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Jancis Robinson's Wine Course: A Guide to the World of Wine Paperback – April 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Witty, brilliant, authoritative" -- Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate
She has an encyclopedic grasp of her subject and doesnt put a foot wrong...a splendid introduction to wine. -- Decanter Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
This companion to Jancis' TV series is neither of the above, and it is much more. It is Jancis speaking to you, from her richly educated base of knowledge, to help you learn what makes wine so interesting. Think of Jancis as your incredibly experienced aunt, who has just come back from some exotic trip. She and you have sat down in the living room by a fire, are sipping some wine, and she is preparing to regale you with stories, and tidbits, and insights, and fascinating worlds you didn't even imagine.
That's what the book is like.
It starts with the basics - how to taste, how to serve, how to decant, wine and food. Even in these areas you get the sense that Jancis is chatting with you about something she loves. She admits to decanting full whites not because they need it, but because she loves the glowing color.
She goes into the gritty details of how wines are made, what a free-run-wine is, how sparkling and sweet wines are created. And then, she begins in on the regional reviews.
France, of course, is first. It always seems to come first. Beautiful pictures of the Chateau Latour tower and Loire valley gables. You move on through Italy, Spain, and yes, the US and Australia get a mention in here too. The reviews are all written from her heart - you see clearly what she likes and doesn't like, and you learn why.
A great way to learn more about wine - especially if you're also able to watch the TV Series!
As one who truly knows her craft, Jancis shows the reader everything needed to be able to make good decisions about wine. From a discussion about different wine glasses to the different regions where wine is made to the different grape varietals, Jancis lets it all hang out.</p>
Don't get me wrong, though. While Jancis is very informal in her discussion, she is decidedly British, so the text reads as if it were spoken with an accent. Some of the terms are British as well, so a little knowledge of the British way of speaking helps. For example, what Americans (and the French) call a Bordeaux, the English call a Claret. These little things might trip a true wine novice, but I'm certain that anyone who enjoys wine and wants to find out more will keep this book in the bookshelf (when not reading it) for a very long time.</p>
In other words, it's not the easiest book to follow.
Another note- she makes her disgust of Spanish wines known in the opening paragraph on page 222 when she says "If it (Spain) had Germany's love of efficiency, or France's respect for bureaucracy, Spain might be sending us oceans of judiciously priced wine made expressly for the international market. But Spain is an anarchic jumble of districts and regions...and heartbreakingly awful human constructions, and has to be treated as such by the wine enthusiast."
I found those comments to be misleading, as Spain to me is a model exporter of high quality wines. Just about any Rioja or Tempranillo wine imported and that goes for less than $...is of fine quality. That is my opinion of course. Another semi-complaint is that there was not enough material on Argentina (only 6 paragraphs) which I found to be a shame, since Argentina has very unique and delicious wines.
Overall this is good, as I said earlier, for those who already have a basic knowledge.
It's definitely not a book for the beginner, though. It's technical enough to be useful to intermediate to advanced wine lovers, but still readable for someone with some basic background. But I think an advanced beginner would be the minimum background and probably more like a beginning intermediate.
The information is detailed and encyclopedic enough so that I think anyone who knew the whole book could probably run a typical wine shop, at least from the standpoint of the necessary wine expertise, and maybe more. You could certainly run the tasting counter at most wine shops as you'd be able to discuss just about any topic that came up.
Besides the usual major varietals and wines, it's great for looking up information on more obscure offerings. For example, I looked up Bandol and Banyuls (the French equivalent of port, using an older process) two red wines from Roussillon-Languedoc that I didn't know very well, and in a few minutes I had a good idea of these formerly obscure (to me) wines.
Other features I liked were the chapters on white and red varietals which covers hundreds of different clones and hybrids, many of which are still fairly obscure.
My only quip, and it's a small one considering how good the book is overall, is the writing style. It's a bit turgid and grandiloquent for my taste, but others mileage may vary. All in all a truly great educational tool for the more experienced wine lover that you will find yourself referring to many times over the years.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There's LOTS of great information in this book. It's very text heavy and detailed. As a student of wines...a sommelier want-to-be... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
both jancis robinson and hugh johnson are my favourite wine authorsPublished 19 months ago by L. Kwan
Robinson's writing is a pleasure to read. Just enough humor to take the edge off. A wonderful resource for wine lovers.Published 23 months ago by Jim vinson
Going into my wine and beverage class with very minimal education on wine this book helped transform me. Read morePublished on October 13, 2009 by Rein Creflo
What a great book! This book teaches you as much or as little as you want to know about wine. It takes the confusion out of tasting new wines and shopping for wine is now fun. Read morePublished on May 14, 2007 by arusin