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Life's Too Short to Drink Bad Wine: 100 wines for the discerning drinker [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Simon Hoggart
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Sep 2009
20 years ago the French held almost a monopoly on the wine we drank - but now all that has changed as wine producers from the New World have introduced a stunning range of good value, delicious wines. Simon Hoggart has been wine correspondent of the UK's Spectator magazine since 2001 and runs the Spectator Wine Club - in the past seven years the magazine's readers have spent several million pounds buying his selections. He never writes for the wine expert, always for the enthusiastic layman, and his infectious pleasure in finding a delicious, reasonably priced bottle is one reason for the club's success. Hoggart's Hundred is a highly eclectic and personal selection aimed at the regular wine drinker who is occasionally prepared to spend a little bit more than supermarket prices to get something really good - perhaps for a special occasion. But in these belt-tightening times his main concern is to cheer us all up and recommend some wines that will give the drinker pleasure. His choice is exciting, sometimes surprising, but invariably good value. The wines are divided into sections on red, white, rose and champagne; wine entries are interspersed with fascinating features varying from how to read a wine label to inside stories of particular grapes or regions, to an account of the Judgement of Paris, when California wines beat the French in a blind tasting. From the 100 Simon has selected he has awarded ten of them Top 10 status. At the back of the book is a source list of wine makers, distributors and merchants, with complete details, including websites, for ease of ordering, and a checklist that the reader can tick off and add their own comments on each wine. Simon Hoggart is known as one of the wittiest journalists in Britain. This book will bring to a wider audience his entertaining (as well as knowledgeable) approach to wine writing. Whether or not you manage to drink your way through the 100 wines he recommends, you will certainly enjoy reading every page of this delightful book.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd (18 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844007421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844007424
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Anyone who can take the stress and self-consciousness out of trying new wines is to be praised. Anyone who can do it with enough charm and wit and friendliness to earn the name "companion" should be reverenced. At last, someone who really, really gets it. Somewhere between complicated technical detail and chummy cosy chattiness there is a space for proper wine-writing and no one occupies that space better than Simon Hoggart. This book contains more useful information than manuals ten times the size. And, just like the kind of wine he champions, the book leaves you feeling warmer and happier - quality without snobbery, value without cheapness, pleasure without preciosity. If you want to enjoy wine, the Hoggart's School of Wizardry and Wine-Craft is the best in the land..." -- Stephen Fry

"I would love to drink all of these wines - except of course on public transport!"
-- Boris Johnson


"I would love to drink all of these wines - except of course on public transport!"

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read... 25 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a cracking little book and was fun and easy to read. I'm no wine expert but I think I can pick out a good bottle of wine, but I'm a strictly under £10 person. This book does have a couple of wines along that price point but I found the majority were £10-£40 bottles, some as much as £100+. Unless it's Champagne, I just wouldn't enjoy a bottle costing that much, regardless of how nice it tasted.

The book is aimed at the normal person with a few quid to spend, not solely at the wine buffs, which is good. I did find the advice fairly broad though, like, recommending Chablis as an overall wine rather than a specific bottle that the author found to be good.

Also, the wines recommended are really not available in supermarkets and you won't end up with a specific list of outstanding wines, more a good general pointer towards wine that should be good.

One thing it did open my eyes to, was buying random, no name bottles of wine, even at the sub £5 end of the market. When you understand why some wines are very cheap, it makes you more willing to try them. I bought 10 or 12 bottles of random cheapish wine and almost all were nice, I would never have done that before reading this book.

Worth a read.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why wait till Christmas? 25 Sep 2009
I was given this book for my birthday recently and thought 'What a pretty book' and `What great cartoons.' Then I started dipping into it and realised that the packaging was the least part of it - Simon Hoggart writes about the sort of wine most of us want to drink, in terms most of us can understand, and he's as funny about wine as he is about politicians. Practical, too, as when he recommends prosecco as a wine that can make people feel very merry without actually being drunk. There are 100 wines in the book, only a handful of them outside most people's price range and quite a lot available in supermarkets or Majestic. I'm going to start with Albarino and work my way through to Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer and hope I don't run out of lifetime before I'm finished.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and sensible book 25 Dec 2009
By Bluebell TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed reading this well-written and entertaining book by an obvious wine-lover as opposed to a wine snob. It's an attractive book to look at with lots of colour illustrations of the wine-labels of the author's 100 recommended wines. There are good cartoon illustrations with comical quotes from the author's and other wine-drinkers' writings. There's lots of sensible advice about how to get the best value in your wine-purchases and encouragement to be more adventurous. He's right to say that German wines are neglected: many of them are superb and often with only about 8% alcohol: a clear advantage for keeping ones units down.

