A new wine bible?
The Oxford Companion to Wine - Jancis Robinson
The Oxford Companion to Wine (RRP A$110) is a thoroughly essential part of any wine lover's library. Over 800 pages of wine-related information, built from contributions by many of the world's leading wine experts and ably edited by Jancis Robinson MW, assisted by Julia Harding MW, this Companion covers everything from wine history and grape varieties to the most current wine-making techniques and the latest wine regions.
It is, however, far more than a dictionary. A companion, by its very nature, has a personal twist, and in this case the personality of its erudite and seemingly most modest creator Jancis Robinson shines though. It is truly a monumental work, stunning in its depth and breadth - certainly if you knew even half its contents, you would be well on the way to becoming a Master of Wine yourself.
Every word in this revised edition has been thought about. There appear to be very few excess entries and similarly few absences. Since the first edition was published in 1994 the number of entries has increased from 3000 to 3900, and now include the philosophy of wine, politics and wine, the impact of climate change and globalization on the wine industry, the fruits of recent research - perhaps balanced by the impact of new pests and diseases - and a great deal more. The removal of brandy and distilled spirits, which may disappoint a few, was necessary to make way for the additions. The viticultural entries are excellent, ably describing current practices around the world, and no winemaker, viticulturalist or vigneron should lack a copy on their shelves.
The Oxford Companion to Wine certainly reflects the intelligence, thoroughness and diligence of the editors and contributors. If you want to buy one book on wine for yourself or a wine lover in your life, this is truly it.
However, for those who consider the 3 kg weight might pose a problem, or who delight in the joys of instant search and hyperlinks, Jancis would like to remind you that the entire contents are now available online on her website - subscribe through VisitVineyards.com and receive a 30%* discount.
But in my opinion - you need both, the book to browse and the online version for quick reference and for instantly solving disputes about grape varieties around the dinner table (and for access to all Jancis's latest news). We should consider ourselves most fortunate that this work exists. 2000 years of wine knowledge, distilled.
Robyn Lewis, Editor.
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JancisRobinson.com was named the International Wine Website of the Year 2010 in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards on September 14th.
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