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Grapes and Wines: An Encyclopedia of Grape Varieties [Hardcover]

Margaret Rand , Oz Clarke
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Oct 2001
The modern world of wine is rich with exciting and well-made wines, up-and-coming new wine regions and innovative winemakers, but the most influential factor determining the taste of a particular wine is still the grape variety or blend of varieties from which it is made. In this book, Oz Clarke and co-author Margaret Rand cover the 350 or so varieties that really matter, either because they are widely grown in the major wine regions of the world or because they are important ingredients of classic wines. Also included are 17 extended features on the classic grape varieties. Illustrated with photographs and maps, these special features give the reader an insight into the methods used to maximise each grape's potential and an appreciation of the people behind the production of the world's finest wines. An introductory section, "All About Grapes" explores the history of the vine, shows where grapes are grown today and provides information on what happens in modern vineyards and wineries.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company (4 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316857262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316857260
  • Product Dimensions: 25.8 x 19.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The subtitle, "The Key to Enjoying Modern Wine", indicates what Oz Clarke is up to in this new book Grapes and Wines. Most wines now, especially those from the New World and Australasia, are sold not on the name of a chateau-type maker or a négociant blender but on the (usually single) grape variety that has gone into it. The words Chardonnay or Syrah on a label arouse particular expectations in the taste-buds of buyers in wine shops or supermarkets. This represents an enormous change in the way wine is marketed and sold, a change that has come about only in the last few years and which has opened the world of wine to many who might otherwise be deterred by the arcane impenetrabilia of traditional wine nomenclature. Most of us, if pressed, could name a handful of the grape varieties used in wine making: Grapes and Wines is an alphabetical encyclopaedia listing hundreds of them in great detail, many, as Clarke points out, never described in print before. The great varieties--the Sauvignons Blancs, the Pinot Noirs, the Rieslings and their noble companions--get extended treatment, but in many ways the most exciting aspect of this book are the up-and-coming hopefuls grown in developing wine areas such as Eastern Europe and the profoundly new characters acquired by familiar grapes in new soils and climates. Think of the difference between a fine, aged Hermitage from the Rhone Valley and a juicy young Australian Shiraz, both as it happens made from the same grape. The fact that in France the grape is called Syrah points to some of the difficulties that Clarke and Rand must have faced in steering a clear path through the baffling complexities of vine naming, which is in general casual, local and historically contingent. Steer it they do, though, and this comprehensive, finely illustrated book forms a lasting ornament to Oz Clarke's mission to bring the pleasures of wine to as wide an audience as possible. --Robin Davidson


...another estimable tome, this one containing everything you ever wanted to know about wine grapes. -- Wine Enthusiast, December 15, 2001

...shows to the full his talents as taster, writer, hugely knowledgeable expert and enthusiast ...' -- Harpers, 2001

...the whole thing rattles along at a cracking pace. -- WINE, 2001

...well paced and thoughtfully written ... incredibly well researched. -- Time Out, 2001

This is an exhilarating book ... No serious wine lover's library is complete without it. -- Wine Spectator, December 31, 2001

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vital wine buying companion 9 Oct 2002
By purrdey
Over the years I have built up a sizeable collection of wine books, but these days most wine books more than a few years old are a waste of shelf space. 20 years, or even for some people, 5 years ago, there was no conception of the extent of the world's new wine areas and the new grapes or blends from which wine is being made today.
You're standing in Majestic or Tesco or whatever. What is Aglianico? Or Tannat? Garnatxa sounds familiar, and is, since it's the Grenache. Here's a wine made from a Malvasia Nera+Negro Amaro blend; come again? This book is clear, concise and brilliant for diving into - after half hour flipping through the pages you'll forget why you took it down from the shelf in the first place. Mind you, if, like me, you buy wine from all over the place, when the mood strikes you, you'll probably want to keep it in the car, not on the shelf!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definite recommendation! 29 Nov 2001
By A Customer
I've just been given a copy of this for my birthday and I want to recommend it to everyone - even if, like me, you don't consider yourself a real wine buff. I am amazed by the sheer number of different grape varieties - most of which I've never heard of. This book will definitely encourage me to be more adventurous in my wine drinking. I particularly like the consumer information which lists best producers and recommended wines to try.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good value 26 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book was in good condition as described. It does not have the detail of Jancis Robinson's earlier boot on grape varieties and distribution but is a useful update on that now ageing edition.
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