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Basic Texts

No one interested in wine can afford to be without some of these historical and educational tools.


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Looking to buy wine? These publications focus on little else and try to cover the marketplace.



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Some Personal Favorites

The items above are more in the nature of basic tools. The ones below are more idiosyncratic. Call them personal favorites. They do not purport to be basic references. Some are even fiction. They have a point of view, and considerable charm.

The world's great works are online here, free as e-books. From Herman Melville to Tolstoy to Dickens to Arthur Conan Doyle.  You can convert to PDBs or other formats from *.txt. You won't find new books or wine books, but if you support literacy and learning, check in here.

  • Adams, Leon, The Wines of America
    Outdated somewhat now, but the traditional work on American wine
    Click to buy

  • Coates, Cote d'Or: A celebration of the Great Wines of Burgundy
    Coates' passion seems to be for Burgundy, and these wines get his best efforts.
    Click to buy

  • Duijker/Broadbent, Bordeaux Atlas and Encyclopedia
    Comprehensive Bordeaux guide Click to buy

  • Feret, Edouard, Bordeaux and its Wines, updated by LeMay
    Expensive, monumental tome ($250) that some consider the "Bible" of Bordeaux, leaving virtually nothing out.  Published consistently since the 1860's.   Too much for most, and usually findable in French and in France, a new edition just came out in 1998 in English. The ultimate wine geek gift.  Click to buy

  • Halliday, James, Classic Wines of Australia
    New book by Australia's most famous wine writer Click to buy

  • Johnson, Hugh; Duijker, Alsace: Touring in Wine Country
    There aren't enough books on Alsace. Here's one, from authoritative sources.
    Click to buy

  • Johnson, Hugh, Vintage: The Story of Wine
    One of many books from a British Master of Wine, and perhaps his most engaging Click to buy

  • Johnson, & Brook; Century of Wine The Story of a Wine Revolution
    Click to buy

  • Johnson, Hugh, Encyclopedia of Modern Wine, 4th Ed.  Recently revised.
    Click to buy

  • Lukacs, Paul, American Vintage The best modern work on the rise of American wine, the true successor to Leon Adams 
    Click to buy

  • McGovern, Patrick, et al., The Origins and Ancient History of Wine
    Professors' fascinating new scholarly explorations of the ancient origins of wine.   Click to buy

  • McNie, Maggie, Champagne New book on the bubbly
    Click to buy

  • Mulligan, et al., Wine for Dummies
    Beginner's book that sometimes gets a bit too detailed, but is excellent nonetheless Click to buy

  • Parker, Robert, Bordeaux; Rhone; Burgundy
    The famous series of books on various wine regions with extensive tasting notes and ratings of producers

    Rhones: Click to buy

    New Bordeaux guide.. Parker 2003 Consumer's Guide to new.gif (116 bytes)Bordeaux
  • Parker, Robert: The World's Greatest Wine Estates
    Click to buy

  • Peynaud, Emile, The Taste of Wine
    One of the most influential wine classics. Peynaud went on to shape much of Bordeaux's practices. Hard to find outside of France.

  • Robinson, Jancis, Oxford Companion to Wine
    Comprehensive, modern encyclopedia from British Master of Wine. When you need to know every last thing... My favorite source to start with. Perhaps the BEST source for a universal book, now just revised in Fall, 1999, 2d edition.
    Click to buy  

  • Robinson, Jancis; Cass, Bruce Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America Indispensable reference
    Click to buy

  • Robinson, Jancis, Jancis Robinson's Wine Course
    To my mind, the very best beginner's book. Not too detailed, common sense advice, but not too superficial either. Click to buy
    NB: Out of print, but Amazon.com can often find such things for you

  • Robinson, Jancis, Jancis Robinson's Wine Course
    To my mind, the very best beginner's book. Not too detailed, common sense advice, but not too superficial either. Click to buy
    NB: Out of print, but Amazon.com can often find such things for you

  • Stevenson, Tom Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia (revised)
    A superb encyclopedia. I like Robinson's better, though. New revision in 1998. Click to buy.

