Books about wines - (nf)

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Oct 7, 1983, 10:21:42 PM10/7/83
ucbcad!max Oct 5 22:18:00 1983

One comprehensive book, albeit restricted to French wines, is Alexis
Lichine's "Guide to the Wines and Vineyards of France" (Alfred A. Knopf,
1979). This is an outgrowth of Lichine's seminal "Wines of France",
which introduced many Americans to French wine for the first time, twenty
or thirty years ago. It costs about US $15 and contains a lot of geography
and snippets of history and tradition.

My favorite introduction to the wines of the world is a THIN and
immensely readable book, Blake Ozias's "All About Wine". This was published
in 1973 (unfortunately I don't have the publisher's name since the book
is, as usual, on loan to interested friends). The information it conveys
about prices and about California wines is hopelessly outdated, but a
couple of evenings with this book will give the novice an excellent survey
of European wines (complete with maps). This book is much more accessible
than the more comprehensive works by Johnson, Lichine, and others.

For CURRENT information on available wines -- prices, characteristics, and
trends -- nothing beats the serious (i.e., advertisement-free,
subscription-only) wine magazines. I am aware of four major ones: Finigan's
Private Guide to Wines (rather circumspect and button-down in style);
Vintage Magazine; The Underground Wineletter (out of southern California,
and a bit more free-wheeling); and Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine.
All of these present tasting notes based on blind tastings, conducted
far more professionally (and usually by more-educated palates) than wine
reviews that typically appear in local papers, state fairs, etc.
Connoisseurs' Guide surveys California wines exclusively, but
exhaustively; typically it will provide details and tasting notes on, say,
ALL 180 Pinot Noirs currently available from California wineries.
Each of these magazines costs around US $25 a year.

Max Hauser, UC - Berkeley


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