Books for the wine lover on your list – Nov 30, 2013 By Anthony Gismondi

Ita��s time to get serious about those holiday gift lists, so I thought we would kick off December with some books that would interest the wine drinker on your list. You may want to consider pairing your book with an appropriate wine to bring it to life.

Ita��s been an excellent year or two for wine books so leta��s start with the king and queen of wine, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. One of the first and most meaningful books is Johnsona��s The World Atlas of Wine, first published in 1971. About 4.5 million copies later, The World Atlas of Wine 7th edition by Johnson and Robinson is out in 16 languages. Johnson and Robinson have co-written the last three editions, the most recent of which sells for $35.There are 215 maps in the new editions, from coastal Croatia, Khaketi in Georgia, Canterbury in New Zealand, Swartland in South Africa, Northern Virginia in the U.S., and Ningxia in China. Nearly 42 years after it was first published, this book is still among the top-10 required texts for wine drinkers.

Not new in 2013 but timeless and current as of November 2012 is the definitive book on grapes, Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours, by Jancis Robinson for $122. This is the one that stops all the arguments about which grapes are grown where and where they originated.

The book I most enjoyed reading this year was Postmodern Winemaking: Rethinking the Modern Science of an Ancient Craft, $32, by Clark Smith, a winemaker for Diamond Ridge Vineyards and his WineSmith Cellars. Smith consults with hundreds of winemakers, is an adjunct professor at Fresno State University and lectures widely on wine chemistry fundamentals. The book covers a wide range of hot-button winemaking topics and the many choices available to the post-modern winemaker in pursuit of making what few do: complex wines. Ita��s a must read for budding sommeliers, winemakers and for those interested in the science of wine.

I enjoyed spending some time with Stephan Reinhardt this year in Napa Valley and it reinforced what I already liked about his studious and comprehensive book, The Finest Wines of Germany: A Regional Guide to the Best Producers and Their Wines, $27. In a world gone mad about Riesling, Reinhardt does a terrific job of exploring the masters of Riesling and the famed sites behind many of Germanya��s best wines.

My Favorite Burgundies, $39.50, by Clive Coates looks at his favourite Burgundy estates, complete with nifty, detailed maps, plenty of new tasting notes and a wealth of insider information. Coates has covered Burgundy for more than 40 years, written two comprehensive bibles and steadfastly reviewed wines for decades in that classic tight-lipped English style.

Books with a local connection begin with Had a Glass 2013: Top 100 Wines Under $20, by James Nevison for $14.40. The annual value wine guide is put together by James Nevison, wine commentator for The Province. The book is focused on wines under $20 and more important, bottles you are likely to see in local government stores. Ita��s a useful stocking stuffer, to say the least.

I should say something about Hugh Johnsona��s Pocket Wine Book 2014, $10, with fair notice that I was the Canadian editor. I kicked and shouted and managed to get a line or two on 30 Canadian wineries, bringing the Canadian content to a full two-page spread. The 37th edition is the ultimate compact guide. Ita��s a great book for beginners, and there is invaluable vintage information from experts around the world.
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