One thing that struck me repeatedly with his wine recommendations was that he didn't really deal with the fact that wine from an area or even from a single producer can vary greatly from year to year. For example, 2005 in Beaujolais was a great year: we bought lots and find that the quality is so good it can go with food that would normally require something weightier, whereas 2003 was disappointing. In some years even the famous wines can be relatively poor and you'd do better to buy a less exalted wine from a good year. I absolutely agree with the author that restaurants are not the place to buy fine wine, where a 100 to 400% mark-up applies.

I've imbibed (in moderation) a lot of different wines with my dinners over the last 35 years and one of the most important lessons has been how important it is to match the wine with the food your eating. Like the author I've found that a simple meal can be raised to a feast by having it with a wine that compliments the food.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great gift for the Bacchically ignorant 23 Jun 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A nice easy to read guide. Good thorough description of flavours and made me think a little bit more about which wines I might in fact prefer. A nice gift for someone who loves wine but doesn't necessarily know much about what they are drinking, history etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pompous and not funny 31 Jan 2010
Simon Hoggart wants to explode the myth that wine experts are snobs. Unfortunately he does the opposite in a book laden with name-dropping and showing off about exotic drinking locations. Dull and boring.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. G. Bridgeman-clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This little book too my eye since I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine or three. Now I may have gotten the wrong end of the stick but in suggesting that this is a book of 100 wines for the discerning drinking I had imagined that the wines would be assessable. Now by assessable I mean ASDA, Tesco or Sainsbury since 90% of the run of the mill shopper buys wine from these supermarkets with their groceries. Unfortunately after reading the book, selecting a number of the wines from the suggested producer I found that it would be easier to find a Château Lafite Rothschild rare vintage then the majority of the wines recommended.

Now I should realise that its unlikely that the Wine commentator for the Spectator buys his wines at these supermarkets but it does seem that the title suggests something this book isn't ie a wine drinkers dictionary of 100 affordable and assessable wines.

One last gripe, because i did enjoy the book. I love white Rioja and there is one in the book. But I think its the most expensive wine recommended and I have yet to find it in Waitrose or Majestic Wine and I know from experience that there are some cracking white Riojas out there.

The book, on the upside, is well written and interesting with some good anecdote and cartoons. But I am still looking for abook about good, easy accessible affordable wine.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great, Thanks!
Published 5 days ago by JB
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read for wine drinkers
An interesting read written by someone who seems pretty down to earth about wine and not a snobby wine pro. Read more
Published 17 months ago by khisanth
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read
This book hardly needs another review, let alone endorsement, but here it is: full of information about interesting wines, some you might know of, others you aspire to know and a... Read more
Published 21 months ago by R. J. de Bulat
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written Pointer
As some one enjoys wine but couldn't call themselves knowledgeable I wanted something to help with wine selection. Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2012 by simonpeggfan
3.0 out of 5 stars Relatively approachable - for what it is
Sensibly arranged for dipping in & out of, which I guess is good for books like this. Hoggart's writing is excellent if a bit self-congratulatory (much like his Guardian... Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2011 by Andrew Sutherland
2.0 out of 5 stars Unenjoyable and snobbish
The idea of this book is that it lists 100 "good" wines that are meant to be affordable and nice.

The problem? For a start, not everyone has the same taste. Read more
Published on 24 April 2011 by Dr. Rich Boden
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly useful
I've never really got on with books about wine. Perhaps it's my poor memory but by the time I get to the off-licence I can never remember the names. Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2011 by Mr. Nigel Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book for the loo
The idea behind Life's Too Short To Drink Bad Wine is a good one: to provide a bit of a whistlestop tour through the author's 100 favourite wines of various grape varieties and... Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2010 by Kate
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Life, it seems, is also too short to do any proper editing. According to the credits, Simon Hoggart was supported by an "Editorial director" and a "Project editor". Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2010 by A. Key
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so great for lower budgets...
This is a detailed and entertaining guide to fine wines and as such I suppose it does its job very well. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2010 by J. Charlesworth
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