Which wine book has meant the most to you?

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Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Jeff B » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:10 pm

Perhaps it's a book that first fueled your interest in wine. Or it's that one book that you love so much, you have multiple editions of.

There are two books that helped fuel my love for champagne. The first remains Champagne For Dummies by Ed McCarthy and 2000 Champagnes (now 4000 Champagnes) by Richard Juhlin.

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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:22 pm

"The Home Wine Maker's Manual" by Walter S. Taylor and Richard P. Vine - published 1967.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Otto » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:33 pm

Either the ones with a good narrative that makes it a page turner (Hugh Johnson's A Life Uncorked; Kermit Lynch Adventures on the Wine Route; or the new Asimov book that I just finished and promptly forgot the name of :oops: ) or then long, "boring" list -like books like the new Jancis Robinson &al. Wine Grapes.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Ian Sutton » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:09 pm

I don't think any wine book has really meant that much, even though I have loads of them. Of moderate note are:
- James Halliday's annual 1999 edition, as it was the first wine book I bought and did get lots of reading
- Barolo to Valpolicella (Belfrage), for being a more interesting book of opinion and wider than just TNs
- Vintage wine (Broadbent), any of the 3 editions. There are so few books on aged wine, so even though it's weighted towards blue-chip wines and his own traditional tastes, it still offers genuine interest.
- DueMilaVini: Useful in helping me stretch my Italian (though now there's an english language version, albeit without the resataurant/enoteca recco.s). Good TNs and not score obsessed.
- Essential Winetasting (Schuster), for being instructive, useful, practical etc.
- Hugh Johnsons's pocket book, for listing so many wines of interest. Perhaps the best all-rounder of all?
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:16 pm

The Atlas of Wine! Where else can you get so much good information so well presented in one volume? Plus I love maps!
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Mike Pollard » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:35 pm

Anything by Walter James.

And Michael Broadbent's "Pocket Guide to Wine Tasting".

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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Jay Labrador » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:37 pm

I can no longer remember the title but it was a pocketbook introduction to wine in my parents' library. One of the first wine books I ever bought was The New Frank Schoonmaker Encyclopedia of Wine. A pretty good encyclopedia and I particularly appreciated the phonetic pronunciation guide for each entry.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Marco Raimondi » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:59 pm

Burton Anderson's "VINO - The Wines And Winemakers Of Italy"

It's a great read, and still relevant 30+ years on.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:16 am

Marco Raimondi wrote:Burton Anderson's "VINO - The Wines And Winemakers Of Italy"

It's a great read, and still relevant 30+ years on.

I still have it too, Marco, and cut my teeth on it. That said, while it's still good on historical info, there's been an awful lot of change since then. My edition is copyright 1980, which places it near the beginning of the Super Tuscan movement. No DOCG, and even the DOC system was still evolving. No IGT. And a lot of today's wine-making stars still in elementary school or not even born yet!

It's still a good book, though. :)

I also inhaled Schoonmaker and The New York Times Book of Wine (by Terry Robards, who later got caught up in a conflict-of-interest scandal), and have been following Hugh Johnson since the very start.

Johnson's Vintage, The Story of Wine, is another particular favorite. And Jancis's Oxford and Hugh's Wine Atlas, once they came along.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:25 am

I'll nominate Jonathan Livingstone Learmonth's "Wines of the Rhone Valley" through all of its various editions. The books are so filled with information about the regions, the vineyards, the producers and their cellar practices It also introduced me to the useful concept of "soil to glass transfer" (STGT) producers, a concept that I've made much use of since learning of it in his books. I don't always agree with his judgements about wines but I appreciate his scholarship and passion for the region.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Steve Slatcher » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:01 am

Ian Sutton wrote:- Essential Winetasting (Schuster), for being instructive, useful, practical etc.

That's mine. Also partly because I worked through the tasting exercises at the back with friends.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Peter May » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:11 am

Johnson's original 'Atlas' had so much info in it, was an eye-opener.

Burrough's & Bezants two books were the text books for the WSET when I did the first two certificate courses/exams in the '80s. Going back to them now its apparent just how considerably the wine world has changed.

Johnsons annual Pocket Wine Guide was packed with info and could be carried in a jacket pocket when dining out.

Darlington's 'Angels' Visits' is a lovely paean to Zinfandel which I've read many times and was the inspiration for my own book. And (as it wasn't available then in UK) I am grateful to this board since it was through the forum that I was sent a copy
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:09 am

"The Fine Wines of California", Hurst Hannum & Robert S. Blumberg. We were stationed in Hawaii and were just getting into American wine. This tome was a big help to us.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:29 am

There's two...

Wine for Dummies took an interest and converted it into a passion. So much information! So much to learn! Just scratching the surface!

Oxford Companion to Wine is the ultimate geek reference. Want the details on wine production in Romania? It's there!
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Wow...

Postby TomHill » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:03 am

Carl Eppig wrote:"The Fine Wines of California", Hurst Hannum & Robert S. Blumberg. We were stationed in Hawaii and were just getting into American wine. This tome was a big help to us.


Now there's a book I haven't heard of in yrs, Carl. Yup...it was one of the best/first on Calif wines.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Marco Raimondi » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:21 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Marco Raimondi wrote:Burton Anderson's "VINO - The Wines And Winemakers Of Italy"

It's a great read, and still relevant 30+ years on.

I still have it too, Marco, and cut my teeth on it. That said, while it's still good on historical info, there's been an awful lot of change since then. My edition is copyright 1980, which places it near the beginning of the Super Tuscan movement. No DOCG, and even the DOC system was still evolving. No IGT. And a lot of today's wine-making stars still in elementary school or not even born yet!

