This is an interesting introduction to the wine areas of France, and the connections between wines and the underlying geology and soils. In the chapter on the area I know best, the Languedoc, there are unfortunately numerous errors of geology and geography, which make me wonder how reliable the other chapters are. I see that another reviewer has made similar comments about the Alsace section. The book is a really good concept, but would have benefitted from the involvement of other experts for particular regions.
The author, a retired petroleum geologist, gives an exhaustive review of the French vineyards, paying special attention to the geology and soil compositions. Soils have to be well drained, and in most cases limy or marly soils give the best wines. The best soils for each grape variety are explained. The earth science presented is easy for geologists, but may at times be heavy for non-geologists. Fortunately, the author adds a lot of pictoresque facts on the history, culture and people behind the wines. After reading the book, one feels very much enriched and ready to enjoy even more France and its wines. Our taste buds only recognize sour, sweet, salt and bitter. Other tastes are in fact smells, the aromatics that are freed in the glass and mouth, and the subjective knowledge around the wine (but who wants to admit this !). The book is an excellent buy.
Wilson's book on the connection between geology and wine is truly amazing. It serves just as good as a short course in geology as an in-depth guide to fine french wines. The book lets you understand the reasons for subtle differences in the character of wines that originate from what may seem as the same terroir. However, as my passion is Alsace, I have looked into details of this section. Unfortunatly, many maps are only "almost" correct; Grand Cru sites are mixed up or put in the wrong commune, rivers have been mixed up etc. Nevertheless, this is a piece of work that every serious french wine enthusiast must own, and read!