an impact in their field as Hugh Johnson’s The World Atlas of Wine: sales have exceeded four million copies, and it is now published in thirteen languages.
World-renowned authors Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson once again combine their unrivalled talents to enhance this masterpiece of wine knowledge. There are now 48 extra pages, including 17 new color illustrations, 20 new maps, and—for the first time ever—double page spreads and full-page photos in the atlas section for maximum visual impact. New World coverage has been extended for both Australia and South America; some New World regions even have their own entries for the first time, including Rutherford, Oakville, and Stag’s Leap from California; Mendoza (Argentina); Limestone Coast (Australia); Central Otago and Martinborough (New Zealand); and Constantia (South Africa). And Old World coverage has grown too, with the addition of Toro (Spain), the Peleponnese (Greece), and Georgia. It’s a truly incomparable book, and an essential addition to every wine lover’s or professional’s library.
Chayne Zinsli loaned me this book which I read over the summer. Very interesting stories of how the French kept their wine out of the hands of the Nazis. Jaison Kerr
Husband-and-wife journalists and contributors to Wine Spectator, the Kladstrups recount the dangerous and daring exploits of those who fought to keep France's greatest treasure out of the hands of the Nazis. Whether they were fobbing off inferior wines on the Germans, hiding precious vintages behind hastily constructed walls, sabotaging shipments being sent out of France, or even sneaking people out of the country in wine barrels, the French proved to be remarkably versatile when it came to protecting their beloved wine. The authors craft a compelling read that shifts back and forth between individual tales of bravery, including those of five prominent wine-making families, and the bigger story of how World War II affected the French wine industry. This history should prove popular with readers who appreciated other books detailing the Nazis' looting of treasures, such as Tom Bower's Nazi Gold (LJ 5/15/97) and Hector Feliciano's The Lost Museum (LJ 8/97). Recommended for public and academic libraries. John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ
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