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Book Recommendations from Decanter Magazine

Decanter Magazine, an English publication, is an excellent resource (and counterpoint) to some of the US-based publications and is well worth subscribing to for the different viewpoint. Their very English perspective on wines and, in particular, the tasting notes/recommendations are always interesting. Periodically, Decanter publishes book reviews. I thought that I'd capture some tidbits from their recent positive reviews in order to complement our own book lists. We decided not to post the list of books receiving faint (or worse) praise as it ultimately wouldn't serve a purpose.

September 2002

The New and Classical Wines of Spain by Jeremy Watson
"Without doubt, the most up-to-date, authoritative book on the subject around." Unfortunately, it is not available via or Powell's Books yet.

April 2002

Napa Valley: The Land, the Wine, the People by Charles O'Rear
O'Rear's photos are a "sweeping photographic treasury. From a close-up shot of the weathered, gnarled hands of a grape farmer to glamour shots of vineyard vistas." Available at Powell's Books and


Holiday Roundup - January 2002

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine 2003 by Hugh Johnson
"Still pocket sized, and for many consumers, the only wine book they'll need. Here are thumbnail sketches of grapes, wines, vintages, producers, restaurants, and technical points but they're rendered with assurance, skill and a tight acidic bite." Available at Powell's Books and

Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine by Christopher Foulkes
"The broad-brush approach means nuances are lacking [but]... It's a good, user-friendly overview for someone who might want to simply wade in the wine lake, rather than swim." Available at Powell's Books and


Sassicaia: The Original Super Tuscan by Marco Fini (Editor) et al.
"Lavishly illustrated in a family-album style, it is reverential and solemn, like contemporary accounts of the lives of 16th-century popes." Available at Powell's Books and


November 2001

The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
As this book was updated for its fifth edition, Hugh Johnson passes the baton to Jancis Robinson. Jancis updated and rewrote many sections, particularly for New World wines where information has changed dramatically. Decanter has called this "The Wine Book of the Millennium." Available at Powell's Books and

Wine Tasting Guidebooks - October 2001

Essential Winetasting: The Complete Practical Winetasting Course by Michael Schuster
"There is a certain Gallic rigidity about Essential Winetasting and no sense of fun." Nonetheless, this was recommended because it offered a complete, if pedantic, perspective on tasting wine. Available at Powell's Books and

Wine-Tasting Workbook by Jancis Robinson
"The title tells you all; you are here to learn -- sit up straight, stop fiddling, and put your nose in that glass." [Note: This book is not listed at or Powell's Books but I think that it is the same as How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine.] Available at Powell's Books and

Lateral Wine-Tasting by Rosemary George
[Out of print in the US but often available via Amazon Marketplace or Powells Books.]

Winetasting Pocket Guide: How to Approach and Appreciate Wine by Michael Broadbent
I liked the description of this one although it didn't make Decanter's shortlist: "Broadbent packs the odd surprise. His tasting notes are sometimes wilfully capricious... He is relaxed about drinking wine; wine is not a sterile science." Available at Powell's Books and

Bordeaux Summary - June 2001

The Winemasters of Bordeaux: The Inside Story of the World's Greatest Wines by Nicholas Faith
"Gives a detailed history of how the Bordeaux marketplace has evolved. Faith tells the tale of proud families, Machiavellian merchants, crippling scandals and turbulent takeovers." Available at Powell's Books and

Bordeaux: A Comprehensive Guide to the Wines Produced from 1961 to 1997 by Robert M. Parker, Jr.
"For piecing together, stocking and restocking your cellar, thorough tasting notes going back to the 1960s, this is an excellent guide." Available at Powell's Books and

Bordeaux: People, Power and Politics by Stephen Brook
"With unique clarity, Brook follows the sequence of spinners who traditionally convey wine from vine to wine lover. He unravels the 'good old Bordeaux snobbery' that surrounds them." Available at Powell's Books and

The Bordeaux Atlas: The Bordeaux Atlas and Encyclopaedia of Chateaux by Hubrecht Duijker and Michael Broadbent
Super pricy but: "Capturing a real feel and impressino of Bordeaux in just one book is almost impossible, but this title comes the closest of any." [Out of print in the US but often available via Amazon Marketplace or Powells Books.]

Bordeaux: Touring in Wine Country by Hubrecht Duijker and Mitchell Beazley
"[If you visit Bordeaux...] this is the book to tuck in the glove compartment." Includes detailed maps and directions to the chateaux designed to help you get around Bordeaux without getting (deeply) lost. Available at Powell's Books and

Bordeaux by David Peppercorn, MW
"This is a personal book, full of opinion and comment, pulling no punches, and calling a wine a wine." Available at Powell's Books.

