Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours (Anglais) Relié – 6 novembre 2012
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Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Hall of Fame for Best Wine Book (2012)
Wine & Spirits magazine, Best Drinks Book (2012)
Roederer Awards, Faiveley International Wine Book of the Year (2013)
OIV Awards, Best Viticulture Book (2013)
Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards, Best Drink Book (2012)
André Simon Awards, Best Drink Book (2012)
A fantastic Christmas present for any wine geek, and one that will provide an endless source of fiendish questions for quiz-setters (The Guardian)
‘A magnificent achievement: colossally informative, illuminating and intriguing (Decanter.com)
This book is a thing of beauty - classic, well written and splendidly illustrated - and will be a point of reference for decades to come. (Bordeaux Undiscovered)
“The most important wine book in years. (Tom Wark, Fermentation)
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Now comes this new volume, which is anything but pocket-sized. Massive and slip-cased, it has the gravitas of an aged Premier Cru. For each of nearly 1400 varieties there is an entry that gives you its color (from among five choices), common synonyms (for some widely grown grapes there are many), other varieties it is often mistaken for, and what is known of its origins and heritage (relying on recent, extensive, DNA testing of wine grapes). Then there is a brief summary of how it grows (vigor, resistance, when it ripens, and the like) and where it grows. As warranted, there is a discussion of what it tastes like and the quality of the wine it produces. Many of these grapes are actually very marginal from a wine making viewpoint, and are of interest for historical or relationship reasons. (I do miss the little sliding bar from the earlier book that suggested at a glance the likelihood of the grape producing a decent wine.)
The relationship information is fascinating. Selected grapes have a family tree associated with their entry. Looking at Cabernet Sauvignon we learn that Chenin Blanc is a sister of Sauvignon Blanc and, hence, an aunt of Cabernet Sauvignon. Freisa turns out to be a cross of Nebbiolo with an unknown grape. The foldout genealogy of Pinot Noir is remarkable. Who would have guessed that Lagrein is a granddaughter of Pinot, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are both great granddaughters? On a down side, the figure is sewn so deeply into the binding that part of the tree can't be read.
I decided to check on a grape of local (but not wine drinking!) interest. In the earlier book there is an entry for the Mission grape, the first wine grape brought to California; there is was associated with the Monica grape. The current volume doesn't have an entry for Mission (it has entries pointing you to a main entry for some synonyms, but not for others). Checking the index it turns out that Mission is actually Listan Prieto. (Which I'd certainly never heard of before.)
There are also beautiful color plates, originally published in France over a century ago, of selected grapes. (Interestingly, one is labeled "Mission"!)
But there are, alas, some imperfections. I've mentioned how the Pinot family tree is bound so that it is not all readable. While the paper in a volume this size is necessarily thin, the see-through on some pages is annoying; more opaque paper would have been nice. The label on the front of the slip case is somewhat crooked, and the one on the edge quite so. Production quality could have been better.
Had this been a standard book at half or even two-thirds the price it would have been an easy five stars. But in a slip-cased book at this list price you expect a little better attention to detail than this book manages. So I reluctantly drop my rating to four stars. Still an excellent investment for or gift to a devoted oenophile, it is not quite the value it could have been with a little better physical execution.
We're going to try writing to the publisher to see if we can get separate sheets of the full fold outs. After all, I paid for them.
This seems to be a very good reference that one would keep throughout a career in wine. No point in cheaping out on the book design and publication.
My only complaint is that I'm really not a fan of the rigid binding though, it makes a few of the larger pullout pedigree diagrams useless because the printout goes all the way to the spine. They are aware of the problem and have made the pedigrees available in PDF format at [...]
Thanks Jancis, Julia and Jose
One, there's a small white barcode/price tag on the back of the book (not the case). It consists of flimsy paper and a strong adhesive, which is a terrible combination, the result of which is you're left with a splotch of fileted paper if you try to remove it. There's no getting it all off. I should have let it be, despite the tackiness of a price tag on such a handsome book, but it simply shouldn't have been applied in the first place.
The second quibble is regarding the several fold-out pedigree charts. No consideration was given for the deep gutter, so you can't read the contents there! Bad form. Should have made them two-folded with the whole chart then viewable.