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The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste Hardcover – 5 Nov 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (5 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607743000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607743002
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 3 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I visited Napa/Sonoma a couple of times in the 90s and last in 2005. I live in Paris (France) and my wife used to work with Stephen Spurrier, hots of the (in)famous 1976 'Paris tasting'. So I have a lot of interest in Californian wine and wine in general, but admit to a European palate. As such, theer are a few Californian wines that I have loved over the ages, but increasingly I find most wines too alcoholic, facile and heavy. When I was last there, the Russian River was THE place, but now it seems to teh the (real) Sonoma Coast... To be honest I dont really know what to buy and even less so when I look at the prices...
Bonne's book is a breath of honest, fresh air. I enjoy his column in Decanter magazine, but this is far better. It is a work of serious journalism, and really well written, something that sadly cannot be said so often about many recent wine books. It gives a fascinating history and insight into how California became what it is now - the good, the bad and sometimes the downright ugly. But above all the book is passionate about the good without being aggressive about the presumed bad. Bonne has strong and well founded opinions which are calmly put across, unlike other recent books which seem to degenerate into a hate diatribe against Parker and co who seem to stand accused of all the evils of the wine world. No, here is a book that explains and probes and comments, without aggression or angst. As such it is a great read and extremely instructive.
I admit that what he writes strikes a strong chord with my personal preferences in wine and maybe my prejudices, and that I am pleased to see some of my olf favourties like Calera and Ridge feature highly. But I am also excited (well until I see teh state of the euro against the US$!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nothing to say but great. On time. Great packaging. As always. Even earlier than what they sad when I bought it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x99933c9c) out of 5 stars 44 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x997979b4) out of 5 stars Focused, Informative, and Engaging 11 Nov. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jon Bonne goes about explaining the current state of California wine by focusing on the move away from what he calls "Big Flavor" in this engaging and thought provoking read. Running through his engaging prose is a strong point of view, a point of view that Bonne pulls no punches in expressing. His favored producers (Ridge Vineyards, Calera, Littorai) are given great praise for their willingness to buck the Big Flavor band wagon, and Bonne pulls no punches in heaping scorn on wineries he feels lost their way in producing Big Flavor wines (resulting in some uncomfortable criticism of some of our cellar jewels like Sea Smoke, Aubert, Harlan, and Bond).

I strongly recommend reading The New California Wine, even if you are a collector who has some of the Big Flavor California wines in their cellar - Bonne's clear thesis keeps the writing focused, and whether you like his conclusions or not, you will be far more knowledgeable about California wine as a result of following Bonne's train of thought.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998bcf48) out of 5 stars A Welcome Perspective 16 Nov. 2013
By brandon s gillis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over the past several years, Jon Bonne has emerged as one of the most insightful and compelling voices in the world of wine. His writing for the San Francisco Chronicle has often focused on finding and trumpeting undiscovered (or forgotten) gems, frequently from his home state of California. In The New California Wine he goes even deeper, exploring and introducing us to a wide variety of regions, vineyards, and producers who are continuing to show what is possible in California wine.

In refreshingly unpretentious prose, he weaves together the old and the new, and sheds a much deserved spotlight on folks like Steve Edmunds, Ted Lemon, and Rick Longoria who have been pursuing their own visions for decades (often against the grain of popular taste), while at the same time highlighting young upstarts.

We have been waiting a long time for a book like this. Much like Andrew Jeffords’ classic The New France, The New California Wine is both a terrific resource on California wine and a highly enjoyable read.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998562d0) out of 5 stars A good story filled with romance, thin on some facts 1 Mar. 2014
By NorCal Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I realize this book is only the Author's and a few other's opinions. As an industry veteran both in the vineyards and winery I know and have worked with many wine professionals ranging from small and very large producers. There are many, well informed opinions in the industry contrary to the Author's.
The wine regions and some of the history does make for an interesting read. The concept that wine industry is separated between big wine (evil) and small wines (good) is a good story. Controversy sells books. However, the book focuses on the extremes completely ignoring a lot of the California wine industry and the dedicated craftspeople working in wineries of all sizes. It is either big wine and big flavor or small wine and thinner wines, no middle ground. This reminds me of blogs where two extreme groups argue. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.
The chapters on New Farming and the New Winemakers are flawed in several areas, too much to discuss point by point here. Just know some (if not most) of what you are reading is what a few people believe or want to be true, some are myths. Perpetuating the myths does a disservice to novice readers trying to learn more about the subject. Biodynamics is an one example. Look up the "Biodynamics is a hoax" blog for well spoken contrary opinion on that subject.
Bonne was raised on European style wines and thus he prefers that style. The more jumpy (acidic, tart), leaner (thin, low flavor) wines instead of big flavor, over the top wines, extreme high alcohol wines are lauded. What about the ocean of wines in between those extremes? Bonne downplays wine critiques that focus on "deliciousness". The wine drinking public deserves to drink wines that they prefer, even if they are just delicious. California has a wealth of soils, meso-climates and vineyards to grow a diversity of wines. I would like to think there is a style to meet most if not all tastes. Celebrate diversity, California wine is and has been loaded with it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998bc8b8) out of 5 stars A truly great CURRENT California reference and guide chronicling the states best artisanal producers. 15 Nov. 2013
By J. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A truly great CURRENT California reference and guide chronicling the states most noteworthy artisanal producers. If you seek out wines of balance that express varietal and regional typicity Bonne outlines the very best producers for virtually every varietal grown in CA. And, although its thorough, it is approachable and not the length of War & Peace (like many wine books out there...).

If you are serious about wine or want to get there, this is a must read. If you are trying to find smaller, hands on producers to check out and support but, don't know where to start - start here. It would take one years of scouring online wine forums and traveling to the regions themselves to get the inside story on these producers, learn how and why they came to do what they do and know what they hit out of the park among their various offerings. If you have left domestic wines behind due to richer styles being front and center in the eyes of many "critics" and publications, the revolution has begun so bring your butts home.

PS: Will be buying several copies for holiday gifts - killer gift under $25 that anyone who drinks wine will love.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x997024c8) out of 5 stars Exceptional and comprehensive narrative on California wine industry's present and future, its producers, and how it got there 12 Dec. 2013
By Valerie P Masten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The New California Wine is an exceptional and comprehensive narrative on the California wine industry's past, present, and future, and includes a reference guide to a generation of winemakers interested in exploring CA's abundant history of farming vineyards and CA's terroir. It also includes many producers who may have been criticized by the press- such as Ridge or Corison, but emerged as an alternative to what Bonne calls "Big Flavor." The first 70 pages fly by- Bonne's style of writing is easily digestible even though it contains some serious technical information on farming, biodynamics, and winemaking philosophies. Bonne relies on the narratives of several 'leaders' of this 'New CA wine' to weave together a comprehensive picture of history, winemaking and farming practices, and terroirs of CA - both forgotten and new. The final section, a reference guide to producers organized by grape variety, highlights those farmers/winemakers/producers who are seeking out ancient vineyards and grape varieties or pioneering new places, and those who eschewed high alcohol, highly-manipulated styles to make more balanced wines. Many names are likely familiar. I'd recommend this book for anyone who loves CA wine now or has abandoned CA wine for Old World styles of wine, as well as for anyone who wants to learn about CA and wine in general.
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