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The World Atlas of Wine Hardcover – July 28, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Hardcover, July 28, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The World Atlas of Wine is something of a dream-team production. The names Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson alone recommend any book on which they appear. The fifth edition (in 30 years) of this astonishingly successful book lives up to, and surpasses, its predecessors. In 350 densely packed but never clotted pages the authors manage the extraordinary feat of characterizing wine production throughout the world, from Vancouver Island to Japan--Buddhists first planted vines in that inhospitably precipitous, monsoon-lashed land over a 1,000 years ago. After a substantial introductory section dealing with the history of wine, its making, storage, and enjoyment, we're off. Starting with (where else?) France and Burgundy, each wine area is summarized in terms of its geography, climate, and preferred vines and the appellations, laws, and traditions that govern production. The discussion of Pomerol, for example, tells you a great deal in one short page. Even since 1994, when the fourth edition came out, vast changes have swept the wine world, and many parts of the atlas have been correspondingly completely reworked. South America, Canada, Southern France, Italy, Greece, Eastern Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean are among the areas that have benefited. The regional maps that form the core of the book are a triumph of clarity. The whole production constitutes a brilliant achievement of organization and synthesis, forming an indispensable resource for any wine lover at all interested in where the wine they drink comes from and why it tastes the way it does. --Robin Davidson, Amazon.co.uk

From Booklist

The turn of the year means another vintage of wine has been laid down in the world's cellars, and people await the verdict on the latest crop. Now, more than ever, connoisseurs look for the particular qualities imparted to wines by the soils where the grapes matured. Hugh Johnson's The World Atlas of Wine has been the recognized authority in the geographic study of wine for more than 30 years. Now Jancis Robinson has joined forces with Johnson for the book's fifth edition. Recent years have seen the growth of first California and lately Australian, Chilean, and South African entries into world markets. High-quality, detailed topographic maps form the atlas' backbone, and increasing use of color has only increased their effectiveness. Western Europe remains the book's focus, but it still has worldwide coverage. Food and wine collections can scarcely afford to miss this new volume. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: World Atlas of
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley; 5 Revised edition (July 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840006994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840006995
  • ASIN: 1840003324
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.5 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Putting the brilliant wine writers Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson together to update the 4th edition of Hugh Johnson's classic work was an inspired choice. Each is superb on her or his own. Together, they are stunning in this, their first collaboration!
Whether you want to give a wonderful gift or simply to have a great wine reference, this book is an outstanding choice. The World Atlas of Wine will deepen your pleasure in wines you enjoy, and guide you to wonderful visits to outstanding vineyards and wineries during your travels. Hopefully, your tasting experiences will benefit as a result!
If you do not know the predecessor works, let me describe the book's layout. It begins with brief sections on the history of wine; basic facts about the influence of soil, temperature, varietals, wines, wine-making, storage, serving, and tasting; and has helpful information about how to read labels and interpret technical terms.
The heart of the book comes in individual essays about wine-growing regions around the world. These are very complete. France has 58 sections, Italy has 18, Germany shares 14, the United States is covered by 12, Spain is represented by 8, Australia has 7, Portugal has 6. Many other countries are covered as well, including parts of the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, North Africa, South America, and smaller countries in Europe.
Each individual wine-growing region is organized around an updated map. For this 5th edition, 148 maps were redrawn from the 4th, and 30 new maps were added. These maps show where the major wineries are, different vineyards, qualities of grapes, altitudes, major roads, and locations is cities within the area. In some cases, these maps are also supplemented by detailed examples of soil differences and temperature gradients.
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Format: Hardcover
If you subscribe to the notion that information is the key to a deep understanding of a subject, then this is where anyone who has ever enjoyed a glass of wine should be.
I've got a large collection on wine-related books and I find that the World Atlas of Wine is the one I turn to the most. I won't go so far as to say it renders the other's irrelevant -- the Wine Bible is also quite good, and several books on have that are more narrowly focused on specific countries or regions are essential to me -- but this is the one that explains the most about more subjects.
It should not be surprising: Hugh Johnson has produced four editions of the book before this one, and the addition of the wonderful Jancis Robinson just solidifies the Atlas' place atop of the heap of wine literature. This great looking and easy-to-read book is pleasing in so many ways: its delightful photos and large format make it a great coffee table book; the detailed maps and region-by-region explanations make it a good travel companion; and the text's lively anecdotes and density of information virtually make the volume a thrilling page-turner. It is at once accessible enough for beginners and informative enough for experts.
No, it is not perfect. As with any comprehensive wine book, some will complain that certain remote (and perhaps up-and-coming) wine producing regions have been left out or glossed over. And despite improvements from previous editions (thanks to Ms. Robinson, I believe), there is still some of the crusty and old-fashioned wine lingo that often intimidates the uninitiated.
So with what amount to only minor caveats, I wholeheartedly recommend the World Atlas of Wine. Get it and you will never feel the same about the wine you drink again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The "World Atlas of Wine" lives up to its title as a definitive guide to the world's wine growing regions. The maps range in scale from all of Bordeaux down to individual communes such as St-Estephe and Pauillac, with major co-ops and estates clearly indicated. The maps are so detailed they could be used in lieu of Michelin to drive from La Chapelle in Hermitage to Vieux Telegraphe in Chateauneuf du Pape. With the text, I could probably lead a guided tour. Although France is given pride of place, California, Spain, Italy, South America and Australia are also well covered.
But the book's far more than just a set of geo-political maps of wine regions. It's also full of geological information about soil, consumption, production, etc. It really is an atlas. And the writing is quite a bit less dry and "objective" than your usual "atlas"; Johnson and Robinson are both fantastic wine writers. I also found the reproduced labels most instructive.
Every other book on wines has left me wishing for better maps, including the Oxford Companion to Wine edited by Jancis Robinson. Now I read them with the "World Atlas of Wine" at my side. I only wish I could order the maps as posters.
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Format: Hardcover
Plenty of people enjoy wine solely for its taste--and they're entitled to. But they're missing an awful lot. Wine isn't merely a drink but a whole world of people, places, history and culture, and those are things most wine drinkers remember far longer than taste. For them, this new edition--the fifth--of Hugh Johnson's wine atlas (first published in the 1970s) will be a treasure. It now has a co-author in Jancis Robinson, who is Britain's high priestess of wine. Maybe that description is a little intimidating; what I mean is that she know a tremendous amount about wine, and what I want most of all to convey is that she shares her knowledge and enjoys sharing it. She'd rather inform than impress; she wants you to have as good a time as she does. And she and Johnson have given you, in this book, a passport for that purpose.
This book gives you noting less than the whole world of wine on the printed page. There are maps, of course, maps beyond counting of the fabled wine regions of France and of the stunning wine regions of Italy, surely the most beautiful of wine countries as well as the sources of many of the greatest bargains. Wine's New World is well represented too: the U.S., which is no surprise (and Canada, which to many people is) as well as Chile and Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, and South Africa. Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and the former Soviet Republics are covered--they're making comebacks after years of awful "socialist wine-making" under Communism. And the list goes on. Even Japan and England are here--they do, after all, make more than sake and beer.
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