This is something of a dream-team production. The names of Hugh Johnson
and Jancis Robinson
are self-recommending for any book on which they appear: their unprecedented collaboration on The World Atlas of Wine
is a guarantee of the most distinguished and intelligent writing on the subject... so it proves. The fifth edition (in 30 years) of this astonishingly successful book lives up to, and surpasses, its predecessors. In 350 densely packed but never clotted pages the authors manage the extraordinary feat of characterising wine production throughout the world, from Vancouver Island to Japan--for Buddhists first planted vines in that inhospitably precipitous, monsoon-lashed land over a thousand years ago. After a substantial introductory section dealing with the history of wine, its making, storage and enjoyment, we're off. Starting (where else?) with France and Burgundy. Each wine area is summarised in terms of its geography, climate and preferred vines; and the appellations, laws and traditions that govern production. The discussion of Pomerol, for example, tells you a great deal in one short page. Even since 1994, when the fourth edition came out, vast changes have swept the wine world, and many parts of the atlas have been correspondingly completely reworked. South America and Canada, Southern France and Italy, Greece, Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean are among areas that have benefited. The regional maps which form the core of the book are a triumph of clarity. The whole production constitutes a brilliant achievement of organisation and synthesis, forming an indispensable resource for any wine lover at all interested in where the wine they drink comes from and why it tastes the way it does. --Robin Davidson
There are few books in the overcrowded field of wine that have had such a remarkable impact as The World Atlas of Wine. The first four editions have sales in excess of 3.5m copies. Clearly, though, the powers that be at Mitchell Beazley decided that something was needed to freshen the brew, and now two of the leading wine authorities, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, have joined forces to produce this very tempting fifth edition. Of course, this could have been a case of "don't fix it if it ain't broke"- Johnson seemed to be doing a wonderful job on his own - but the two authors' thorough and expansive revision has produced a truly definitive volume that is still the key addition to any wine lover or professional's library.