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Real Wine: The Rediscovery of Natural Winemaking Hardcover – December 10, 2000
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Excellent ... Matthews' latest work is well-written and researched and full of clear-headed opinions. The book is extremely topical. -- Richard Neill, Daily Telegraph (London) October 14, 2000
Intriguing and irritating in equal parts, like Matthews' first book The Wild Bunch. -- Jasper Morris, The Vine, December 2000
One terrific read... Matthews' book gets closer to the reality of today's wine business than most. -- Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, August 31, 2001
Portraits of some truly revolutionary winemakers. -- Food and Wine, December, 2000
[O]ne of the most fascinating wine books I have read in recent years. -- Christine Austin, Yorkshire Post, England, October 7, 2000
About the Author
Patrick Matthews' first wine book 'The Wild Bunch -- great wines from small producers' (Faber) won the 1998 Glenfiddich award. His second book 'Cannabis Culture' (Bloomsbury) has been critically acclaimed. He writes for Decanter magazine and has contributed to Saveur and Food and Wine.
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As a piece of reportage this work is interesting and informative. But for the winemaker it offers little more than name-dropping and a gloss over the challenges of growing great wines.
The author tells an engaging well-researched story with a provocative point of view. On the flip side, while I appreciate his taking a stand, he comes off with an almost blind hero-worship of all things French. A reflection of this is his belief that great wine is only made in limestone soils. The counter-examples to this are endless, including many of the best wines in the New World, Rochioli vineyard comes to mind. But while I might occasionally disagree with minor points, the author's advocacy of "natural wine" is compelling.
In the midst of fascinating personal anecdotes the author manages to let readers in on the internal debates surrounding great wine, revealing the artistic and philosophical quandaries that the wine world faces today. This is a great book for anyone who loves wine
In the late 1990s, there has been a revival of natural methods that counter the industrial approach to winemaking. This book is centered on the tension between approaches to making wine that are used in the old world and new world. To illustrate this tension, this book focuses is mainly on California, where where is currently a swing back to more natural methods where there is currently a swing back to more natural methods although winemakers use both approaches. Some of the topics covered include: What is the role of terroir (site selection) in making wine? How do you choose which grapes to grow? How does one go about planting the vineyard? What makes some wine 'good' and some wine 'bad'?
Matthews' book is thought-provoking. It is well worth buying if you are interested in wines and winemaking and some of the tradeoffs that winemakers are making in their search for wine that embodies the soul of the earth from which the grapes grow.