  • Strang, Paul, et al  
    The Languedoc--a new book (2003) on the renaissance of its wines.

  • Zraly, Windows on the World Wine Course
    For the raw beginner. Clear, simple. Click to buy

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  • Coates, Clive, The Vine
    British Master of Wine's newsletter with tasting notes
  • Parker, Robert, The Wine Advocate
    The newsletter---closer to being a small book in a periodical form--that serves as the centerpiece of Parker's output

  • Parker, Robert, Wine Buying Guides
    The most prolific wine critic in the world offers a series of best selling wine buying guides  Click to buy

  • Tanzer, Steven International Wine Cellar
    A newsletter similar in nature to Robert Parker's

  • Wine Spectator
    Glossy, glitzy magazine reporting on the wine world and its personalities. Includes many tasting notes.
    Click to buy the Wine Spectator Buying Guide

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  • Barr, Wine Snobbery
    Amusing but blunt "insider's" guide to wine; created considerable trade controversy

  • Bernstein, Leonard, The Official Guide to Wine Snobbery
    Short, snappy, hilarious send-up of wine traditions. 
    Click to buy

  • Bickham, Jack, The Winemakers
    Fun story, part mystery, part soap opera,  from this  well known mystery writer (Brad Smith tennis series) about fictitious Napa Valley winemakers. Includes what seem to be thinly veiled allusions to Mondavi and Gallo, and lots of cool  wine talk. Amusing page turner. Regrettably out of print, but amazon.com can order a used copy.

  • Darlington, Angel's Visits
    The Story of Zinfandel

  • Fisher, M.F.K. Long Ago in France
    Fisher is not a wine writer, but a food writer.  Her books are often charming, and this is perhaps the most charming of the group, from her early days as a young romantic in Dijon learning about life and the finer things.
    Click to buy

  • Faith, The Winemasters of Bordeaux
    Great narrative, details of Bordeaux Click to buy

  • Goldstein, et al. Winelover's Cookbook
    At last! Concentrating on food and wine matchups. Click to buy

  • Gabler, Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson
    Charming, historical tale of Jefferson's travels. Starts slow, but builds up steam. Click to buy

  • Hawkes, Ellen, Blood and Wine
    Most famous for its allegations concerning the Gallo empire, this book is also a generally compelling narrative that includes useful insights into the beginnings of the modern California wine industry. 

  • new.gif (116 bytes)Jefford, The New France Explores issues and personalities...

  • Kramer, Making Sense of Burgundy
    Self-Explanatory.  Fun read
  • Liebling, Between Meals
    Joie de vivre, as related by a famous journalist who lived in Paris way back when, slim, inexpensive, delightful volume
    Click to buy

  • Loftus, Simon, Puligny-Montrachet: Journal of a Village in Burgundy
    A charming, insider look at French wine culture in Burgundy. 

  • Lynch, Adventures on the Wine Route
    Famous importer's personal anecdotes
    Click to buy

  • Markham, Dewey, 1855: A History of the Bordeaux Classification
    This pricey ($70 retail) but fascinating  book tells you as much or more than you need to know. The story of how some of the wines we pay so much for got where they are.
    Click to buy

  • Mondavi, Robert,
    Harvests of Joy

    Autobiography of the man who arguably made California's wine industry what it is today
    Click to buy

  • Olney, Richard, Romanée-Conti
    The story of France's most famous red wine
    Click to buy

  • Olney, Richard,
    French Food & Wine

    A cookbook written with the wine lover in mind.
    Click to buy

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All photos by me and full size copies are in the photo archive

Try AMAZON.COM first
when looking for these books!
They can often even get out of
print items.  If there is no automatic link already set up next to the book entry,   click the Amazon logo above to get to the E-Zine's search engine and book display rack


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