Wine Talk

Snooth User: Diego Andrés Díaz

Looking for some advice on books

Posted by Diego Andrés Díaz, Feb 2, 2014.

Hi fellow Snoothers, I'm thinking in buying the Oxford Companion to Wine, They have it in my local library and I really like it. It's a totally enciclopedic book. However, It's the 1999 edition. 

There's a more recent edition(2006) but it's out of my budget. So i was wondering how out of date can be that book. How much the wine world has change in 15 years?


Reply by zufrieden, Feb 2, 2014.

Alas, I have an even older version (1994), but the basic information remains germane for the majority of purposes.  It is expensive, but the shelf life is probably about 20-25 years.  If you keep abreast of the more recent developments in the wine industry the passage of the years will not be so much a problem.

Jancis Robinson was the editor and made significant contributions to the Oxford Companion (and she is an alumna of Oxford herself, being a mathematics graduate).  If you follow her reviews and generally agree with her palate, you will enjoy your Oxford Companion to Wine all the more.

In summary, I find the 1994 edition very useful indeed.  It also provides some old signposts from the past that you will enjoy as years pass.  The world of wine has changed much in the last 20 years since I bought my copy (which weighs many kilos), but I still find it useful in studying the more traditional and timeless aspects of wine appreciation.

I believe you can make such an investment for 20 years in the same way I believe that Geo. Saintsbury's Notes on a Cellar-book will be entertaining for many generations to come.


Reply by GregT, Feb 2, 2014.

I agree.

That said, the wine world has changed drastically in the last 15 years, probably more than in the prior fifty. Wine is being produced in places that weren't even thought about years ago, and it's better all the time. Grapes have become "common" that were once little-known, and the wine world has fragmented so much that it's just not possible to be a "master" of wine any more. Germany is making single-vineyard dry wines, California is making Tempranillo, Washington and California are making excellent Syrah, Britain is making good sparkling wine, Michigan (!) is making good Blaufrankish, Patagonia is making credible Pinot Noir, and those are pretty recent developments.

Still, for much of the wine world, the older version should be OK. If you can get it at a good price, go for it.

Reply by JenniferT, Feb 4, 2014.

Wow I never would have guessed that Jancis R. Is a mathematics grad, from Oxford no less. I love such surprises! I've also noticed that many people in the wine world have really diverse and interesting backgrounds. Impressive by my books. 

I'd get the older edition If I had the chance to pick one up cheaply. It's a great reference either way.



Reply by Diego Andrés Díaz, Feb 4, 2014.

Thanks to all of you for your advice.  I'm definitively going to buy that book. 

Also, I agree with Jeniffert, I feel that in the wine world there are a lot of room for non-pros. The wine allures people of so many backgrounds. I just love that!!

Reply by clippingpath, Feb 5, 2014.

I agree with Jeniffert, It's not a pros.

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 5, 2014.

Wine connoisseurship is indeed a most enduring and exemplary form of pure amateur bliss.  Those that can make money in the business of reviewing wine are not necessarily superior to you in taste (which is of necessity highly personal, and being a North American of early pioneer stock, I cheer the idea of the individual), they simply give you some signposts that you can pay for or no.

There are many, many anonymous appreciators of wine (and art, literature etc.) whose honed and educated sense of quality contribute to our better sensibility of things.

Embrace your adventuresome spirits and learn from the community what you might enjoy as well as teach the informed about changing tastes. 




Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 9, 2014.

If you have an up to date IPad, the newest edition of the World Atlas of Wine is 12.99 US.  Reviews of the non-digital copy lamented that the explosion in wine areas made the maps very cramped, but the Ibook version allows you to zoom in with great resolution.  I haven't purchased because I would have to upgrade my iOS to the new version and my IPad would probably crash--this seems to be part of Apple's planned obsolescence strategy.  


Reply by Diego Andrés Díaz, Feb 9, 2014.

I dont know, I just love the books made of paper. The smell, the feel are amazing. Although, 12 bucks it's a great bargain, i prefer the paperas editions. Especially when are things like encyclopedias and atlases.

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