The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste Hardcover – 5 Nov 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
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$!Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.