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The New France: A Complete Guide to Contemporary French Wine (Mitchell Beazley Wine Guides) Hardcover – Abridged, February 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This comprehensive wine atlas leaves no centimeter of terroir unexplored. After a thorough introduction to France, French winemaking and the concept of terroir, Jefford (Wine Tastes Wine Styles) gets to the heart of the matter with lengthy chapters on each of France's 14 regions. Each of these consists of an overview of the region and its history, profiles of the area's major winemakers, a description of the land and listings and descriptions of the local wineries. Some of the latter are lengthy, while others are brief, but all include an address and phone number, making this book useful as a guidebook as well. Jefford is refreshingly opinionated: the Loire Valley is in the throes of a "long and refined stone age," while Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace is the domain "most emblematic of the New France as a whole." The effort here is encyclopedic, but the writing rises above the usual dry discussion, comparing the quest to understand Burgundy to doing crossword puzzles. Even the most matter-of-fact information is presented with a certain flair: in a description of the Rhone Valley, Jefford explains that the area's mistral wind is both destructive and useful, in that it blows away "fugs and fungal diseases." Numerous maps and photographs-including portraits of the winemakers profiled-and a full list of vintages round out this entertaining addition to its field.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A significant achievement" The Independent "A work beyond the capacity of any other wine writer in its passion, its panache, its evident sympathy with the regions, their landscape and so many of the winemakers" Harpers "There have been hundreds of books written about French wine, but none has approached the subject as originally, or as passionately" The Observer "A seriously well-researched new book for those who love France" The Scotsman" 
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Product Details

  • Series: Mitchell Beazley Wine Guides
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: MITCH (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845330005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845330002
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What's the best way to read a book about wines, producers, regions, styles, etc? Cover-to-cover? Episodically? Grab it when you want to do some research on a specific topic? In my own case, it's typically when I crawl into bed because that's about the only time I have to read about my favorite subject.
Whatever your preference, you'll want to read this book when you're in a position to pay attention because it's one of the most entertaining and instructive wine books I've seen in a long time. Jefford is a passionate advocate for non-interventionist winemaking. If anyone else has already invented this term I apologize in advance for the unwitting plagiarism, but he's also a "terroir-ist". God help the hapless winery that allows anything to interfere with the expression of the land in the wine, or commits the cardinal sin of branding. To Jefford, quoting Randall Graham of Bonny Doon, drinking a great wine should be like "shaking hands with a mountain," because you're drinking the very land where the vines grow, not the attenuated expression of a winemaker's ego.
The New France is Jeffford's paean to French winemakers who share his perspective on quality. While I don't really regard it as a book for beginners, its greatest utility comes from snapshot reviews of hundreds of producers across the major wine growing regions of France. Jefford gives them anywhere from zero to three stars to indicate their merit based on his terroir-at-all-costs preferences. So if your tastes agree with his, you'll find his capsule summaries of tremendous value.
A quick example might help make this a little clearer. Recently, one of my favorite stores, the Wine Library in Springfield, NJ, ran an ad for William Fevrre Chablis Fourcharme 1er Cru 1999 for what seemed like a very low price.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fine book, an excellent introduction to contemporary French wine. Jefford's initial discussions of "appelation" and "terroir" are profound while at the same time approachable for beginners. His use of commentary by experienced vintners helps round out the presentation. And the inclusion of "flak" sections for the major appelations gives a balance to the book's account. These sections deal with some of the various misgivings and criticisms that vintners, growers and consumers have with the regulations and the general wine-making practice. So despite the privilege Jefford accords "terroir," he presents (and sometimes even supports) arguments against its hegemony.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a sommelier in a fine dining restaurant, and while I have found this book particularly helpful, my staff seems to have some issues with it. We used it as a textbook, covering one region per week. I like that it allows me to really visualize the vineyards and understand why the wines are what they are. In the Northern Rhône section, he talks about the steep, terraced vineyards and the stiff Mistral winds... when you understand where the wine is coming from, the wine itself makes sense. For my waiters, though, it was just too much stuffing, and they were unable to extract the information that I wanted them to. Perhaps novices need something more factual and to-the-point rather than an in-depth, evocative narrative? At any rate, I strongly suggest this book as a tool to delve deeper into French wine for those who already have a broad knowledge base. It's not for the beginner though.
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Format: Hardcover
A great read and reference as to what is going on in French Wine today. Covers all the regions and introduces the reader to the regional personalities and the best producers. You gotta add this one to your wine library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You might buy this book because it's a beautiful coffee table book - the beautiful pictures and the layout...Or you might buy it because it's great for reference material.

If you love wine, simply buy it for that reason alone. It is very up-to-date, the author, no stranger to French wine, a true professional, uncovers the latest trends and troubles in the various wine regions of France. He talks with growers and vintners, producers and negociants - providing perspective from all angles.

Beyond reading the latest issue of Decanter or Wine Spectator, this is perhaps the most informative and concise manner of learning about the "now" of French wine. Like other Mitchell Beazley publications, the focus here is on the great presentation and the high level of scholarship/research/journalism. This book will nourish your curiosity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best wine writers of our time. A well traveled and engaging wine scholar and educator, Jefford's work is worth following. This book will appeal to the wine novice as well as the expert, from the traveler to France to the armchair French wine afficionado.
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Format: Hardcover
For the people like me who doesn't have any knowledge about France wines, it is the best book to start with.
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By A Customer on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
You may consider this a sad admission but I have read many books on wine. This one is truly exceptional. A practical guide produced with passion, knowledge and insight. A defense of both culture, quality and pleasure.
Mr. Jefford is civilized, understands his subject and writes extremely well.
BUY IT !
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