Grapes and Wines: An Encyclopedia of Grape Varieties - CLARKE, Oz; RAND, Margaret;Little, Brown & Co., 2001, Hardback in Dustwrapper..
Condition: Very Good+ - in Very Good DJ.
The subtitle, The Key to Enjoying Modern Wine, indicates what Oz Clarke is up to in this new book Grapes and Wines. Most wines now, especially those from the New World and Australasia, are sold not on the name of a chateau-type maker or a négociant blender but on the (usually single) grape variety that has gone into it. The words Chardonnay or Syrah on a label arouse particular expectations in the taste-buds of buyers in wine shops or supermarkets. This represents an enormous change in the way wine is marketed and sold, a change that has come about only in the last few years and which has opened the world of wine to many who might otherwise be deterred by the arcane impenetrabilia of traditional wine nomenclature. Most of us, if pressed, could name a handful of the grape varieties used in wine making: Grapes and Wines is an alphabetical encyclopaedia listing hundreds of them in great detail, many, as Clarke points out, never described in print before. The great varieties--the Sauvignons Blancs, the Pinot Noirs, the Rieslings and their noble companions--get extended treatment, but in many ways the most exciting aspect of this book are the up-and-coming hopefuls grown in developing wine areas such as Eastern Europe and the profoundly new characters acquired by familiar grapes in new soils and climates. Think of the difference between a fine, aged Hermitage from the Rhone Valley and a juicy young Australian Shiraz, both as it happens made from the same grape. The fact that in France the grape is called Syrah points to some of the difficulties that Clarke and Rand must have faced in steering a clear path through the baffling complexities of vine naming, which is in general casual, local and historically contingent. 320pp.
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