Subtitled: The basics of wine.
When this book arrived, I have to say that I was surprised; from the picture you have the impression that this book is constructed very much along the lines of the recent book by Jasper Morris, only after it is delivered you realise that it is actually half the size – A5.
The presentation if this book is actually first-class: The format is of a heading and a descriptive text and a nice photo. No subject gets more than two pages of text, usually just one, and as you will see below, the text pages are really half-pages. The text has been supplied by Romana Echensperger, Fiona Morrison and Filip Verheyden, a mix of MW and MW candidates; an insert to the book suggests that:
”It is meant for both the beginner who just bought his first bottle of wine [do women not buy wine…?] and the connoisseur looking for in-depth information”
You might say ‘how can it offer ‘in-depth’ information with only half a page of text per headline? A fair question, but I would say it is reasonably successful for two reasons:
First, because there are so many sections, and…
Second, because the narrative often sounds like a run-away train, presumably so that it fits into the space allowed.
One comment worth making is that there’s no glossary – the book is itself, an out-size glossary, so some of the language (polymerisation, colloids, mouth-feel) might remain a mystery to the man (or woman!) who just bought their first bottle.
The 120 stanzas are grouped into four sections;
- How to drink wine
- Wine and food
- The vineyard
- How wine is made
Particularly the middle two sections are excellent and are highly recommended. I have but one bee in my bonnet; there is a constant error across the pages and one that MWs and MW candidates should not be making – at least, assuming they passed any of their chemistry modules – potassium, sulfur, nitrogen etcetera, are not compounds and neither are they minerals as is asserted several times in the text, they are elements – pure and undiluted. This is a bad mistake and is no different to describing a cherry as a fruit-cake; a cherry is a part (an element) of a fruit cake, but it is not a fruit-cake!
This book is delivered by the publisher of the wine magazine Tong
, a magazine whose outlook and style I like very much, so I guess it should come as little surprise that I like this book too. Overall, this is perfectly proportioned for what it is; it delivers punchy, though sometimes frenetic, text; each subject is perfectly delineated and well presented. Given the format, and despite its 270 pages, you can easily read the whole book in 2-3 hours, but it is also a mini-coffee-table book that you can dip into. I would say this is a winner and just in time for the Christmas buying rush 😉 Bravo!