Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

Maybe I’m sending coals to Newcastle giving this big book a big thumb’s up. I’d like to think anyone with a mild passing interest in wine has got this book. Possible naivity aside, you really should consider the pleasure to be had from the recent new 5th Edition, largely edited by Julia Harding MW after previous ones had been the several bibliographical if not bibulous babies of Jancis Robinson MW. And if it’s not your glass of wine or cup of tea, it’s a great gift to wine freaks who have not yet got it. For me, it’s simply the best wine book; definitely the reference book for wine reference. And good value – the new edition has broken the million-word record.

A number of people ask me what ‘level’ the text is at. And stories abound of some serious wine fans’ horror at both ends of the Bamboozle scale when it comes to in-depth coverage of any subject. There’s the cringe from a mass of technical wine science when you have no motivation to learn wine science, but just want know how to judge good wine and learn more about the places it comes from. And there’s the other wine book cringe when you suddenly find yourself wallowing in the cognitive quicksand of books on wine written by historians of minutiae and trivia, a level of detail often too dense and showing off. So be reassured neither of those pitfalls await you in this wine book. The style is lucid to a fault, quite digestible to the curious educated reader who wants to know stuff. It’s brilliant for those taking wine exams as a work of reference, not just because of the information but because its constant cross-references to other entries help students think about the common and the different in the wine world and why such things are so. It’s also up to date, with myriad new entries in case you have the 4th edition or earlier. And many entries, some 65%, have been re-written to take on new developments.

For more information about the book and its gestation, see https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/oxford-companion-wine-5th-edition-has-landed And from mid 2024 the searchable full text will be on https://www.jancisrobinson.com/ for the price of an annual sub. Two birds with one stone – the best wine site and the best wine book – good value indeed.

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