Hugh Johnson's Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine

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9780671230180: Hugh Johnson's Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine

An indispensable tool of the wine enthusiast, Hugh Johnson's Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine 1999 is thoroughly revised to provide the most up-to-date information. This 22d edition of the world's bestselling wine book gives expert help in choosing a wine for every occasion and every budget.

With current information on more than 6,000 wines, growers, and regions worldwide, the Pocket Encyclopedia is packed with advice to assist your selection of wine, whether in stores or restaurants, for cellaring, or for special events. Extensive coverage -- from reemerging Eastern European regions to the newest additions in the United States -- will introduce even the experienced oenophile to little-known finds, while detailed entries clarify information for the novice.

Johnson names the top-valued wines from every country and highlights those to drink in 1999, with predictions for wines to watch for in the future. Also included are regional maps, label guides, and vintage charts, along with fascinating entries on the history, production, and appreciation of wine. Hugh Johnson's Pocket Encyclopedia of Wine 1999 is the peerless standard of wine guides, a crucial addition to the library of every wine lover, enthusiast, and connoisseur.

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Review:

Hugh Johnson is undeniably a master wine connoisseur. A long-standing member of Cambridge's Wine and Food Society, he has written an impressive array of oenological masterpieces, such as The World Atlas of Wine, How to Enjoy Wine, and his comprehensive resource, The Modern Encyclopedia of Wine. But many are knowledgeable about wine--what makes Johnson (and, by extension, his books) special is his ability to translate his wisdom into language the average wine-sipping Joe can appreciate and understand, offering a breadth and depth of information of interest to novices and experts alike.

As indicated by the title, the Pocket Encyclopedia takes all that erudition, selects the most useful and necessary tidbits, and puts it in a convenient, portable size. The slim volume contains an enormous assortment of data about wines throughout the world. For example, the California chapter starts off with a brief but savvy wine history of the region and the market, then launches into thumbnail sketches of the principal vineyard areas and a summary of the qualities and characters of recent crops (1985 to 1996 for Chardonnay, 1974 to 1996 for Cabernet Sauvignons), providing an easy and precious reference on the value of various vintages. Then come the wineries--alphabetically listed, rated with a star system (one through four), pithily revealing, for each winery, its varietals, vintages, flavor characteristics, and any other notable details--for example, a new owner or direction.

Johnson supplies the same attention to a wide range of wines from all around the world. In addition, he furnishes a lot of general information. He describes all the grape varieties (from Albariño to Zinfandel), provides a fairly inclusive guide to which wines go best with which foods, and also gives his opinion on which foods go best with certain fine wines. There's a glossary of wine terms, a chart of appropriate serving temperatures, a quick-reference vintage chart, and Johnson's own guide to "What to drink this year in an ideal world," listing his top vintage picks for 13 wine varieties.

All this in a book you can easily take to the liquor store, or even out to dinner. Comprehensive doesn't fit in a pocket guide, but Johnson provides the skinny on all the major wines you could expect to find in quality wine stores and restaurants, plus a hundred or so more obscure wineries that ship only to private orders. It's all most people need to know. --Stephanie Gold

About the Author:

Hugh Johnson is regarded as the world's favorite wine writer thanks to his rare talent for bringing such a complicated subject to life. His prodigious career began at Cambridge, where he was a member of the Wine and Food Society. He succeeded André Simon as editor of Wine & Food magazine. Johnson has established himself as the preeminent authority on wine with such books as The World Atlas of Wine, Vintage: The Story of Wine, and How to Enjoy Wine.

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