Wine: A Life Uncorked Hardcover – 13 Oct 2005
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'Johnson's erudition and love of language are apparent on every page... reading Johnson is a delight... Johnson's take on the wine world is intelligent, questioning and thoughtful.' (Tim Atkin OFF LICENCE NEWS )
'a masterpiece, richly composed' (David Sexton EVENING STANDARD )
'Johnson is still the only modern wine writer who makes memorable statements and writes quotable lines.' (DECANTER )
'This is partly a book of personal anecdotes about wine, and partly a travelogue of the wine world... This will sit neatly on the bookshelf beside Johnson's other major wine books, and certainly helps to put them in context.' (WINE INTERNATIONAL )
'With more than 40 years' experience, there is not much Hugh Johnson doesn't know about wine. The author charts the journey of wine from grape to cellar in this very readable personal history.' (SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE )
'the urbane Johnson's wry elegant prose speaks of a more gracious, timeless world in which discrimination and imagination are free to roam. I suspect that Johnson's informative tome will be required reading in 50 years time for a broad brush perspective on wine in the late 20th century.' (Anthony Rose THE INDEPENDENT )
'Scholarly and discursive.' (Victoria Moore THE GUARDIAN )
'These memoirs have been well worth the wait. What sets him apart is his literary style. He can write - really write. He enthuses but doesn't gush, is opinionated but not dogmatic, and is a master of the succinct put-down... a celebration of wine and a life spent considering it.' (Joanna Simon SUNDAY TIMES )
'...his most charming and engaging book on wine... should be sipped with undiluted escapist pleasure... gloriously moreish ... he is at the peak of his powers, and paragraph after paragraph unfolds with such deft economy, such adept marshalling of detail, such intelligent use of elision, such polished narrative brio and ... such a keenly expressed sense of wonder that one's interest never flags... the choice recollections of one of the most fortunate and thoughtful wine drinkers in history.' (FINE WINE MAGAZINE )
'Every page contains what might be called numerous 'felicities' which add up to an incomparable lesson...' (Nicholas Faith HARPERS WINE & SPIRIT )
As the author learns about wine, so do we in this book full of candour and wit and fine writing. What makes one wine better than another?' and other fundamental questions, whether human or cultural, technical or historical, addressed in a wide-ranging and autobiographical book based on the author's enormous experience of the pleasures of wine. Tasting, keeping, savouring, cellaring, choosing, understanding, comparing, buying - the world of wine filtered through the vast knowledge of one of the greatest writers and practitioners, renowned throughout the world.See all Product description
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In the books defence, it does what it says on the tin. It is an atlas and hence is a detailed look into the regions which produce the wine. In my defence, I admit I had expected more detail giving such glowing reviews. A beautiful book, but one that will cast aside on the coffee table in lieu of my bedside table.
I've knocked off one star because of the maps. It might be churlish to complain about this in a reference work, but I find many of them too detailed and therefore difficult to use. All the information is there, don't get me wrong, but I can stare at the maps for a while and still struggle to get a real "feel" for the topography and its connection with the wine itself. I understand that space is a premium, and that this is probably the only way to include all the information the authors want to, but I can't help harking back wistfully to an old Oz Clarke Wine Atlas that I used to own, whose "3-D" maps were an absolute delight, and which gave me that link between topography and wine far better.
It does of course have a predictable balance towards France in its huge detail on French regions, which is a great resource to refer to, though it is not a luxury afforded to any other country. In the introduction to Italy for example, the writers put Italy almost on a par with France in terms of importance, but then proceed to give it a third of the page space. Personally I usually favour Italian at least as much as French, although I concede that France has had more essential impact on international varieties and styles, but Italy has more of its own varieties than any other country, and deserves almost equal billing. France continues to be of massive importance of course, just be warned that this book doesn't quite give you a 21st century picture, with anything like the same detail on the New World, or modern Italy and Spain, although I guess that would make it a much bigger book!
As those 2 degrees would indicate that he has maintained his brain in working condition, I would assume that the book must be really OK in every aspect. I hope this counts as enthusaism for something I have not seen, but am delighted with the enthusiasm which bubbled up north.
Also he told me it arrived in perfect shape and earlier than expected. HOpe this is useful. GK