- File Size: 550 KB
- Print Length: 199 pages
- Publisher: Uncle Seth Cutler Press; 2 edition (July 20, 2011)
- Publication Date: July 20, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005CRQ69A
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,025 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Shepard's Guide to Mastering French Wines Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
"Shepard's Guide to Mastering French Wines is a very valuable guide to all sorts of French wines. From Bordeaux to Burgundy, he carefully looks at quality wines from each region. The guide is practical, too, saving me money, with dozens of fine suggestions for wines that I enjoy. Shepard also has a keen eye for bargains - good wines that are not well known, or wines that are overshadowed by their more pricy neighbors. It is a pleasure during this holiday season to learn as well that France produces excellent sparkling wines, at one-third the cost of their champagnes. The seasons count here, with light wines for summer enjoyment, and heartier Madirn and Cahors wines for the winter.
For those planning a trip to France, the author gives suggested itineraries throughout the French wine regions. There are even imbedded e-mails to wine estates, for you to arrange your tasting appointments before you even leave home! Add to that the dozens of hyperlinks, which take you directly from the book to, and you have a very helpful guide wine property web sites - and one that is up to date.
This is the best wine book I ever read, everyone who love French Wine should have one.
First the name of the book implies a mastery of the French wine of today and clearly does not deliver in so many ways. Mr. Shepard seems like a nice person with some wonderful memories of time spent in some of the best wine producing areas in the world but most of the information in this book you could get from books published in the mid 1980's and these would be about as relevant and up to date. I will say the websites are new, but Mr. Shepard totally ignores the grower movement all over France where though advances in technology and an overall stronger commitment to quality, small growers are choosing to make and bottle their own wines instead of selling to the big houses.
Along the same lines the focus of this book is way too narrow. More than 60% of this book is on Bordeaux. Though Bordeaux is important it is one area of many. There is only a passing glance at the very important areas of Alsace and the Loire and nothing at all about the wine of the Provence, Ventoux, the Languedoc, and the Roussillon and I could go on. There are great and affordable wines coming from all these places and more.
Even in the areas covered like the Rhone, Champagne, Beaujolais, and Burgundy only the big old houses are dealt with at all. That is a shame because in all these regions the best and most exiting wines are coming from small growers and individual estates. This wine used to be sold in bulk to the big houses and blended together to make their cuvees, well if they're not getting the best wines for blending any more what do you think is happening to these cuvees. The modern focus in French wines, and all imported wine for that matter, is on the Importers, who find and bring these small estates to market, not the big Branded houses. I would like to single out Mr. Shepard's treatment of Beaujolais; his advice is just get the wines from Duboeuf, who does make some good to very good wines but in very much a house style, so that is like advising you to eat only one flavor of ice cream. There are a lot of other producers making fantastic wine that you would miss.
I also find this book reeks of privilege and classism; most of the wines the author spends any time on are well out of the average reader's price range and completely out of the range for experimenting and learning your likes and dislikes. To state that all village level Chablis and Petit Chablis is not worth even a glance is arrogant and just not accurate. I am happy for Mr. Shepard, that he and his family have had the opportunities for unforgettable travel, the chance to try some of the world's greatest and rarest wines, and rubbing elbows with the wine elite, but spending so much of the book on this is just bragging.
Lastly the editing of this book is incredibly bad. From misspelled words, the wrong words used, missing lines of texts, to doubled lines of text, all speak to the lack of actual text editing but the worst is the real editing. In several chapters Mr. Shepard will in this book start a thought on a subject and so distract himself with anecdotes he will never finish the thought and the reader is left wondering if they missed a page. There is a story about spending a rainy afternoon in the kitchen with vineyard workers told no less than four times, in this book, with no point what so ever.
So no, I would not recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about what is happening in the world of French wine today. This book is about wines you will never taste and people you will never meet. A small word on wine critics read what they say and you taste the wines, if what they write and what you think about what you are tasting are close than you know where you stand, if not read someone else, and by all means ignore the numbers.
p.s. I find it kind of funny that of the 7 other reviewers less than half have even bought the book. Seems it's great if you haven't read it.
I saved the cost of this book with my first wine purchase, and so will you! I enjoy wines, but had found the world of French wines confusing. I wanted to know more, without getting bogged down in winespeak. "Shepard's Guide to Mastering French Wines" is very well organized and helpful. Not everyone knows what all those different classifications mean, for example, and Shepard explains them all in a user friendly way. I like his many personal anecdotes. They put the reader clearly in the picture, whether it is Bordeaux's pricey estates, or the back routes of the French interior in search of good bottles of inexpensive regional wines.
There is a good balance between Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and other famous wine regions. I like it that his recommendations for inexpensive wines do not include cheap ones, such as Petit Chablis, which the French themselves admit is not worth its cost. And Shepard describes routes to the wine properties, in case the reader wants to plan his own trip. He also inserts hyperlinks to wine properties, plus in many cases e-mails, so that you can plan your trip and communicate directly with the wine property. I'll be consulting this clear and helpful guide for years to come!