The Only Wine Guide You Will Need
By Jancis Robinson & Linda Murphy
University of California Press, $50.00, 288 pages
Large-scale wine production is fairly new in the United States, compared to the vineyards in Europe. Although English immigrants, Spanish missionaries and Franciscan monks all brought vine cuttings when they settled in the United States, poor climate and disease made the success of the vines difficult. Not until the 1800s was there the first commercially successful winery in Ohio. But when Italian and French immigrants settled in Northern California, vineyards really started to blossom into successful vines and tasty wines. Now, almost everywhere in the United States has been successful in growing the vines. Beyond history, American Wine covers just about any topic related to wine: grape varieties, reading the label and viticultural areas. Following all this information, the book is divided into regions: The West, The Southwest, The Midwest, The Southeast and the Northeast. The book is loaded with hundreds of photos, detailed maps and the American Viticultural areas (AVA) in each region. For example, California is a vast area and has numerous AVAs. Each AVA is explained and photos of the various wine labels are displayed. I especially like the AVA snapshot, where the authors share acreage numbers, most planted varietals, trailblazers, steady hands, superstars and even ones to watch.
This book will easily satisfy the newbie to the connoisseur. The stunning photos with the detailed maps will educate and interest every reader. Wine-making has evolved in the United States and any wine lover will be interested in all the complexities of winemaking from historical influences to modern-day techniques.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff