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Wine Myths and Reality Hardcover – 16 May 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 16 May 2013
£46.88 £42.41
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 636 pages
  • Publisher: Vendange Press (16 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983729239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983729235
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 4.4 x 25.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,021,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The most riveting, richest wine book of the year --Jancis Robinson

This is a very fine wine book one of the best I ve read --Wine Economist

Loads of provocative and very useful information... this follows his excellent What Price Bordeaux?... this is highly recommended reading --Robert Parker --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Benjamin Lewin MW is a Master of Wine whose have books received worldwide critical acclaim for their innovative approach, and have been short listed for the prestigious Andre Simon and Roederer wine book awards. He also writes the myths and realities column in the World of Fine Wine, and contributes to Decanter magazine, Wine & Spirits, and TONG. He divides his time between the eastern United States and the wine-growing regions of Europe, and is presently working on his next book."

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most wine books published these days are written by people working in the wine trade or journalists specialising in wine. This book harks back to the early days of wine writing in that it is written by an `interested amateur'. However the use of the term amateur does not imply that the content is in any way amateurish; the author Benjamin Lewin is a distinguished academic in the bioscience field and is one of a small number of individuals not working in the wine trade who have become Masters of Wine - one of the world's toughest professional qualifications. With this (probably unique) combination of a strong science background and deep expertise in wine unconnected with the trade, Lewin has written a fascinating book covering the whole topic of wine that is quite unlike anything published previously.

The structure of the book is fairly conventional with a brief historical section followed by sections on viticulture and wine making methods that take up the first third of the book. A section on trends and developments in the international wine trade is then followed by selective commentaries on the state of wines in the principal wine growing countries, occupying the remainder of the book.

What is unusual about the book is Lewin's very searching approach to the subject: he looks at all aspects of the wine business with an objective and often critical eye and is not afraid to condemn dubious practices or plain superstition.
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Format: Hardcover
Even someone with a passing interest in wine (and a focus on drinking it) will find this book fascinating. The science is there but without being at all heavy handed. It is full of insights into how winemakers go about their business. The £6 bottle receives as much attention as the Chateau Margaux.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A roller coaster of a book 8 Sept. 2010
By Chambolle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Panoramic in its scope" and "explodes the world of wine" -- so says the amazon product description. This book does indeed attempt to cover the entire panorama of wine, but in doing so, it creates a bit of an explosion in a mattress factory, with shards of information seemingly scattered hither and yon. In the course of about 550 pages, Lewin tries to do it all, which leaves us with some fascinating insights and wonderful exposition on some topics, and some absurdly truncated presentation on others. Washington and Oregon wine garners about a page and a half, for example. He blows through the Loire in about two or three pages. On the other hand, Australia for some reason gets a very extended discussion. There is very informative and readable information on basic winemaking principles and wine chemistry. Lewin, like many other authors, presents his own twist on the 1855 Bordeaux classification and his own alternative for the 21st century. An essay on cork and alternative closures. Plenty of this and that on Robert Parker and "international style" winemaking.

Having devoted considerable time and effort to plowing through this massive volume, I'm left with the sense Lewin never really decided what this book should be. It's not a survey or basic reference on the order of Johnson's "World Atlas," although it does include a "touch 'em all" review of just about every wine producing region in the world. It isn't a screed along the lines of Nossiter's "Liquid Memory," although Lewin does sprinkle the book with observations about the esthetics of wine, the role of wine criticism and related topics. It isn't an expose like Brook's "Bordeaux - People, Power and Politics," yet Lewin does go out of his way to debunk what he views as "wine myths" and to stir up some controversy. He touches on just about everything -- what is terroir, or does it even exist? What about organic and biodynamic wine? Is any wine really "natural"? Is it really possible to be a "non-interventionist" winemaker? Why rely on natural yeasts instead of inoculating with "industrial" varieties? Noteworthy wine scandals and the adulteration of wine. The sad state of most Beaujolais today. Name just about any hot button topic in the modern wine universe, and Lewin will at least give it a nod in this volume. And scientist that he is, Lewin will give you plenty of empirical data as he goes along.

So, what is this book? My title calls the book a "roller coaster," and that is truly how it feels to take the whole ride from cover to cover. The book covers an enormous amount of territory yet it never seems to know where it's headed. It's like going on an extended hitchhiking trip with a very savvy traveling companion. You'll have good times and not so good, you'll be bored some of the time and thrilled some of the time. You'll pick up a lot of insight along the way, but you may not know what your destination is or get there if you do know. When it's all over you'll be glad you did it, but you may not want to do it again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Encyclopedic 9 Dec. 2012
By Jurgen Kaljuvee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlike most wine reviews or books that I have come across and that seem to be meant for entertainment like fiction writing, this is for reader who would like to know facts and have a scientific mind. This book is extremely well researched and leaves no stone unturned.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vit/Enology mysteries and truths 8 April 2013
By Justin Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am studying viticulture and enology and work at a wine shop, and this book has been an excellent resource. It is truly a surprise with some of the industry tactics Lewin explains in this book. Makes you think twice when you purchase that "value" wine for $3!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Scientific Assessment of Wine Myths and Reality 8 Aug. 2014
By Roger High - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is an approximate 600 page work, produced on high quality gloss paper and well bound - just as well as it rather heavy! It is a pleasure to read a wine book written by someone with a scientific bent, which in my opinion is sadly lacking in many wine books at present. Having said that the book is not too technical for the average wine book reader and perhaps the fact that it is now 4 years old accounts for some less than rigorous assessments - for example the derivation of "minerality" in certain wines, could be taken to a higher level (in this regard the WineDoctors blog (2013) on this subject is worth a read). I have read some reviews of this book that it is rather rambling from one topic to another however I believe that he successfully manages to link the diverse topics together in his various chapters. It has taken me a rather long time to read but it is an enjoyable venture. He makes good use of charts and photos. My main gripe is that there is extensive reference to notes at the back of the book. I found continual flipping back and forth a bit annoying and wonder if the authors decision not to make them footnotes was a wise move. He explains why he used end notes rather than footnotes but I guess I disagree.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wine Science for All 29 Aug. 2014
By Arthur Azevedo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One ot the most interesting book that I have bought in many years. A must have book for those who are interested in the secrets of wine, revealed by a wine cientist. Incredible
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