Wine Report 2004
reviewed by Dean Tudor (February 9, 2004)
Wine Report 2004 (Dorling Kindersley, 2003, 384 pages, ISBN 0-7894-9630-5,
$23 paper covers) is edited by Tom Stevenson, also author of the New
Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia and a book on Champagne (which he is generously
giving away for free via the Internet).
This Wine Report is in its first edition as an annual; its success
will ensure that there will be another next year. It is a totally different
book from the normal guide or basic wine book. The book reports on what
happened during the previous 12 months. It will never go out of date,
so hang onto your copy.
The Wine Report is a sort of insider's guide to the world of wine,
with the latest data from each wine region, plus tips on recent vintages
and on your wine investments. There are sections for new wine finds, bargains,
the latest harvests, wine science, and the greatest wines. The contents
are arranged by country and region within, with local experts (each credited,
and with a photo). Many have MWs. Writers include David Peppercorn on
Bordeaux, Clive Coates on Burgundy, Nicholas Belfrage on Italy, Julian
Jeffs on Sherry, John Platter on South Africa, Dan Berger on California,
and our own Tony Aspler on Canada.
Each writer gets several pages for each region, and conveys an assessment
of recent vintages and hard-hitting opinions, followed by key top ten
type lists of the greatest wine producers, the fastest-improving producers,
up-and-coming producers, best-value producers, greatest quality, best
bargains, and "Most exciting or unusual finds." There are 40
contributors in all, which is the only way to write up something as comprehensive
as this Wine Report. No one writer can keep abreast of it all and
still offer a book at a decent price.
Other textual matters within each region are topics concerning personnel
changes, mergers and acquisitions, new appellations, new wine laws, legal
cases, new wines and changes and new vintages. Local prices of origin
are also given, which is a boon (compare them to the Canadian or LCBO
prices). There is also a large, useful section on resource tools (also
written by individuals) which deals with organic wines, grape varieties,
wine auctions, viticulture, and wine on the web (Tom Cannavan).
Some suggestions for improvement: an annual review (after a recap)
of the existing book and magazine literature, email addresses for the
What I don't like about this book: some minor typos, such as QVA
for VQA, and et all for et al (unless that was meant to
be a joke), and "2003" was given at one point for 2002. Also,
many of the contributors' photos are murky.
What I do like about this book: I don't think that there is a better
wine book out there for the wine professional or sommelier, especially
since just about everything in this book is NEW and promises to keep one
fully informed and up to date.
Quality/Price Ratio: 98 please buy this book to ensure next