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Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2006 Revised Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1840009453
ISBN-10: 1840009454
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For everything there is a season, and in the world of wine the calendar is defined by bud break, fruit set, harvest, and the arrival of the latest edition of Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book. Celebrating the sale of more than 7 million copies of editions spanning a quarter century, the 2002 publication provides an updated addition to the prestigious and prolific wine writer's popular series of pocket-sized reference books. With delineated chapters--some merely a page long--Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book: 2002 follows a standard format: wine trend prognostication, a brief description of the current vintage (here the 2000 harvest), a reexamination of 1999, glossary of grape types, and food and wine matches. The book's bulk is composed of an alphabetical listing of short entries--mostly wineries--subdivided within geographical chapters. Johnson can be stylish, even witty (a lively Vernaccia pairs well with a dish of grey mullet: not the one "on the heads of aging rock stars"), but aside from the opening few pages, there's a decidedly ghostwritten feel to the proceedings. Indeed, the acknowledgments list over 40 "kind friends," including several regionally based wine writers, for their "special knowledge," most notably of some smaller producers. But for someone of Hugh Johnson's stature, to allow, once again, in the 2002 edition the Syrah grape to be identified as identical to Petite Sirah--friends, kind or not, shouldn't let friends get away with that sort of thing. --Tony Mason --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Now in its 26th year of publication, this book offers up-to-date news on more than 6,000 wines, growers and regions. With comprehensive vintage information and recommended wines for current drinking, this is the only annual wine guide anyone really needs. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book
  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley; Revised edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840009454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840009453
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,348,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have been a devotee of Hugh Johnson's Pocket Encyclopedias since the 1980's, when I was first introduced to the concept of fine wine. This pocket guide, updated every year to include information on new vineyards and vintages, is a godsend. With so many wines produced today, I need a method to distinguish among the offerings, and this is it. From the cheapest to the most expensive wine, Johnson includes a vast list in a slim, portable volume.
Without snobbery, Johnson discusses grape varieties, food pairings, and the individual character of different wine regions, from France to California to Australia - even to South Africa. While the food recommendations are more guidance than rules, they still provide a solid base for the novice. Connoisseurs will head straight to the easy to read wine listings to discover the best vintages and the characters of individual labels, as well as Johnson's overall starred ratings.
The book is small enough to fit inside a purse or jacket pocket, perfect for taking to a restaurant or wine store. If you are serious about wine, you really do need to buy an updated edition every year. People who have only a casual interest might get away with one every other year.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who appreciates fine wine or who wants to learn more about it. You won't be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
Few people have tasted enough wines and can remember them so that they can pick out the best buys when confronted with many unexpected choices. As a result, many people will purchase disappointing and overpriced wines . . . thinking they have made a good choice. Take this little guide with you, and you will soon be rewarded with much better drinking at your meals.
Obviously, the wine connoisseur who can afford to drink the best and lay in extensive stocks to age will seldom be caught out, having done great research in the past. The person who is trying to drink well on a budget will be the primary beneficiary.
Restaurants in particular often stock what they got a deal on, and may offer vintages that are not yet ready to drink or are undistinguished.
The section on foods and wines will give you some new ideas on how to more closely complement a specific meal.
If you do find yourself with a magnificent wine list in front of you (and can afford it), there's a brief list of the ultimate wines to drink in an ideal world.
The book also has directions for ideal temperatures to serve the wines, so when the sommelier asks you about preparation you can have more definite ideas.
Most of the book is divided into geographic region, winery, wine type, quality, vintage information (including which ones are ready to drink), and limited notes about specific characteristics. It's a very broad and superficial source, but takes you past what you would know without it. The advice is based on Hugh Johnson's tastings and those of over 40 friends whom he acknowledges.
Mr. Johnson also comments on the 2000 vintage, which he says was good in Bordeaux. So, you may wish to consider laying some wine away from there.
By the way, I think this book would make a marvelous gift to someone who is often treating you to rather bad wine at expensive prices. Then, you both will get a gift.
A votre sante!
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Format: Hardcover
Hugh Johnson is a voice of reason and intelligence in a world of wine marketing going mad. Valuable as Robert Parker has been in popularizing wine, educating about wine, and debunking stereotypes in famous wines that did not live up to their billing, Hugh Johnson's advice is simply more accurate, modest, and useful in acquiring good taste in wine.

The enormous American market for highly charged alcohol driven wine, largely the work of Parker's scores, which in recent years seem roughly proprotional to alcohol content, has fueled a tremendous response among wine makers, almost driving good subtle, low alcohol wine out of existence, and even in france driving up alcohol levels to a height where the untutored wine beginner can immediately taste something powerful.

The irony is, that as more of us ignorant Americans learn more about wine, and become more sophisticated, we gradually learn to appreciate the kind of wine that Parker is running out of business. Hugh Johnson seems almost wistful as he comments on the parker phenomenon, as if the cause is essentially lost, but he does not give up.

Parker's confidently precise numerical scores for wines barely out of barrel, are completely unreliable in the long run, hence are dishonest, even as he claims such great incorruptibility. Maybe he isn't being bribed to say what he says, but his ego or his marketing sense still allows him to claim virtues and high prices for wine so young no one can truly say it is going to be wonderful in 10 years.

Do you really think a bottle of 2003 latour is worth over 800 dollars? the price was set years ago by parker and his ilk, whereas in 1979 I bought a bottle of likely very superior 1970 latour for $50.
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Format: Hardcover
Hugh Johnson has become an expert in selecting wines from around the world to recommend for audiences of all types: the expert, the gourmand, the affianado, as well as to the novice wine drinker who wishes to discover what new worlds of taste and sensation await them. Hugh Johnson's book covers a wide range of information in an erudite and clear manner. His analyses run from using basic symbols such as, one wine bottle for "plain, everyday quality", two wine bottles for "above average", three wine bottles for "well known, highly reputed", four wine bottles for "grand, presigious, expensive" ... to a dark blue star representing "usually particularly good value in its class". His book delivers excellent descriptions of wines from the main wine-growing countries of the world: France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, California as well as South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. He does an admirable job of describing key wines produced in the Eastern and Central and Southeastern European countries of Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Romania and Greece. One can learn about grape varieties and the types of wine produced from them. Most importantly one can learn what type of wine to pair up with what main dish or food. Indeed this book is the most up-to-date reference on over 6,000 different wines produced around the world. Hugh JOhnson has over 25 years of experience tasting and describing wines. The fact that over 7 million copies of his "Pocket Wine Book" series havebeen sold provides ample proof of his popularity and accuracy in providing "need to know" information for the expert and budding connoissieur in this fascinating realm. Erika Borsos (erikab93)
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