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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2008
The ever increasing size of this book reflects the increasing interest in wine, so it now lands with an impressive thump on your desktop. Though its content doesn't always reflect who that new market is.

The authors start with a, rather meandering, description of the history and production of wine and some basic notes on tasting, appreciation and handling of wine. Some of this is very useful, most of it is very basic for someone who already knows the subject and all of it could do with some editing to make the best of their material. Some of it punctures some of the myths about wine such as how long wines should be laid down and do you really need to let wine breath. Elsewhere they perpetuate some of those myths, for example they still seem to give the whole concept of 'terroir' an almost mystical reverence.

That introduction, however, is not really the point of this volume. This appears to be aimed at the new wine connoisseur or someone who wants to be a connoisseur. The real body of this is a fairly comprehensive atlas of vineyards and producers. The detail with which they cover their subject is variable but excusably so as it reflects the varying national interest in wine. So France is covered in incredible detail while England, however much it's wine industry may be growing, is given one brief page. That sort of omission is annoying when you had hoped for something comprehensive, but it's an understandable omission given the limited space any single book will have. As long as you stick to well established wine producing regions and buy from those regions this will have something to tell you.

Which, excellent as it is, is also a problem this book has. Ninety per cent of the wine buying public, whether they are buying something cheap and nasty from tescos or something better from a merchant will be buying a blend; a chardonnay or shiraz whose provenance can be narrowed down no more closely than southern Australia, South Africa or so on. Good as those wines are this book doesn't help in selecting them.

If you've moved from just buying a muscadet or whatever to buying 'something from the Loire Valley' then this is ideal for you. If you want to do so then this is ideal. If you like wine and maps then this is interesting if not useful. If you, like me, are happy buying muscadet and merlot but have no real desire to take your wine buying much further then this is probably not for you. So, interesting but impractical for most of us but excellent for the right audience.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a perfect book for those with a developing interest in wine. Introductory chapters cover historical aspects, the vine, grape varieties, terroir etc with some tips on enjoying wine. This section is just over 30pp. However, the real nature of the book is readily apparent in its title: it is, essentially, an atlas, full of national and then regional maps covering the world of wine. These maps are superb: admirably clear, sensibly colour coded so that adjacent areas are clearly differentiated by an appropriate colour contrast, in a scale which allows sufficient detail to sit comfortably with the size available for the map. The text adjacent to each map explores the characteristics of the wine of that region and gives information about growing conditions, grape varieties, fermentation etc. There is interesting explanatory information, too, about the classification systems in place within the countries/regions covered. Obviously this is important in 'reading' the wine label and getting to grips with what is on offer on the shelf, so to speak. A gazetteer enables the reader to identify the most notable chateaux, quintas and vineyards on the maps, though it goes without saying that only the most prestigious get any real mention in the text.

Predictably, the country with the largest entry is France with 102pp, followed by North America with 40pp. Australia manages only 24pp. Important regions within these national sections have a section devoted to them: Bordeaux, on its own gets 30pp, subdivided into the specific appellations of Margaux, Pauillac etc. This makes the book a particularly good choice for those beginning to explore wine beyond the level of simply enjoying drinking whatever is available: pretty much everything is covered, as far as I can see, in a degree of depth. (I bought my previous copy about 40 years ago and for some time this was constantly dipped into and prompted numerous experimental purchases. It's a perfect companion piece to Hugh Johnson's annual Pocket Wine Guide.)

I suspect that this aspect of the book might be the one most likely to disappoint more seasoned purchasers: if one's interest is fairly focussed, say Rhone or Australian wines, then one is buying a lot of book for relatively few pages and the depth within those pages is not as good as a regional enthusiast might like. For the serious wine nut I would go for the Oxford Companion to Wine, but be warned that that tome is not really a casual browse as it has a level of detail and inclusiveness which borders on the academic and is quite specialised. Those of us with more obsessive interest should pester Faber to reissue and update their excellent series of wine monographs from the eighties which covered a number of regional and national wine areas. And it would be wonderful to have Penning-Rowsell's and Learmonth's revered tomes on Bordeaux and the Rhone updated and reprinted. The Wines of Bordeaux (Penguin Handbooks),The Wines of the Northern Rhone

