Food: Enjoy Some Full-Bodied Works with a Good Nose; Indulging in Good Food and Drink Are a Key Part of Any Christmas Celebration. the Birmingham Post's Wine Critic Clive Platman Continues His Review of Some of the Good and Bad Wine Books
Byline: Clive Platman
Planet Wine, Stuart Pigott, pounds 18.99
Beginning with the premise that 'the name of the grape variety on the label provides the prime key to understanding wine', the author purports to show his reader how to open the door to understanding and pleasure.
Divided into three main sections, the first is a look at larger-than-life versus the traditional styles, the second a review of the more elegant, cool-climate grapes, and the third a sideways glance at some unusual varieties.
The presentation is slick and well-illustrated, but the narrative is simply too fragmented,
lacking backbone and continuity.
Biodynamic Wines, Monty Waldin, pounds 25
In a quest for a greener earth, more thoughtful consumers are increasingly turning organic wine. Not going in for half measures, the wine world has taken one step further, and has embraced the revolutionary model of biodynamism. This not simply eschews the use of chemicals or pesticides, but relies on the lunar cycles for major decision-making.
Covering the principles and techniques, the author profiles the major producers, many of whom are the world's greatest winemakers.
It's authoritative and detailed, and will have great appeal to the serious wine enthusiast.
Girls' Guide to Wine, Suzy Atkins, pounds 4.99
In a shocking pink cover, this is designed to have instant 'girlie' appeal, but beware: it attempts, in a Bridget Jones kind of way, to solve the simple problem of choosing the right wine for any occasion, but the contents are as fluffy as a cuddly toy. Quite the silliest book on the subject that I've ever clapped eyes on.
The New Spain, John Radford, pounds 25
In recent years, Spain has undergone a dramatic transformation. A second, revised edition, taking into account the reconstructed wine laws of 2003, and the effects of six years' continuous change, was therefore essential.
The original edition was the definitive reference work by the leading authority on Spanish wine. While little has changed in the layout and general text, the revised edition includes a list of bodegas who have since made their mark. A compulsory read for lovers of Spanish wine.
Hugh Johnson's Story of Wine, pounds 22.50
A work which traces the history of wine from the dawn of civilisation to the present day would appear worthy and dry. When written by this foremost authority, it is absorbing, punctuated throughout with fascinating insights and anecdotes.
By understanding the story and the context, the appreciation of the contents of the glass is greatly enhanced. …