It's still a good book, though. :)

I also inhaled Schoonmaker and The New York Times Book of Wine (by Terry Robards, who later got caught up in a conflict-of-interest scandal), and have been following Hugh Johnson since the very start.

Johnson's Vintage, The Story of Wine, is another particular favorite. And Jancis's Oxford and Hugh's Wine Atlas, once they came along.


Robin:

You're right; a lot has changed. Some of the great Italian pioneers interviewed have since moved to that cellar/vineyard in the sky!

I'll throw in another oldy: Edmund Penning-Rowsell's "The Wines Of Bordeaux " (my version is the Stein & Day edition from 1970); it is a good source for the history behind the chateaux.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Craig Winchell » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:31 am

Carl, I still have my Fine Wines of California from back in the 60's or early '70s (I have it elsewhere, so I can't get to the copyright date). I especially like their description of Martin Ray's wines. But easily the most influential were Hugh Johnson's World Atlas of Wine and Lichine's Encyclopedia of Wine and Spirits, the books that got me started thinking about wine as an industry. And for California wines, Halliday's Wine Atlas of California easily became my most appreciated tome.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:28 pm

Craig Winchell wrote:Carl, I still have my Fine Wines of California from back in the 60's or early '70s (I have it elsewhere, so I can't get to the copyright date).


1971! We were stationed in Hawaii from mid '72 to Jan '77. It was a huge help to us, for we knew NOTHING!
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Hoke » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:17 pm

Single book? That would have to be Hugh Johnson's World Atlas of Wine. There were lots of others vying for attention in that early crazy learning phase that turned into a lifelong (so far) love affair and obsession, but this one came along at absolutely the perfect time, when I had just enough knowledge to know what I needed to learn, and this was the pathway.

Elegantly written and massively informative, but beyond the lovely text, Johnson's early cartographical perspective tied together what I had intuitively sensed while living in Europe, that what later came to be umbrella-identified as "terroir" was the most important element in wine, and the one thing that truly elevated it above all other beverages. If you pored over the narrative while consuming the details of the maps (and being able to 'translate' a map) understanding----real innate understanding---of Burgundy and the German regions in particular, would become clear and ringing and crystalline true.

So that's what changed an interest to a fascination to a lifelong pursuit: the visual, intellectual and sensual aspects of wine all rolled into one.

Everything I learned later confirmed that, and was built on that. And still is.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Dan Smothergill » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:42 pm

Leon Adams' Wines of America has meant the most to me. In 1967, knowing absolutely nothing about wine, I married the daughter of a winemaker who also happened to be President of the newly formed American Wine Society which operated out of his basement office. Soon I was making my own Labrusca wines while below my own radar the war between hybrids and Viniferas was heating up all around me. At about the same time I received a signed copy of Adams' book as a gift and was immediately hooked on the history of wine in America. The other day, some 40 years later, I was rereading the section on the Finger Lakes. Some of what has transpired since then was dead on the trajectory Adams described (the beginnings of Constellation Brands; the central role of Konstantin Frank), although no could have foreseen the enormous growth. Inevitably, Adams also gave attention to some big news that went nowhere. Most notably perhaps was a grand plan to use the huge applesauce and grape juice processing plants of Seneca Foods in Dundee, NY to take a Maryland-based winery nation wide. The Finger Lakes section is just one of many in this book about the history of wine in many States and regions throughout the country. It still makes for a good read.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Jon Peterson » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:30 pm

Either Alexis Bespaloff's New Signet Book of Wine (1985 Signet publishing) which was my first serious learn-about-wine book or any of the Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine by Hugh Johnson, the first of which I got in 1986; it was half as thick and half the cost of the current one on the market.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby JC (NC) » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:31 pm

I will name two authors--Frank Schoonmaker for the early stages of my interest in wines and Clive Coates for more recent reading. While living in Germany I took an art history tour to Burgundy with a group of Americans (led by Dr. Andrew Laurie Stangel) and carried a Frank Schoonmaker book on wines with me. I had it in hand while browsing a wine shop and settling on a Savigny-les-Beaune. Most of the group were just grabbing the first red wine in reach from the shelves for a picnic, but the shop clerk noticed that I was studiously reading and assessing the wines before making a selection.
Clive Coates because of my love of and interest in Burgundy wines.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Hoke » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:48 pm

Jon Peterson wrote:Either Alexis Bespaloff's New Signet Book of Wine (1985 Signet publishing) which was my first serious learn-about-wine book or any of the Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine by Hugh Johnson, the first of which I got in 1986; it was half as thick and half the cost of the current one on the market.


Jon, Alexis' book, in paperback, was one of my first wine books, and among my fondest, well worn and tattered. Many years later I had the occasion to work beside him in a wine competition, and then spend some time with him in a more relaxed session. I'm happy to report to you that Alex was as fine a person, as delightful and engaging and polished and mannered, as you would expect from reading his book.

He was a conversationalist of the first order and a downright nice guy, especially once you got past his innate reserve and almost old-world courtliness. I sincerely wished I had known him better and had had more than just a couple of occasions to spend personal time with him.
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Re: Which wine book has meant the most to you?

Postby Jon Peterson » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:49 pm

Hoke wrote:Jon, Alexis' book, in paperback, was one of my first wine books, and among my fondest, well worn and tattered. Many years later I had the occasion to work beside him in a wine competition, and then spend some time with him in a more relaxed session. I'm happy to report to you that Alex was as fine a person, as delightful and engaging and polished and mannered, as you would expect from reading his book.

He was a conversationalist of the first order and a downright nice guy, especially once you got past his innate reserve and almost old-world courtliness. I sincerely wished I had known him better and had had more than just a couple of occasions to spend personal time with him.


Hoke - this is really delightful to hear. Thank you for posting. I still have his book on a shelf in my cellar, as worn and tattered as yours no doubt.
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