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The New Spain (September 23, 2004)

book review
by Dean Tudor

The New Spain (Mitchell Beazley, 2004; distr. by McArthur, 224 pages, ISBN 1-84000-928-4, $50) is a second edition, by John Radford, a UK wine writer who specializes in Spanish wines. The first edition was published in 1998, and of course, there have been enormous changes in the past six years. The current book reflects those changes, and it has been largely rewritten.

This is one of a series from Mitchell Beazley, the "New" series, following on The New France and The New Italy. "New" Spain generally began with EU entry, and this led to a major revision of Spanish wine laws in 2003 (included in the book, of course).

Most recent changes emphasize the movement of major bodegas into minor wine growing areas, such as Marques de Grinon and Osborne in Malpica, Gonzalez-Byass at Finca Otero, Martinez in La Mancha. They use both international and indigenous grape varieties, and newer methods of viticulture and vinification. If the demand is there, then they will produce wine, albeit a wine for the export North American market.

Radford goes into soil types, vineyard classification, labels, and grape varieties. His book has 150 colour photos and maps, as well as many websites and email addresses for the regions and producers. He stresses that the reader can always go over to the website for more details and for more up-to-date information. This allows him to have more space to include more wineries.

As it is, he has thumbnail profiles of producers (with hard facts such as hectares, date established, grapes used, general quality of wine). Additional data here includes a glossary, statistics of vineyards and production, plus an index to mainly proper names. This is a very stylish, well-put together book.

Audience and level of use: useful as a gift book or travel book, and for Spanish wine lovers, wine agents, government monopolies, wine schools.
Some interesting or unusual facts: Terra Alta has not really changed since the 1998 edition, although big things were predicted and expected in the forecast for improvement.
What I don't like about this book: no real TNs
What I do like about this book: there colour coded tabs for each of the seven broad regions.
Quality/Price Ratio: 90

 

 

 

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