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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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I have many different editions of this book and I have to say this is my favourite up to yet. It has grown in size covering many more regions with clear and easy to view maps and guides. Everything is in here from viti to vini! The book is huge and the printing quality absolutely spot on. The book comes in a sturdy slip case and oozes quality. The pages are bright and clear and include everything you could possibly want to know about the various regions, grape varieties, terroir, classification systems in place by many different countries even tips on storage etc. It even gives tips on what to look out for in the wines and how to taste.

I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in wine, even if you know very little or are a top enthusiast and just want a reference volume. In the internet driven world you'd be forgiven for thinking that everything you need to know is out there on the web. However, this book has it all and it clear maps are a godsend. You can spend an age searching for a decent map of a given region on the web, yet this book has a perfect map for every region right there amongst its pages.

This would make an excellent gift for any wine lover out there and I am sure they'd love you for it.
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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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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have reviewed a number of wine books for the Vine programme. Whilst I am not a connoisseur of fine wine, I enjoy drinking it and experimenting with the more unusual wines and vineyards. I have found books to be an invaluable source of information and ideas of what to buy and try.

This book is no exception. It exudes quality, the paper is thick, the photographs are full of colour and the page layout is very clear. The information is extensive and I like how the book divides wine growing into the Regions, as it makes it much easier to follow. The book explains the history, background, vineyards and shows everything on maps of the Regions.....wonderful.

This is a well written wine encyclopedia, with virtually all the information you could need for understanding and buying wine. Everything is clearly written and laid out. Simply put I cannot recommend this book enough.

Brilliant.
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I agree with the chorus of praise this book has received. It is beautifully produced and packed with information.

Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson are phenomenally knowledgeable, and they have used that to produce a world-class reference work which is also a pleasure to browse in. It has beautiful, detailed maps and interesting, readable text so that opening a page at random is very enjoyable just for a browse, but there is a lot of proper expertise here with an excellent index and in-depth articles on things like the factors which affect the quality of Bordeaux wines and so on. Each country gets a proper introductory overview and detailed (in some cases like Bordeaux, micro-detailed) analysis of regions, all backed up with excellent maps, pictures of labels and the like.

Truly, anything the non-professional would ever need to know about wine is here, and it's plainly used as a reference by professionals, too. It is, therefore, a very substantial volume at nearly 400 large-format pages, and the only slightly negative thing I have to say about it is that it is heavy enough to be a challenge to the wrists after a very short time - but then extensive reference books have to be weighty, and it's fine to read on a table or your lap. I'm delighted with this book and would warmly recommend it to anyone with an interest in wine at any level: it's crammed with authoritative information and a pleasure to read and to look at.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I agree with the chorus of praise for this book. It is beautifully produced and packed with information.

Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson are phenomenally knowledgeable, and they have used that to produce a world-class reference work which is also a pleasure to browse in. It has beautiful, detailed maps and interesting, readable text so that opening a page at random is very enjoyable just for a browse, but there is a lot of proper expertise here with an excellent index and in-depth articles on things like the factors which affect the quality of Bordeaux wines and so on. Each country gets a proper introductory overview and detailed (in some cases like Bordeaux, micro-detailed) analysis of regions, all backed up with excellent maps, pictures of labels and the like.

Truly, anything the non-professional would ever need to know about wine is here, and it's plainly used as a reference by professionals, too. It is, therefore, a very substantial volume at nearly 400 large-format pages, and the only slightly negative thing I have to say about it is that it is heavy enough to be a challenge to the wrists after a very short time - but then extensive reference books have to be weighty, and it's fine to read on a table or your lap. I'm delighted with this book and would warmly recommend it to anyone with an interest in wine at any level: it's crammed with authoritative information and a pleasure to read and to look at.
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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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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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on 28 January 2014
I can't add much to what has already been said here but you have to admire the scholarship, research, dedication, visual and verbal flair, and sheer enthusiasm that's gone into this marvellous book. Drinking wine is even better fun when you know about its origin and there isn't much worth knowing that you won't find here. This is by far the best and most bibulous atlas I've ever had the pleasure to own and you could share in the delightful experience if you just shuffle and click that mouse. Cheers!
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a copy of the 1973 1st edition of the wine atlas, so it was time, to update my library!

Over the past 40 years the wine world has changed, and this is reflected in the growth from 272 pages to 400. However I note that French coverage has increased from 72 pages to 97 - so I conclude that the latest edition generally contains more data, rather than just adding details of new wine areas.

The maps are very clear, and the quality of layout remains very good. So this is an excellent first call to reference wine queries, although it is in fact quite readable, if you want to dip in and read up on a particular country.

However despite its size, if you want real detail on an area - for example we were recently in Alicante - you are better off finding a specialist wine book for a country or district.

But, as per my title to this review, I think this book is essential to a wine enthusiast's library. I won't wait 40 years before getting the next update.
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on 18 August 2016
You could not give this book a poor review because it's in a category of its own. It's beautifully produced and written and is a joy just to dip into in an idle moment or refer to for something specific. I'm not a professional but I imagine if I was I would be very sure to have this book to hand. The book retails at £40 which was a bit too much for my budget but the price I was asked to pay here was competitive and puts it within the reach (I imagine) of more wine lovers
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