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A Wine Journey along the Russian River Hardcover – September 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Heimoff, West Coast editor of Wine Enthusiast, knows far more about California wine, how it's made and those who make it than the average wine buff. His meandering tour of Sonoma County's wine world along the Russian River in 2003 is not for bargain-bin devotees. Heimoff's wine descriptions are tantalizing, and he includes a useful list of recommended wines and producers for those looking to develop knowledge of the region. His reportage on the development of certain grapes in the area, such as Alexander Valley's cabernet sauvignon and Russian River Valley's pinot noir, is nicely balanced between anecdotal and factual. And his descriptions of encounters with prominent growers and vintners, some of which include photos, are particularly enjoyable. However, densely detailed prose intended to include readers in the author's travels along the river is occasionally superfluous and distracting (e.g., "The sun was getting hot on my head, so I put on a baseball cap"). Those with a casual interest in wine can certainly benefit from Heimoff's intensive exploration of Sonoma County, but full appreciation for this carefully researched paean to the geological richness, colorful history and continuously evolving wines of the area is reserved for true wine aficionados, committed viticulturists and curious local historians. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

“Entertaining and well written, this comprehensive look at a very important wine region provides the sweep of history and personal portraits of the key players. “—Anthony Dias Blue, author of Anthony Dias Blue’s Pocket Guide to Wine

"The ultimate achievement for any wine is to express its place of origin. And tasting that "place" in a wine is the ultimate turn-on for any wine lover. Steve Heimoff has done a most excellent job of capturing the intrigue of the Russian River region and of making its wines come alive. For anyone who's passionate about California wines, this book is a must read."—Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520239857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520239852
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
. . . . which flows into the Pacific Ocean north of San Fransisco, is a marvelously varied strip of wine country. The river itself, as author Steve Heimoff makes clear, cuts its way through many different wine areas, and so this geographical feature--rather than winemaking itself--constitutes the unifying theme of the book.

This book which is filled with the sense of place, could be just another great American travelogue. But contrary to expectation, Heimoff abandons the river for a chapter on clones and the politics of American Viticultural Areas.

Now before your eyes glaze over, I have to agree with Heimoff that the business of creating new grape varieties and cloning them may be at the heart of the improvement in American wine for the next several decades. He is one of the first popular wine writers to recognize this and explain it all in layman's terms.

These two achievements-making the region come alive and explaining the mystery of the clones, make this a must-read for developing students and lovers of wine.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James N. Ellis on August 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steve Heimoff has written a wine book, a geology text, and a history lesson all in one volume. A superb treatment of several complex subjects, he writes with an intense love of his subjects....and has obviously spent an enormous amount of time researching each facet of it. It should be a must for anyone interested in California wine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sitting in Seattle on July 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a delightful book that brings Sonoma County, its wines, and winemakers to life. Heimoff is one of the fairest and most influential wine critics publishing today (Wine Enthusiast, his own blog), yet he is never pretentious. In this book, as in so many of his columns, he simply expresses the joy of wine, its place, and its people.

The book's story arc involves an intermittent canoe trip down the Russian River. Along the way, Heimoff describes the geology, the land, the vineyards, wines, winemakers, and a bit of history. It made the Russian River Valley seem much more personal, and inspired me to visit some of the producers I had missed before. I also dream of following a similar trip and seeing places such as the Rochioli vineyard from the river.

One of the best passages in the book features winemakers doing a blind tasting of their own wines. I won't describe the results, but they were educational and amusing ... and I often read two of the key paragraphs when I host wine tastings wine friends.

If you enjoy Sonoma wines and would like to understand more about their place and producers, this is a wonderful book.
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