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Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2004: The World's Favourite Wine Adviser Hardcover – 18 Sep 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley; Rev Ed edition (18 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840007311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840007312
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,885,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hugh Johnson began acquiring his wine knowledge as a member of the Wine and Food Society at Cambridge University. When he came down from King's College in 1961 he became feature writer for Vogue and House & Garden, writing, among other things, wine columns for both magazines. In 1963 he became general secretary of the Wine and Food Society and succeeded the legendary gastronome André Simon as editor of Wine and Food. At the same time he became wine correspondent of The Sunday Times and started work on his first book Wine (1966), through which he established himself at the age of 27 as one of the subject's foremost writers. His rare talent for making the most complex subjects readable has led to a remarkable sequence of books.

After a year as travel editor of The Sunday Times he became editor of Queen, and in 1969 James Mitchell of the newly founded publishing house Mitchell Beazley asked him to write The World Atlas of Wine. First published in 1971, this book has been translated into 14 languages and sold over four million copies. The sixth edition, fully updated and co-written with Jancis Robinson, was published in October 2007, and a concise edition is to be published this September.

Hugh Johnson's vast knowledge of wine is condensed into his Pocket Wine Book, an annually updated guide to everything worth drinking, which, year by year, is the world's best-selling wine book. This year the 33rd edition of the book is published. In 2005 he penned his memoirs, entitled Wine - A Life Uncorked, which became another best-seller.

In 2007 Hugh Johnson received an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list. His OBE was awarded for services to winemaking and horticulture. In April 2004 Hugh was honoured with the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite, one of the highest tributes bestowed by the French Government. The medal was presented to Hugh for his significant contribution to the appreciation and understanding of France and its wines.

Product Description


"No guide is friendlier... a micro-encyclopedia for novices and experts."

About the Author

Hugh Johnson is the world's pre-eminent writer on wine. First published in 1977, his Pocket Wine Book sells hundreds of thousands of copies a year. His winning formula of insight, critical appraisal of the world of wine, plus valuable vintage news and wine recommendations has been often-imitated but never bettered. With the publication of his first book, Wine, Johnson established himself at the age of twenty-seven as the most refreshing and authoritative voice on the subject. During the past four decades he has written books that have become landmarks on the subject, including his classic The World Atlas of Wine, co-authored with Jancis Robinson, his Wine Companion, first published in 2003, and The Story of Wine. In his spare time he writes about gardening from his home in Essex.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
A nice to have book but not the easiest to use which I thought it would be
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Concise, well organized and packed with information 14 Feb. 2004
By Christopher E. Behr - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hugh Johnson's pocket wine books have been my companions for the past 6 years. The 2004 edition is no exception, with its clear, sensible advice, judicious layout and helpful hints.
The contents are divided into major regions (in most cases, by country, although Bordeaux gets its own section), so Cheval Blanc is not followed by Chianti or Chimney Rock. Each region is clearly marked with a handy color tab visible of the edge of each page. I've tried other pocket guides where the wines were in simple alphabetical order with all regions mixed together, and had a much harder time finding the wines and missed the "browsing" fun provided by Johnson's format.
The book uses a simple 4 star rating (a delightful antidote to the preposterous 100 point system), and easily understood symbols to identify bargain wines, good years and which vintages are ready to drink. There is a brief but amazingly complete section on pairing wine and food (the best I've seen, to which I refer often), summaries of the vintages of each region, along with brief information about grapes, serving and tasting wine.
When it comes to wine, your taste and opinion are all that matters. But whether you are just starting to navigate the world of wines, or are a seasoned connoisseur, this book will help your journey.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Best Wine Resource in the Smallest Package 20 Dec. 2003
By c clark bracken - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have learned more about the wines of the world in this powerful, yet tidy-sized and easy to navigate encyclopedia, than from any other source. Since I run an event and catering company that holds a wine license and serves a sophisticated clientele, this book is on my desk and within an arms-reach at all times. When I write menus and I'm not sure where to go with the wine, regardless of the varietal or the vintage, I reach for this book. HJ uses a very easy-to-comprehend star system that rates the winemaker or the vinter. This in my opinion, is the single most-important tool to have in hand when making a wine decision - knowing the winemaker! The only thing better is to talk with the winemaker one on one - if you are so lucky!
If you love wine and want the best wine lesson without going to wine classes, this is the book for you.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Useful, portable, practical and fun, but biased 22 Aug. 2004
By Vincent Poirier - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a book, Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book is a model of clarity. Wine buffs will find a long list of short but distinct entries, organized geographically and alphabetically within a country. There are also many tips on which wine goes with which food, the different ways to serve different wines, and descriptions of under appreciated and under publicized wines such as port and sherry.

Wine lovers know of the rivalry between wine critics Robert Parker and Hugh Johnson, and Johnson fans the flames with two pages poking fun at Parker's 100 point scale. To be frank it is hard not to agree that Johnson's system is better. A simple four star system to rate quality coupled with a highlight to show his own preferences. This strikes me as the correct level of precision for the topic.

However, this trivial dispute about how to rate wine overshadows the real disagreement between the two men, which is about how to make wine. Johnson believes in terroir (geography) and technology while Parker believes in traditional manufacture and grape varieties. Unfortunately, Johnson hardly ever acknowledges that particular dispute with Parker and completely lacks generosity to opposite viewpoints on these two issues. That I tend to see things Johnson's way does not make it less of a pity to me. The last failing costs the book one star. Or perhaps I should give it 96.5 points.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Gem in your pocket ! 8 Nov. 2004
By S. Nathan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Crammed full of useful and practical advice. Font is hard to read sometimes. Still, a must have for anyone who wants to learn.
Pocket wine guide 4 Dec. 2013
By ANTHONY HAMBOYAN - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Late submitting my review; however this guide was user friendly. not biased at all. parker was very precise with his recommendations & ratings.
Very accurate with needed details to make an intelligent well informed decision especially when purchasing high end Bordeaux wines.
I enjoyed it immensely, served me right. I actually tripled my investment in bordeaux purchasing & selling.
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