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.
From the Author
Why this book is complimentary to my Millennium fizz guide
I loved Amazon's inhouse review, despite the comment about the book lacking heart (obviously I don't agree, but it would be churlish to complain after all the other praise and, what the heck, I believe in freedom of speech anyway!). When compiling an encyclopedia, an author is obliged to go into detail about every aspect of the subject. Furthermore, an encyclopedia about Champagne and sparkling wine must include all the producers, not just the best. If you're looking for the most comprehensive reference on the subject, look no further, but if you want a buyer's guide, the The Millennium Champagne & Sparkling Wine Guide is the book for you. Hopefully there will be a lot of people out there who have a need for both. While I'm at it, I might as well say that this is the book that proves "the English invented Champagne". It's not a new story. I mentioned it in CHAMPAGNE (Sotheby's Publications) 12 years ago, but it is the first time that the document proving the point has been published, which is why this became the first wine book to warrant a leader in the Guardian. While this upset Le Figaro, which accused me of trying to burn Dom Pérignon (not the most level-headed, rational argument to try and shoot me down with), the French were the first to award my book a prize - Best Wine Book of 1998 at the Salon International du Livre Gourmand in Périgueux - which I thought was very magnanimous of them.