Customer Review

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great purchase for the wine enthusiast!, 27 Oct 2013
This review is from: The World Atlas of Wine, 7th Edition (Hardcover)
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This is a perfect book for those with a developing interest in wine. Introductory chapters cover historical aspects, the vine, grape varieties, terroir etc with some tips on enjoying wine. This section is just over 30pp. However, the real nature of the book is readily apparent in its title: it is, essentially, an atlas, full of national and then regional maps covering the world of wine. These maps are superb: admirably clear, sensibly colour coded so that adjacent areas are clearly differentiated by an appropriate colour contrast, in a scale which allows sufficient detail to sit comfortably with the size available for the map. The text adjacent to each map explores the characteristics of the wine of that region and gives information about growing conditions, grape varieties, fermentation etc. There is interesting explanatory information, too, about the classification systems in place within the countries/regions covered. Obviously this is important in 'reading' the wine label and getting to grips with what is on offer on the shelf, so to speak. A gazetteer enables the reader to identify the most notable chateaux, quintas and vineyards on the maps, though it goes without saying that only the most prestigious get any real mention in the text.

Predictably, the country with the largest entry is France with 102pp, followed by North America with 40pp. Australia manages only 24pp. Important regions within these national sections have a section devoted to them: Bordeaux, on its own gets 30pp, subdivided into the specific appellations of Margaux, Pauillac etc. This makes the book a particularly good choice for those beginning to explore wine beyond the level of simply enjoying drinking whatever is available: pretty much everything is covered, as far as I can see, in a degree of depth. (I bought my previous copy about 40 years ago and for some time this was constantly dipped into and prompted numerous experimental purchases. It's a perfect companion piece to Hugh Johnson's annual Pocket Wine Guide.)

I suspect that this aspect of the book might be the one most likely to disappoint more seasoned purchasers: if one's interest is fairly focussed, say Rhone or Australian wines, then one is buying a lot of book for relatively few pages and the depth within those pages is not as good as a regional enthusiast might like. For the serious wine nut I would go for the Oxford Companion to Wine, but be warned that that tome is not really a casual browse as it has a level of detail and inclusiveness which borders on the academic and is quite specialised. Those of us with more obsessive interest should pester Faber to reissue and update their excellent series of wine monographs from the eighties which covered a number of regional and national wine areas. And it would be wonderful to have Penning-Rowsell's and Learmonth's revered tomes on Bordeaux and the Rhone updated and reprinted. The Wines of Bordeaux (Penguin Handbooks), The Wines of the Northern Rhone

Recommended, though I doubt that owners of the 5th or 6th editions need rush out to replace it!
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