Recommended, though I doubt that owners of the 5th or 6th editions need rush out to replace it!
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The World Atlas of Wine (Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson)
7th Edition
Mankind has been fermenting / enjoying the fruit of the vine for several thousand years. Today there are so many wines available from so many outlets - specialist and supermarkets - (and at so many price ranges despite the obscene UK levels of tax - based on alcohol content and not intrinsic value or quality of the wine.).
How is one to select from so many options and price ranges?
Does one buy just wines from the "Old World" (Europe - particularly France/Germany/Italy where wines are defined in obscure ways) or "New World" (Everywhere else, where wines are defined by the variety of grapes used in their "manufacture")?
This ( 7th incarnation of a book started in the 1970's) book covers the history of wine , viticulture and the vine types , their fermentation and the vineyards of the world - especially those producing the finest wines . How to enjoy (and speak about without pretension) wine is also covered.
(What is NOT covered in detail are the individual vintages /best wines of the past 10 years - these are best reviewed in Hugh Johnson's pocket wine book 2014 - I have reviewed this elsewhere .) .
Key developments in oenology ( all matters wine) are covered .
The book continues to review , by country ( starting with the old world such is France , Germany , Italy andthe rest of Europe )discussing individual areas/vineyards/chateaux ,the effect of "terroir" , the top wines of the world - how to recognise the different naming and grading systems of wines in France ,Germany and Italy and many other countries
In the last 20 years new production areas have opened up as the growing of vines in different ( cooler) climates are being tamed . This ( fully revised) 7th Edition leads one to new wines to try - often at more reasonable prices. Standards have improved and many wines are now more consistent

Recommended for anyone who wants to go into detailed study of wine - probably in conjunction with Hugh Johnson's pocket wine book which gives details of "best" vintage years for many countries - and wines made in poor climate years which are best avoided.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 January 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What a delicious book! You always hope, when choosing these big coffee table books, that they'll live up to expectations but too often they're all style and no substance. This book, which is co-authored by renowned wine expert Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson, author of The Pocket Wine Guide (11m copies sold!) is thankfully full of substance and presents it all with real flair. It's like the wine equivalent of one of those wishful travel books that's full of fascinating locations you'll probably never visit, except with this book you never have to leave the armchair and the glitzy locations come to visit you inside well-travelled bottles - unfortunately you'll probably still have to pay their fare. The introductory chapters cover the ways and means of wine production as well as bringing you up to date with what's happening across the wine world as new wine-growing locations come on stream. Then it's off around the world, region by region, with each section breaking down its featured country into regions and detailing the grape varieties that thrive in each and the unique characteristics of wine produced in that location. There are lots of maps to peruse, so you really get an understanding of exactly where your chosen tipple has travelled from - but they'd be equally useful if you were travelling to a particular region and wanted to arrive already informed on the local wines.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book, especially if you've got an earlier edition, is seeing the new vineyards that are now appearing in Asia and other parts of the world - some of these only now possible because of a warming climate. You don't have to be a real wine buff to appreciate or enjoy the book, it's a delight even if (like me) you'd just like to browse an off-license or supermarket shelf and know some more about what you're actually looking at. It also makes an ideal partner to Hugh Johnson's diminutive tome The Pocket Wine Book - keep one on the coffee table for browsing and the other in the glove compartment for shopping and you might never waste good money on bad wine again!
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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I first picked up this book in about 1984 when it was on its second edition and cost about £70 in today's money. Since then, the scope of the Atlas has widened, the number of pages increased and its price has fallen in absolute and relative terms. It is still the essential reference book for the serious wine drinker, collector, enthusiast or trade professional, along with Jancis Robinson's Oxford Companion to Wine.
Before we discuss the maps, it is important to appreciate that this is an excellent reference book in its own right. There is a host of information on the history of wine, grape varieties, climate, soil, diseases, cellaring and storage, bottling techniques, fermentation, etc. The maps and estate profiles focus heavily on the classic wine regions of the Old and New World - no surprises here - like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone, Alsace, Tuscany, Piedmont, Rhineland, Napa, Barossa. But as the wine world has evolved over the last 40 years (since the book was first published), new regions have been added like Central Otago in New Zealand or England. Regions that have undergone a renaissance (such as Sicily or Puglia in Italy) have been expanded. Each region (or sub-region) mapped includes potted estate profiles and domaine / regional descriptions and characteristics. There's a glossary and gazetteer too. Given that this is an erudite work and its scholarship impeccable, the price is a bargain.
I only took off one star due to the fact I am a New World wine enthusiast and the Atlas has always been weaker in this area - e.g. Chile and Argentina. Also as an Old World wine producer, Portugal (outside Douro) is poorly served. As a geography professional and a map specialist (leaving aside my passion for wine) I have always thought some of the cartography could be better but I think these are highly specialised maps - the problem is some of the base topographic mapping that they use is quite old. But these are constructive criticisms in the context of a fine book with a solid pedigree.
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
At the time of writing this review, Amazon are selling this book for less than half the £40 asking price. I mention this in case you are pondering whether or not to buy as, for my money, this book is very much worth its standard asking price. If you can get it for less, you will have yourself a bargain.

That you are even looking at this product page would suggest you have a serious interest in wine and a desire to know more and are looking for a reliable guide to help you with planning your next purchases for home or whilst eating out. This book can do all of this and far more.

I have a keen interest in wine but I'm awed by the sheer level of detail included here. This book is mighty, hefty and beautifully presented and feels utterly exhaustive in its research - the sections on France, Italy, USA and Chile appear to be as thorough as you could ever wish for example - I suspect that this is the professional sommelier's bible and first port of call when creating a wine list, it truly does feel that authoritative.

