If you think of Australian wines and just Shiraz and Chardonnay come into your mind and the one wine you want to try is the Penfolds Grange then you can easily ignore this book and the rest of the article.
The author Darby Higgs is a wine enthusiast based in Melbourne who is responsible for running vinodiversity.com, a great database for australian varietals. The printed edition is based on the data from 2010.
Listed are over 130 diffrenent grape varieties that are not widely grown in Australia. With a short description of each comes a detailed list of wineries growing each particular variety.
The second part is a listing of all wine regions including the smalles sub regions with detailed listing of relevant wineries.
The third part gives a list of each winery with their wine growing regions and grape varieties.
Yes, this is a book taken directly from a database!
Interesting grape varieties included:
1893, an unidentified white planted in 1893.
Petit Meslier, one of the lesser Champagne grapes.
Saint Macaire, an obscure Bordeaux red variety not to be found in France.
Unfortunately most of the wines listed will never find their way to Germany but if I should make a wine tasting trip Down Under, this book would be on the top of my list.
Can be found for 19€ at Amazon (Price of 5.2014).
Every year the same wine guides for french wines try to help the french consumers to choose their wines. Structurally and contentwise quite similar are the „Le Guide des meuilleurs vins de France“, published by Frances influential wine magazine La Revue du vin de France and its direct competitor, Le Guide Bettane & Dessauve des vins de France, ironically published by the late publishers of the Le Guide des meuilleurs vins de France. Both publications concentrate on the wineries that they deem the best of France. Their new wines are noted and rated and the wineries introduced. That makes both books quite similar. New editions of the same books don’t have much new information to offer. Seldom new wineries. A more wine orientated view is shared by Le Guide Hachette des Vins, where smaller, unknown wineries have a chance of publication with maybe one or two good wines. Other publications have had difficulties entering this tight and conservative market, even big names like „Gault & Millau“ had to fly the white flag after a couplew of years. Thats why I like to see new wine guides with new concepts.
The Book : „Guide des vins en biodynamie“ edited by Évelyne Malnic, has seen its third edition. The concenpt is simple: The best wines from certified biodynamic wineries in France and the French-speaking part of Swiss. A new feature I have not seen before is an extensive oenological description of the wine, including grape variy, terroir, yields, age of vines, vine treatments and all other work that has been done in vineyard and cellar. Residual suagrs and free sulphur is given as well. 21 Somelliers from the Normandie have tasted 487 wines from 136 wineries and rated them as well. Some of the widely known wineries were Château Climens, Marcel Deiss, Domaine Leroy. The majoritiy of wineries were unknown to me.
The book „Le Guide de L’Alter-Vin, 133 vignerons hors du commun“ by Laurent Baraou & Monsieur Septime has been published in August 2012 but has not come to my attention till I saw it last november in a big book store in Lille. The book is seen as a collection of portraits of avantgarde winemakers. The Authors compare the winemakers to the young artists like Picasso, Manet, and Cézanne, who could not exhibit there work at the famous Paris Salon. Later the Salon lost its prestige and importance while the artists came to be famous and influential. A lot of members of the vin naturel movement are included. Others completely ignore the AOC regulations and bottle thier wines as Vin de France. But also Winemakers from unknown regions like Domaine Lelièvre from the Lorraine are included. To qualify as a wine guide both authors give a small description of their favourite wine from each winery.
Both books enliven the french wine book scene, i hope to see new editions in years to come.