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The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia: The classic reference to the wines of the world, 5th edition rev. (October 20, 2011)

book review
by Dean Tudor, www.deantudor.com

The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia: The classic reference to the wines of the world, 5th edition rev. (DK, 2011, 736 pages, ISBN 978-0-7566-8684-0, $50 US hard covers) is by prolific wine writer Tom Stevenson. The first edition was in 1988, and Stevenson has done a remarkable job in chronicling the changes over the years. The last edition was in 2007, with the same US price, but only 664 pages. Here there are 72 more pages, needed for entirely new content such as the ABC of Grape Varieties and A Chronology of Wine. Also in this new edition, he has reworked all the maps, with major changes to Greece, Romania, Israel, South Africa, North Africa and Asia. He also claims that the new Italian and United States maps have every single DOC and AVA listed.

Other updating deals with wine producers, new appellations, and recent vintage assessments. His book is arranged geographically, covering all the wine-growing areas, history and reputation. There are new useful photos. There are sections on all the factors affecting taste and quality.

Stevenson authors many profiles of important producers, giving assessments of individual wines. He also has a section on enjoying wines, including wine tasting; wine and food, star ratings, taste charts to profile flavours, flaws in wines, and vintage charts back to 1976 in general, with earlier mentions for key years. He even has some detail about regional oak varieties with illustrated close-ups of the grain. The book concludes with a glossary (Micropedia) and an extensive index. Many changes are devoted to New World wines (California, New Zealand, Australia, India, Asia).

Stevenson gives detailed coverage of the whole world and 6000 wineries are recommended; he is also a good writer. Canada gets six pages, covering 25 Ontario wineries and 23 in BC, plus Nova Scotia and Quebec, with up-to-date notes. There is an "author's choice" section which lists the best wines, with a lengthy description and aging ability. It's hard to get more comprehensive, fresh and up-to-date than this book right now.

Quality/Price Rating: 92.

 

 

 

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