on 30 December 2002
There are many books and articles that try to describe wines in terms of their terroir - the vineyards location, exposure to the elements, soil content and so forth. However, Oz Clarke's book contains an inovative step that I have not seen anywhere else - he uses 3D terrain maps in his book. This really helps to understand what makes a wine, as you can quite clearly see where the plains are, how irrigation (both natural and man-made) affect the vineyard, and how prevalent weather patterns affect wine production. A good example of this is Crozes Hermitage. You can quite clearly see from his map that the vineyards themselves are on lower levels, but surrounded by hills which provide nutrients to the soils through water washed down the hillsides.
This does, however, have a drawback (hence 4 stars instead of 5). There aren't many 2D maps, so understanding the maps as shown can get quite difficult. Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to this. Jancis Robinson's World Atlas of Wine has lots of 2D maps that compliment the 3D maps in this volume. I found that putting the two together makes it a lot easier to understand both books. In fact, putting the two books together and cross-referencing between them allowed me to understand a lot more than if I had read the two independantly.