If you are interested in varietal wines this book is a must read
This book is constantly in use on my desk. Well the 2002 edition has been for some years - so I knew I had to get the new one.
Most people probably now Oz Clarke from the TV series Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure. Oz is the guy with slightly less hair. James is James May of Top Gear fame.
OK, back to Oz and Margaret's great wine book.
Seventeen Varieties are designated as Classic Grapes, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Muscat, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Viognier and Zinfandel.
They have a great range and Freight to most countries included in their very competitive prices
A further seventeen (are the vino-cabalistic undertones to that number?) are called Major Grapes, Albarino, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Dolcetto, Malbec, Malvasia, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Pinot Blanc, Pinot gris, Pinotage, Roussanne, silvas and Touriga Nacional.
Each of the Classic Grapes is given a full treatment over several pages, each Major Grape gets a double page spread. In both cases there is plenty of information about the history and geography of the variety, its climatic preferences and a description of the major styles and producers of the wines made along with brief consumer advice.
The also rans, about 270 them are more briefly described with entries varying from a couple of sentences to a page or so.
The main body of work is sandwiched between several introductory chapters about grapes and wines and a series of useful appendices including a brief guide to the varieties used in major appellations, a technical glossary, and a list of varieties and synonyms along with the usual index and bibliography.
The style of writing is lively and at times opinionated, but what's the point of writing about wine if you don't have an opinion? there are ample glossy photographs and some very clear and informative maps, tables and diagrams. A feature of the Grapes and Wines is the reproduction of a series of specially commissioned paintings showing the classic grapes with subtle references to the natural habitat of the wine.
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