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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential wine lover's companion
The author's own preface to this pocket compendium sums it up perfectly. You will find in this book the vast majority of the basic information you need to choose wines in a shop, a restaurant, on holiday - even from your own cellar. It is an immensely valuable resource and as yet, I know of no other published book which can compete. It is well organised, well written,...
Published on 2 Nov 2004 by Jules

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3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but could be better...
I have bought this book almost every year since 1990, with a growing dissatisfaction. It is excellent for the interested non-professional "beginning" wine-lover. Very handy (small size), good information in general, on vintages, grapes, areas, terms, etc., etc. Specially informative on Bordeaux and other areas of France (most of the book is dedicated to this...
Published on 28 Jun 2001


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential wine lover's companion, 2 Nov 2004
This review is from: Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2005 (Mitchell Beazley Drink) (Hardcover)
The author's own preface to this pocket compendium sums it up perfectly. You will find in this book the vast majority of the basic information you need to choose wines in a shop, a restaurant, on holiday - even from your own cellar. It is an immensely valuable resource and as yet, I know of no other published book which can compete. It is well organised, well written, reassuringly comprehensive and excellent value.
Anyone looking for detailed profiles of particular producers or wines is barking up the wrong tree. You simply can not compare this book to, say, a Parker wine buyer's guide. Besides which, you would look and feel a bit silly wading through a huge reference book in a restaurant. But this little companion works well if mixed with intuition and some common sense.
I have bought nearly every annual edition of this book for the last 21 years. Out of my library of over 45 books on wine, this is still the one I would choose to save if faced with imminent shipwreck. The torture would be in not being able to save any bottles !
My only criticism comes from a suspicion that Hugh Johnson himself has less and less to do with the book with each new edition - hence four rather than five stars. But as one previous reviewer said, the book would make a great present for both amateur and serious wine lover alike.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple concise summary of wine buying!, 30 Nov 2001
I have the collection and the large Atlas of wine from Hugh Johnson. I think that if anyone is respected for his ability to review wine's it's Hugh. I know several of the best educational institutions in the tourism/food and drink industry use his books as a reference guide. His Annual Guides are a great way to keep up to date with the new developments and make a great gift for any wine enthusiast at a very resonable price.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but could be better..., 28 Jun 2001
By A Customer
I have bought this book almost every year since 1990, with a growing dissatisfaction. It is excellent for the interested non-professional "beginning" wine-lover. Very handy (small size), good information in general, on vintages, grapes, areas, terms, etc., etc. Specially informative on Bordeaux and other areas of France (most of the book is dedicated to this hugely interesting but still small corner of the wine world). Similar can be said for Italy, Germany and a couple of other established wine-making countries. But the tiny little sections on New World wines, the best buys for the average consumer in the era of "suicide"-pricing of French and increasingly also Italian and Spanish wines, is totally out of perspective. Travelling to these countries and using the book for advice is too close to useless in my opinion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh updates every year., 21 Feb 2014
By 
Stuart King "BoyRacerLondon" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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It seems a very long time ago since I purchased this product and to be honest I cannot say that it has stayed in the memory especially, but I don't recall any issues with it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect and very useful., 6 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I love wine, i love wine-books, i love Hugh Johnson. I buy his guide every year (i prefer it more than clarke's), so I have done it recently. As usual it is a great help for me - the tips for Argentina wines were perfect. If you want to spend some money on wine, it is a perfect investment.
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14 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too brief to be any use, 28 Nov 2001
By 
Peter Dickinson (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
If you are looking for ratings of specific wines or information on specific growers (like whether they are open for tastings) you will be dissappointed by this guide. The entries are just too brief to be useful.
For example the entry for Robert Mondavi is a short paragraph which starts with a rating of two to four stars (on a scale of one to four). It then goes on to list the names of some of the wines that Mondavi produces, both in the US and elsewhere. This gives no idea which of Robert Mondavi's wines are good (worth four stars) and which are okay (worth two).
Often an appelation only gets a one or two line entry, with perhaps the name of the most notable wine or grower getting a mention. Not really much help.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Convenient Guide for Unfamiliar Restaurants and Wine Shops, 28 Jun 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Few people have tasted enough wines and can remember them so that they can pick out the best buys when confronted with many unexpected choices. As a result, many people will purchase disappointing and overpriced wines . . . thinking they have made a good choice. Take this little guide with you, and you will soon be rewarded with much better drinking at your meals.
Obviously, the wine connoisseur who can afford to drink the best and lay in extensive stocks to age will seldom be caught out, having done great research in the past. The person who is trying to drink well on a budget will be the primary beneficiary.
Restaurants in particular often stock what they got a deal on, and may offer vintages that are not yet ready to drink or are undistinguished.
The section on foods and wines will give you some new ideas on how to more closely complement a specific meal.
If you do find yourself with a magnificent wine list in front of you (and can afford it), there's a brief list of the ultimate wines to drink in an ideal world.
The book also has directions for ideal temperatures to serve the wines, so when the sommelier asks you about preparation you can have more definite ideas.
Most of the book is divided into geographic region, winery, wine type, quality, vintage information (including which ones are ready to drink), and limited notes about specific characteristics. It's a very broad and superficial source, but takes you past what you would know without it. The advice is based on Hugh Johnson's tastings and those of over 40 friends whom he acknowledges.
By the way, I think this book would make a marvelous gift to someone who is often treating you to rather bad wine at expensive prices. Then, you both will receive a gift.
A votre sante!
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Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2005 (Mitchell Beazley Drink)
Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2005 (Mitchell Beazley Drink) by Hugh Johnson (Hardcover - 16 Sep 2004)
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