Friday, October 31, 2008

Wine Report 2009

I usually do not purchase annual wine buying guides but there is one annual guide that I do purchase each year, though it is not quite a buying guide. The Wine Report 2009, edited by Tom Stevenson (DK Publishing, Inc., October 2008, $15.00), recommends plenty of wines but there is much more to the book than that. It also has plenty of wine news, vintage reports, regional information and essays on a variety of wine-related topics.

The book is primarily broken down into regional reports and cover all of the major wine regions as well as plenty of minor ones as well. For example, they cover wineries all over the U.S., from California to Massachusetts. You will find reports on countries like Israel, India, Belgium and more. Each regional report begins with wine news, essays, and vintage info for the past six years. There are then lists of recommended producers and wines, including great quality wines as well as bargain wines. Each list has up to ten entries, though less if warranted.

Finally, the regional report ends with my favorite section, a list of "Most Exciting or Unusual Finds." These are odd wines, maybe with unusual grapes or blends, or something outside the ordinary for the region. I love learning about all of these eclectic wines, seeing the incredible diversity of the wine world. These are wines I am likely to buy if I saw them in my local wine store. At the end of the book, they even compile a list of their 100 Most Exciting Wine Finds.

After all of the regional reports, there are a number of articles on subjects such as Organic & Biodynamic Wines, Wine & Health, Grape Varieties, Wine Science and more. These are often fascinating articles with additional wine recommendations as well as plenty of statistics, such as the most widely cultivated grapes. The article, Wine on the Web, provides plenty of URLs for wine related websites. But this article gives little coverage to wine blogs, mentioning their existence but not really providing a list of any.

This book is probably not a good choice for someone new to wine. It assumes, and explicitly states, that the reader already possess a certain level of information about wine. But for someone who has a moderate level of wine knowledge, I think they would enjoy this book. It is not a standard wine buying guide. And is a great source for learning about the less well known wine regions.

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