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The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson

The tenth edition of this book came out late last year, and I gave myself a copy for Christmas. The cover price is £50, but it is much cheaper on Amazon.

The previous World Wine Atlas on my shelf was the fifth edition, published in 2001. Apart from the price, the size has also increased, by 64 pages to 416. All regions have more text and maps, but the biggest proportional increases have been for South America, South Africa, the Black Sea region and Asia (especially China). These have all become important producing countries in the last decade.

The display of wine labels, prominent in early editions of the Atlas, has now disappeared, and there are few mentions of individual wineries, except in the rapidly developing areas. There are so many good producers these days that you need to consult the equally massive Wine Behind the Label (11th edition £79) to work out the distinctions between them.

Let’s take one example. Greece managed a two-page entry in 2001, it now warrants four pages, with a new map of the Peleponnese region. As with all the entries, there is a summary box showing climate and varieties grown. The vineyard areas are more clearly described than in the earlier book, and most mention of individual producers, with the wine labels, has been removed.

For anyone interested in the geographical background to wine, this is an essential tool.

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