American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States (Anglais) Relié – 1 mars 2013
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American Wine includes helpful maps, an overview of the grapes grown in the United States, how wineries were founded decades -- if not hundreds of years -- ago, and provides an abundance of information about wine-making techniques within each region. The majority of the book focuses on the California wine regions of Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and the Central Valley, with breakdowns by AVA; this is impressive since Napa Valley has sixteen sub-AVA's, such as Calistoga, Stag's Leap, and the (relatively) new Atlas Peak. Each AVA has a list of notable wineries, a helpful map, and details about the soil, temperature, and wine produced.
Despite the obvious attention to detail, this book can still be enjoyed and utilized by the casual wine-lover and tourist for the maps, background information, and suggestions about wineries. It truly shines, though, as an an exceptional book designed for serious wine-lovers and travelers who are looking for a comprehensive guide to American wineries and wine. This is a fantastic work that should be part of any wine library.
However, for long-established areas such as the main California AVAs, you won't learn much new about the growing conditions, grapes, and recent trends. Instead, the higher coverage page count relative to TWAoW is taken up by historical facts, profiles of specific wineries (sometimes whose special significance isn't all that clear), pictures, and a larger font. I had hoped for more in-depth technical detail.
Otherwise, much will be familiar to readers of TWAoW. The maps are in the same format and the writing has some of the same admirable clarity and insouciance. One difference is that the introductory chapter is not a comprehensive description of winemaking and the wine experience but rather a shorter and more focused discussion of historical, legal, and winemaking issues specific to the U.S.
This is by no means a bad or uninteresting book and it is a useful complement to TWAoW because of its coverage of areas that do not have a worldwide reputation. But people who already know a fair amount about winemaking in the U.S. should be aware of its limitations.
So it's very good news indeed that at last there is a book that does the wines made in the U.S.--in all 50 states, that is--justice. American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States is the book about American wines that this wine lover has long been waiting for. As the publisher says, it's the "first comprehensive and authoritative reference to the wines, wineries and winemakers" of the entire U.S. While American Wine of course covers the Big Three of the West-California, Washington and Oregon-and the Big One of the East-New York-about a third of the 278-page book is devoted to the other 46 states, the states many of us are eager to know more about.
The authors have impeccable credentials. Jancis Robinson has been called the Julia Child of Wine. Robert M. Parker Jr.'s Wine Advocate said she is "perhaps the most gifted of all wine writers writing today." And she's been voted the Wine Writers' Wine Writer by her peers. She's a member of Britain's Royal Household Wine Committee, which chooses the wines that the Queen serves her guests. And she's a prolific author, responsible for several multi-award-winning wine reference books: she edited The Oxford Companion to Wine and co-authored The World Atlas of Wine and Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. U.S. wine expert Linda Murphy edited the San Francisco Chronicle's wine section-she won two awards from the James Beard Foundation there-and was the managing editor of the New York Times wine website. She contributes to [...] and Decanter.
American Wine is organized geographically: broad sections of the U.S. are broken down into states, regions within states, American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and so on. It covers geography, geology, terroirs, founding fathers and other history (including Prohibition and its lingering effects), current personalities, producers and more. You'll learn how winemaking evolved in America and where it's heading. There are short snapshots of all major growing regions and their key wineries, including Trailblazers (historic wineries), Steady Hands (consistently reliable brands), Superstars (the most desirable wines) and Ones to Watch (up-and-coming and innovative producers). Also included are 54 maps, more than 200 photographs and informational graphics.
Here's a sampling of interesting information:
● FLORIDA: French Hugenots made wine in the mid-1500s from the native Scuppernong grape.
● OHIO: The first commercially successful winery in the U.S. was established in Cincinnati in the mid-1800s by banker Nicholas Longworth. His specialty: sparkling wines from the native Catawba grape. By 1860, Ohio led the nation in wine production.
● NEW YORK: Founded in 1839, Brotherhood Winery in the Hudson River Valley is the oldest continously operating winery in the U.S.
● MISSOURI: The first AVA was established in 1980-in Augusta, Missouri.
● NORTH DAKOTA: In 2002 Pointe of View Winery made the state the 50th in the U.S. to have a commercial winery.
● MINNESOTA: Frontenac (red superstar in the Midwest and New England), La Crescent (white reminiscent of floral Riesling) and Marquette (not unlike Frontenac) grapes, bred at the University of Minnesota, can survive temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees.
● HAWAII: The most popular wines of Tedeschi Vineyards are Maui Blanc, a still pineapple wine, and Maui Splash, a pineapple wine with passion fruit essence.
● CALIFORNIA: 1) If it were a country, California would rank fourth in wine production, after France, Italy and Spain. 2) While the Napa Valley produces only 4% of the state's wine, it accounts for 25% of its wine sales revenue.
Bottom Line: An informative, eminently browsable, entertaining, handsome reference book that's a must-have for serious American wine lovers who are book lovers.
Quolity of this book is high with good paper and many pictures.
First book about American wines in my home library.