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HUGH JOHNSON'S POCKET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WINE 1999 Hardcover – November 3, 1998
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Hugh Johnson is undeniably a master wine connoisseur. A long-standing member of Cambridge's Wine and Food Society, he has written an impressive array of oenological masterpieces, such as The World Atlas of Wine, How to Enjoy Wine, and his comprehensive resource, The Modern Encyclopedia of Wine. But many are knowledgeable about wine--what makes Johnson (and, by extension, his books) special is his ability to translate his wisdom into language the average wine-sipping Joe can appreciate and understand, offering a breadth and depth of information of interest to novices and experts alike.
As indicated by the title, the Pocket Encyclopedia takes all that erudition, selects the most useful and necessary tidbits, and puts it in a convenient, portable size. The slim volume contains an enormous assortment of data about wines throughout the world. For example, the California chapter starts off with a brief but savvy wine history of the region and the market, then launches into thumbnail sketches of the principal vineyard areas and a summary of the qualities and characters of recent crops (1985 to 1996 for Chardonnay, 1974 to 1996 for Cabernet Sauvignons), providing an easy and precious reference on the value of various vintages. Then come the wineries--alphabetically listed, rated with a star system (one through four), pithily revealing, for each winery, its varietals, vintages, flavor characteristics, and any other notable details--for example, a new owner or direction.
Johnson supplies the same attention to a wide range of wines from all around the world. In addition, he furnishes a lot of general information. He describes all the grape varieties (from Albariño to Zinfandel), provides a fairly inclusive guide to which wines go best with which foods, and also gives his opinion on which foods go best with certain fine wines. There's a glossary of wine terms, a chart of appropriate serving temperatures, a quick-reference vintage chart, and Johnson's own guide to "What to drink this year in an ideal world," listing his top vintage picks for 13 wine varieties.
All this in a book you can easily take to the liquor store, or even out to dinner. Comprehensive doesn't fit in a pocket guide, but Johnson provides the skinny on all the major wines you could expect to find in quality wine stores and restaurants, plus a hundred or so more obscure wineries that ship only to private orders. It's all most people need to know. --Stephanie Gold
Dan Berger Los Angeles Times Still the benchmark guide...offering sage advice for wine-lovers.
The Wine Spectator An indispensable guide that distills a library of useful and amazingly up-to-date information into its pages.
Newsweek Perhaps the only guide to wine that anyone really needs.
The Sunday Times (London) A slim, data-packed little weapon...all the names are in there from Apremont to Warre -- what they are, what to do with them, best vintages -- all at your fingertips when you need them.
The New York Times The classic work in the quick-reference field...the prototype for all others.
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1. For some strange reason the main entry for a searched term is not listed in the search results. For example, a search for "Bandol" returns 8 hits, but the main entry on Bandol is not included in the search results. There is a main entry on Bandol that can be reached by going to one of these 8 entries where Bandol is hyperlinked.
2. The terms that have main entries are not always hyperlinked. Based on the example above, a link to the main entry Bandol can only be found in one or two of the 8 places where the term is mentioned, but you don't know which so you have to open them one by one.
3. The iPhone app can perform searches without requiring accented letters, but the Kindle Cloud reader cannot. If you are looking for Begude you will find it on the iphone but not in Kindle Cloud reader and that is because of the accented "e". I can't even type that character here because I don't use a french keyboard...
4. Search results are listed in the order the term appears in the book; they should be listed in the order of relevance, with the main entry for the term listed first, if one exists.
I think all these are issues of the Kindle search engine and not of the book itself.
Now Oz does not seem to do it any longer.
So Hugh Johnson has the best pocket wine guide in the world.
its been around for many years and the updates are sensible.