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on 12 September 2000
This book is OK if you just want to stop your car in an Alsace village and find out who is the most reputed grower(s) of that village plus get a suggestion of what to taste. The book seems well-informed and the maps work all right as long as you stick to the beaten track. However, if you really get hooked on Alsace wines and want to do it properly, you need - in addition to this book - a) Tom Stevenson's "The Wines of Alsace" (Faber & Faber); b) a proper Alsace map, such as one of the Michelin 1:200,000s; c) maps of the villages (from the local tourist information office; they usually give you booklets with maps of several villages).
Fore some reason, Duijker's book doesn't include the addresses and telephone numbers of the producers. You'll find them in Stevenson's book, and then you can look them up on the village maps. Whereas Duijker makes everything sound nice in a sort of pedestrian way, Stevenson's book is a treasure trove of information and enthusiasm. It has sections where you can look up villages, grands crus, lieux-dits, producers and styles of wines. The last two sections, in particular, put things into perspective and make you want to go out there and find out if you agree with the man.
The maps in this series seem to be printouts of the maps in Hugh Johnson's "World Atlas of Wine" (sometimes viewed from the opposite perspective). For Alsace, this means a scale of 1:90,000, so they only show the approximate locations (and boundaries) of the grands crus and omit the other lieux-dits altogether (except Kaefferkopf, of course). In contrast, the Burgundy book in the same series (incidentally written by the same author) uses maps of 1:25,000, which are much better. Stevenson's book has more accurate maps, even though you have to look up the grands crus separately. And if you're really keen, you can work out from the text what maps to find some of the lieux-dits on - except Clos Sainte-Hune. For some reason, the location of this obvious place of pilgrimage isn't indicated properly in any of the two books.
All in all a useful book, but still not quite enough for the real enthusiast.
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on 7 August 2016
I have the French edition of this book and I found it indispensable in preparing a group visit to Colmar. I'm finding it equally helpful as I prepare a small group visit to the Bas-rhin... It is also a good read. I wish that they would revise it.
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