Bordeaux and Its Wines, 15th Edition by Marc-Henry Lemay
"A Bordeaux tome is what you need to find out which chateaux are illustrious, which are obscure, and which could do better. [This is] King of them all - and 'Bible' to the buffs, British wine trade and Bordelais alike." Available at Powell's Books and

Great Bordeaux Wines by James Seely
"Paints a beautiful picture with portraits of the finest chateaux and useful tasting notes." Available at Powell's Books and

Pocket Wines of Bordeaux by David Peppercorn, MW
"Weighing a mere 190 grams, this is the only good reference book to carry around with you." Available at Powell's Books and

Grands Vins: The Finest Chateaux of Bordeaux and Their Wines by Clive Coate
 Available at Powell's Books and



Italy - May 2001

Italian Wines 2002: A Guide to the World of Italian Wine for Experts and Wine Lovers by Gambero Rosso
"This has become the most influential publication in the world of Italian wine. Any wine that receives the coveted tre bicchieri (three glasses) award is guaranteed success."  Available at Powell's Books and

Hugh Johnson's Tuscany and Its Wine by Hugh Johnson, Andy Katz (Photographer)
"Describes the beauty of the landscape in a prose style that is peerless among modern-day wine writers... Prose captures images that complement the photographs caught on camera by Andy Katz."  Available at Powell's Books and

Barolo to Valpolicella by Nicolas Belfrage
"Belfrage's dense and well-written book is an accurate assessment of Italian wines and their producers, and is invaluable and unsurpassed as the best current reference book on the northern half of Italy." Available at Powell's Books and

March 2001

The Colour of Wine: Photographs from the Vineyards of Marlborough, New Zealand by Kevin Judd
"It is the ever-shifting scenes and colours (of Cloudy Bay) that have been brilliantly captured by Kevin's lens. What struck me were the vivid hues, then Kevin's eye for texture and form, his positive genius for contrasting tones." [Not available in the US.]

December 2000/January 2001

A Short History of Wine by Rod Phillips
"Short on pictures, long on words, this book makes a real contribution to our understanding of wine... Phillip's book is a first stab at producing something like a textbook although it is also, laudably, lightly written."  Available at Powell's Books and

A Century of Wine: The Story of a Wine Revolution by Stephen Brook
"Individual wine writers describe the history of the twentieth century and its vital influence on the development of wine. Wine in 1900 was largely a nutritional drink... and it finished up as a chiefly aspirational beverage to be savoured." Available at Powell's Books and

Real Wine: The Rediscovery of Natural Winemaking by Patrick Matthews
"Matthews champions organic winemakers rather than the mere techno-wine that is the stock-in-trade of our multiples [ie, retail chains]. Much of the focus is on California and the rediscovery of ancient techniques there." Available at Powell's Books and

The Global Encyclopedia of Wine: Updated Edition by Peter Forrestal (editor)
Available at Powell's Books and

October 2000

The Wines of Chile by Hubrecht Duijker
"Duijker packs an enormous amount of detail into the winery profiles. It may be aimed at the general reader, but there is more than enough to keep the cork dorks happy too... [Only complaint] is that, at times, Duijker's tone lacks critical bite. He has an excellent palate but seems afraid to exercise it on behalf of his readers." Available at Powell's Books and

June 2000

The Wines of California by Stephen Brook
"Brook begins with a historical review of California's viticulture and a quick tour of each of the wine regions... before launching into a discussion of grape growing and winemaking that is 'crucial to what makes California wines distinctive.' The second half of the book, with its short, elegant essays on hundreds of individual wineries, will be the most thumbed. Brook manages to convey clearly the styles of wine produced at all of the major wineries, and many of the minor ones, too." Available at Powell's Books and


Check out our own wine book recommendations:

bullet Wine Appreciation and Wine History Books
bulletWinemaking Books




Wine Enthusiast - Ultimate wine accessories site! The Wine Enthusiast is a great source of glassware, serving and preservation systems, in addition to self-contained wine cellars and other wine storage options. If you're not sure what you need, the company offers a list of 'Recommended' items that cover a wide range of needs through their home page.

Wine glasses, decanters and more: Many choices are available including Riedel and Spiegelau crystal stemware and decanters. Plus, there are many products to clean and care for your glassware.   


Serving and preserve your wine, from the most elegant decanters to chillers, coasters, drip savers and more. When we want wine by the glass (when we don't think we'll finish a bottle), we use the WineKeeper which automatically fills the bottle with nitrogen to preserve the wine.
Corkscrews Corkscrews and cork pullers are essential tools. Wine Enthusiast has a wide variety of devices including the traditional Laguiole corkscrew to the smooth Rabbit Corkscrew leverpull types. Storing your wine doesn't have to be difficult. Wine Enthusiast offers everything from free standing wine cellars to wine racks and cooling systems that can be installed in a closet or a corner of the basement.   
Finally, for great deals, don't forget to check out the clearance items and the Wine Cellar Outlet Store areas.


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