Most helpful critical review
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2011
First, I understand this book has been periodically reviewed for decades now and reflect the deep knowledge and passion of the authors for the subject. Having said that, it is not a visually appealing book and the organization could use some improvement. I am glad I read it and I plan to keep it for reference but I expected more from the book.
The good: Authors know what they write about; there are maps of the main wine growing regions of California (including AVA boundaries). Most chapters are organized as (for example) Napa Valley >>> overview of all AVAs included in Napa Valley >>> list of main wineries of Napa Valley by alphabetical order. Please note that the wineries list is far from complete and the choice reflects the authors' opinion. I believe if you refer to the wineries on the book you get a pretty extensive line-up to plan your upcoming wine purchases and trips.
The bad: Book is visually dull (no color pictures), the maps are functional but are placed in a somewhat confusing way. For example, a page for the Russian River AVA map nested between pages listing wineries from a different AVA. Wouldn't it be better to start each section with the relevant map?
Another thing I missed was recommendations on how to plan a visit to CA's wine countries. Maybe the authors were afraid to "play favorites", but wouldn't it be helpful for this guidebook to have a section "planning your weekend in Napa/Sonoma" with the must-see wineries? yes, they do comment at the winery profile "this is one of the most picturesque estates to visit" or something, but why not add a chapter that would make it more of a guidebook?