Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
The must have book for the serious wine enthusiast / professional, just got better
on 7 November 2013
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.