As you can tell I am very impressed by this book. Its far more comprehensive than I will ever need a book on wine to be for my own purposes but I have thoroughly enjoyed dipping in and out of it over the last few weeks and I think I will continue to do so. I have also used it to help me select the wines for the upcoming festive season.

My minor niggle is one that could be labelled as blind patriotism but British wine gets rather short shrift. Given the internationally recognised excellence of the sparkling wines produced in Kent, Sussex and Surrey in particular, I'd have liked to have seen more than a cursory page detailing the nations wine making. It's a little thing though and not worth taking a star away.

Overall, this is a very, very good book. Recommended.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a copy of the `Book Club Associates' 1979 edition of `The World Atlas of Wine' and over the years it has given great pleasure as I dipped into it. My immediate reaction is that this new edition will do the same for years to come. As for many subjects I appreciate there are massive changes over the decades and this is confirmed for wine with the 7th edition - correctly claimed as `Completely Revised'. Not least of the changes is the presentation of information where previous reliance on classifications, appellations, vintage etc. has shifted to more personal assessments on locality and quality.

There are over 100 extra pages to allow detailed and exhaustive commentaries, necessitated for the numerous additional areas of wine production and a greater range of grape varieties. A quick look at `Contents' indicates newcomers such as China, Japan and New Zealand, and presumably to make room there are some omissions such as `Spirits', but from my own point of view - and taste - I am pleased to note emphasis on French wines - though the title accurately describes the book as `World Atlas'.

The book is beautifully presented in hard back with stitched construction to ensure longevity, and there are 2 marker ribbons. There seems to be an increase in illustrations, maps are more clearly printed than my previous edition, and there is additional use of colour. Printing is clear, text has been revised and layout is attractive. Finally, both the `Index' and the `Gazetteer' are comprehensive and after checking on known facts I confirm veracity. This classic book remains the most authoritative of wine literature for laymen such as myself - and probably for the professional connoisseur - and it fully deserves 5-star rating.
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on 6 April 2017
The plethora of 5 stars led me to believe this to be the holy grail of wine bibliography. Certainly when the book arrived, it felt weighty enough to deserve its reputation. The first 50 pages or so are a rather terse introduction into the world of wine and its production with a page or two dedicated to the various grapes of the world. However each grape simply receives a handful of explanatory notes before moving swiftly. There is not an enormity of details on the production of wine or tasting that would transform one into an aficionado (to be fair the only way to do that is the drink a lot).

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.
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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a truly impressive book in every respect; size, quality and content. The cover is solid and substantial and the pages are printed on heavy weight glossy paper. It is well laid out; making it a useful reference and the maps are beautifully drawn. This is the seventh edition and is bang up-to-date.
The book starts with the history of wine making, from the ancient world to the modern wines that we drink now. It examines the vines on which the grapes used for wine making, and the "terroir" in which they are grown, the grape varieties, internationally and nationally and the making of the wine in the vineyards and cellars. It then looks at the barrels in which the wine is stored, and in some cases aged, and the various methods of stoppering the bottles. There is also a very interesting section on the modern winery and the new thinking that has brought about the production of many new wines.
However, the main body of the book is dedicated to a most comprehensive description of the world's wine making regions, and the wines produced in them, classified by country. Central to the classification are very detailed maps of each wine growing region, showing the contours of the area and the location of the towns, villages and vineyards. Each wine type is examined in detail and each producer is ranked according to the quality of the wines they make.
The book can be read sequentially, or the reader can "jump" into a selected wine using the very comprehensive index. It is not only interesting, it is educational; if you like wine, and like books, this is a must.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the 7th edition of a well-loved book that has established itself as a definitive guide for wine lovers. It starts with a set of informative brief sections, each just a few pages long, describing the history of wine making and how the modern industry has evolved, the structure of vines and the diseases they are subject to, including the notorious phylloxera, the major grape varieties and how the weather and soil type determine what is planted, what happen during the wine making process, and the effect of time on the final product. Finally, there are data on world wine production. Although less than 50 pages in total, I found these fascinating, and even if your interest in wines is only as an occasional drinker, they can be read with pleasure.

The rest of the book, some 350 pages, is devoted to detailed descriptions of the wines of the world structured by country, subdivided in the case of larger producers into regions. The ordering is not alphabetical, so to find your country of choice you will have to use the table of contents at the front of the book. Not surprisingly France has pole position and the largest entry. The structure is similar to those of other countries. Each region in this case has a detailed description of the area and the wines it produces, and sometimes the labels of major producers are illustrated. Notable features are the superb very detailed maps of the areas, with contour lines and vineyards clearly marked. The coverage is extensive, even China and England get a page or two, so the adventurous can take an informed punt on a new wine if they so choose.
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