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Tasting Pleasure: Confessions of a Wine Lover Paperback – May 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140270019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140270013
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,911,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The editor and author of almost a dozen British books on wine, including The Oxford Companion to Wine (LJ 12/94), Robinson knows the wine world inside and out. Here she shares her love for and knowledge of wine via a collection of autobiographical anecdotes and sketches covering everything from the time spent early in her career writing for Wine and Spirit magazine to her adventures taping the Wine Course for the BBC. Dedicated wine enthusiasts and collectors will drink up Robinson's stories of meetings with the luminaries of the wine world and her visits to the vineyards of countries as varied as France and Australia. However, the average American reader might be overwhelmed by the emphasis on the British wine trade. Libraries with comprehensive wine book collections or public libraries catering to a gourmet clientele will want to consider.?John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., Ariz.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

In case you were interested, here's everything you could ever possibly want to know about Robinson's (Oxford Companion to Wine) career trajectory. Robinson, who has been a fixture in the wine writing establishment for 25 years, teeters precariously, wanting her readers to know that she is both a wine connoisseur--exquisitively sensitive to the historical, geographical, and sociological contexts of wine--and a populist rabble-rouser, bucking received opinion as she champions the wine-drinking pleasures open to Everyman. She quaffs Grands Echezeaux, La Tache, Romanee-Conti, 1847 Yquems, and 1787 Branne Moutons, has ``swashbuckling'' Harold Evans as her editor at London's Sunday Times, and hobnobs with Hugh Johnson and Edmund Penning-Rowsell, But she also starts up the Drinker's Digest, an opinionated and iconoclastic newsletter dedicated to the principle of the best wine for the best price. Readers will learn the holdings in her cellar, her peregrinations through the wine-trade publications, the many personalities she meets, the astonishing meals she enjoys, and will share her each and every momentous occasion (``I shall never forget my first formal wine tasting''; ``My most embarrassing trial by tasting took place. . . . ``, etc.). She gets serious now and then--discussing the pros and cons of blind tastings, detailing how Robert M. Parker Jr. has gained his mind-boggling sway over the wine world--but for the most part, this reads like a gossip column that can't turn a decent sentence (``The others are that there are anyway enough people who love Tertre, for it is probably the only Saint-Emilion other than the top-ranking Ausone and Cheval Blanc''). Despite its moments, this autobiography is clunky, desperately self-promoting, and, at best, premature. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

One of a handful of wine communicators with an international reputation, Jancis Robinson writes daily for JancisRobinson.com (voted first-ever Wine Website of the Year in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards 2010), weekly for The Financial Times, and bi-monthly for a column that is syndicated around the world. She is also editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, co-author with Hugh Johnson of The World Atlas of Wine, co-author of Wine Grapes - A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours, each of these books recognized as a standard reference worldwide.

An award-winning TV presenter, she is invited all over the world to conduct wine events and act as a wine judge. In 1984 she was the first person outside the wine trade to pass the rigorous Master of Wine exams and in 2003 she was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen, on whose cellar she now advises.

She loves and lives for wine in all its glorious diversity, generally favouring balance and subtlety over sheer mass.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David B. Erickson on September 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you want tasting notes and rankings, pick up Robert Parker or Hugh Johnson. This is a book about a life in wine, not a book about wine.

"Tasting Pleasure" is a ramble through Jancis Robinson's ascent into the heavens of the wine world. She's been very lucky, and has supported that luck with intelligence and hard work. In other hands, this story might have been insufferable; but Robinson's greatest gift may be her ability to keep a sense of perspective while progressing from one table laden with fine bottles to the next. She is well aware of the essential frivolity of what she does for a living, and also well aware of her good fortune.

N.B.: Unless you're totally fascinated with Jancis Robinson, there are sections that are easily skippable. The book remains, even so, a worthwhile addition to your wine library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Pollard on April 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I confess to a liking for books from those who are knowledgeable when it comes to wine. Perhaps it is more correct to say books that provide me with knowledge and personal insights. Jancis Robinson's "Tasting Pleasure" is a particularly insightful look into the birth and growth of a wine connoisseur. In some respects the stars align perfectly for Ms Robinson as she rises, very quickly, from tour guide to assistant editor of the British wine trade magazine Wine & Spirit in 1975, to Master of Wine in 1984, to author and TV presenter. However it is also clear that the considerable knowledge and experience that she gained during these years contributed significantly to the evolution of her career and to her current status. She has been privileged to taste some extraordinary wines in the company of some extraordinary wine tasters; Michael Broadbent to name just one. It is easy for those of us who are unlikely to rise to such heights of pleasure to fall into the trap of dismissing such experiences as conceited ramblings. But it should be appreciated that access to such wine completes the spectrum of tasting experiences available to the connoisseur; those of us who taste the great and the near great have to be satisfied with being somehow incomplete. What is interesting is that Ms Robinson prefers to call herself a Wine Lover, that is something we can all claim to be.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Simon Doherty on April 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have been shocked to see Jancis Robinson's books and videos being slated by Americans. Maybe her European style and English stlye of writing aggrevates Americans. I found this book absolutely charming! (Then again, I am European!)It's not a guide to wine in itself but more a fascinating tale of Jancis' involvement with wine and it's producers. If you bear this in mind when you order it, you will not be disappointed. Her turn of phrase makes this the ideal book to read whilst sipping a nice glass of wine!
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "themjb" on January 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is difficult to critique a book that one should not be reading. After slogging through the 334 pages of this "diary dump", I am convinced that I am not in Jancis' target market for this particular book. I am relatively new to wine, but am developing a significant interest in it. But, I must conclude that either her target market consists of Jancis fans who want to read every word-at times I thought literally-she has jotted in her daily notes or-like the great vintage wines she describes-one cannot possible appreciate this book until one has stored it for 15 or more years.
Why, then, give it 2 stars versus 1? On the plus side, she writes well and, obviously, has a deep knowledge of and appreciation for wine. Further, there are short passages that are riveting; e.g., her tasting of a "[Thomas] Jefferson's Mouton", vintage 1787. Moreover, one does absorb an appreciation of the time and effort she puts into her work, and one (cautiously) generalizes that appreciation of wine can be-literally-a life-consuming endeavor.
On the minus side, there are the words. Often I recalled the (perhaps) apocryphal tale of Mozart's reaction to being told there were too many notes in one of his compositions. Here I caught myself wondering how in the world she managed to document all the minutiae she wrote (e.g., film production difficulties due to her pregnancy, and her husband's restaurant opening tribulations). Other times I caught myself looking at my watch as if sitting in a theater watching a movie by someone directing their life story, a rather disagreeable task on the surface. Did this book have an editor?
In sum, avoid this book in favor of one of her other fine books.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Arch on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Tasting Pleasure" is the wonderful story of a girl who combined the proverbial reporter's pad and pencil, youthful curiosity and zest for life, with a talented and trainable palette, to mold for herself an internationally recognised career and the post as the undisputed Queen of Wine. The story itself is a rather exciting one and takes the reader from Robinson's native London to the great winemaking houses of France, to the wine revolution in Mondavi's California to the established houses of Australia.
The truly wonderful aspect of this book is the rather long list of vintages and tastings that the author recants the stories of, most notably the wonderful story of her tasting of a bottle of wine from the cellar of none other than Thomas Jefferson.
Tasting pleaseure is a wonderful story of a woman's quick wit and creativity that brought about a truly amazing career and international recognition. Highly recommended.
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