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The Wines of California [Paperback]

Stephen Brook
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

18 Oct 1999 Wine
California is blessed with a climate as close to ideal as one could imagine for grape growing, and for Stephen Brook its wine offers instantaneous pleasure. In The Wines of California Stephen Brook sets out to show why Californian wines are now recognized as amongst the finest in the world. He explains what it is that makesthem so distinctive and looks at the climate, history and wine-making practices of the major regions. Over 630 different wineries are featured, including the author's recommendations of thebest and most interesting wines from each, and the book is studded with the vibrant personalities who keep Californian wines at the forefront of top-quality wine production.

Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (18 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571190308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571190300
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,230,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

If California was a country, points out Stephen Brook, it would be the fourth largest wine producer in the world, after Italy, France and Spain. Consequently The Wines of California is a hefty tome, taking nearly 700 pages to explore this vast quasi-nation. The very special qualities that characterise Californian wines, however, are summed up by Brook in a single word: Generosity. It is the near-perfect climate that ensures the reliability of the harvests and the "rich, full- bodied, fleshy, opulent" qualities that Brook so prizes and which he communicates with such enthusiasm to his readers. His dedication and profound knowledge of the region are apparent everywhere and the result is an invaluable companion to the buying and drinking of Californian wine. California is sometimes seen as a wine- producing monolith. This book offers a useful corrective, discussing production at a local level.

Divided into three main sections, The Wines of California covers first the main wine regions. The crucial matters of geography, geology, soil structure and climate are discussed and the individual American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and their sub-appellations profiled. A lengthy and fascinating account of Grapes and Wines covers growing and wine-making methods, and (usefully, given the Californian obsession with varietal wines) the grape varieties planted, including California's own grape, the fabulous Zinfandel. Finally, the most substantial part of the book comprises a gazetteer of wineries with a short profile of each--not, as Stephen Brook remarks, likely to provide racy reading, but of great interest. There are few discussions of individual vintages, which, given the fact that Californian wines are made to be drunk young, would be of limited usefulness, but Brook is free with his opinions and his judgements on some of the makers are sharp. --Robin Davidson

About the Author

Stephen Brook is a leading writer on wine, gastronomy and travel, specialising in the wines of California and Bordeaux. His book Wines of California (Faber & Faber) won the Glenfiddich, Prix Lanson, and Veuve Clicquot awards for best wine book 2000. He has recently published Bordeaux: People, Power and Politics (Mitchell Beazley). --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What more can you ask for? 28 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Maybe one shouldn't say so, but this is exactly the kind of guide to Californian wines that I, as a European, have been waiting for. Those who are fed up with James Laube's "More, more, more" will find this book refreshing and balanced as well as stimulating. Brook manages to be both enthusiastic and critical at the same time, and the book is as thorough as the best Faber & Faber regional guides. The only minus is the maps. For instance, the two Sonoma maps don't really make sense unless you know how they fit together. Then again, I suppose most people who are likely to buy this book, already have a proper wine atlas.
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