You have to have a real fizz fetish to buy this for yourself, but it's a great present for someone who has more than just a passing interest in posh sparkling wine and who owns a large, glamorous coffee table.
That's not to say that all the wines featured are posh, but it would be too sadistic to put a review of Laurent-Perrier's Cuvée Grand Siècle 1952 (or the more readily available 1990) in front of a Champagne fan who couldn't afford to buy a bottle. Tom Stevenson has very forceful opinions and great technical tasting abilities. His beautifully put together reference book has been exhaustively researched and his knowledge of people, places and wines that feature here is second-to- none. If there's a criticism, it would be that the book lacks heart.
The author has had more expertise in sparkling wines than any other style--his specialist subject would deny Magnus Magnuson of any "passes". His book, Champagne, was a milestone on the topic and won him just one of his current holding of 22 literary awards. The book has been produced in association with Christies, for whom he gives an annual Champagne Master Class. Buy the book and a few bottles of the most highly recommended sparklers; invite a few friends 'round; forget the Master Class.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The breadth and depth of detail is astonishing, and the inclusion of entries from less-heralded wine-producing regions such as India makes the volume comprehensive . . . Vintners are scored when possible or otherwise commented on, and noteworthy bottlings are singled out. Color photography abounds, and select wineries are highlighted in sidebars or whole pages . . . This sharply observed and written reference guide to bubbly merits a home in any oenology collection. VERDICT A superb tome to pore over or dip into selectively. Highly recommended for libraries where books on wine are popular." --"Library Journal" (Starred Review)