Wine books from 2020: Six to Savor

This year, a handful of wine books have reached the top of the best published in 2022. Here are a few to sample.

If you’re an Italophile oenophile, pick up Chianti Classico, The Complete Atlas of the UGA VineyardsAlessandro Masnaghetti and Paolo De Cristofaro (translated by Burton Anderson). This is a particularly useful book for students of Italian wine, the first of its kind to delve into the region following the new Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive (UGA), sub-zone classifications. Published by Enogea, the author’s publisher, and comprising 500 pages and around 180 maps, it is expected to be available in the US in early 2023, but it will be worth waiting (or looking if you can find it by other means) for the maps, explanatory details and “sensory intimacy”.

Drinking with the ValkyriesAndrew Jefford. Also from the Académie du Vin Library publishing imprint and also authored by a British wine writer, this volume is a collection of Jefford’s columns, most of which appeared in Decanter magazine, his longtime publishing house. An advocate of being wine-curious in the truest sense, he encourages readers and drinkers to ask a range of wine-related questions from tastes and perceptions to market value and personal value.

To fall in love, drink this, Alice Celebration. The cover, a riff on Alice in Wonderland, is a delightful introduction to the memoirs of the famous natural wine master. Feiring first became known for her 2008, The Battle for Wine and Love: Or How I Saved the World from Parkerization, a work that first signaled her refusal to go along with the crowd, or at least a crowd-friendly critic, and her brand of individualism and passion are the common thread in her other books with a focus on natural wine. Rather than taking a long arc, this memoir is organized as a collection of essays—memories and inspirations of people and place.

The Life and Wines of Hugh JohnsonHugh Johnson (Perhaps one of the most prolific wine writers of the old guard, Johnson has written a number of classics including gardening books for which he is perhaps less well known. The Pocket Guide is said to be the best-selling compendium, and he has co-authored the World Atlas of Wine. This the volume is an update of his 2005 memoir Wine, A Life Uncorked, with Johnson as narrator and tour guide of sorts as he takes readers down memory lane, which for him happens to be most of the world’s great wineries. Foreword by Eric Asimov, published by the Académie du Vin Library, the imprint Steven Spurrier revitalized before his death.

Vino: The Essential Guide to Real Italian WineJoe Campanale with Joshua David Stein. This is a beautiful book for the coffee table, to hold and read, starting with the Florentine marbled papers and punctuated with lovely photography on matte quality paper. The book is organized by 20 chapters devoted to each of Italy’s major wine regions, with producer recommendations in each; explanatory material on the wine classification system and a section on new styles, which in Italy, with its around 400+ grape varieties, will be a chapter forever. Campanale is well known in the New York City restaurant scene as a sommelier and owner/operator of Italian-focused eateries.

The wine bibleKaren MacNeil. First published in 2001, new to this third edition of the venerable primer are color photos and expanded text to include prominent topics such as climate change and a renewed interest in the origins and history of wine. MacNeil is a passionate and engaging speaker, educator, and it shows in her knowledgeable, inclusive and democratic approach to the world’s wines. Easy to follow modular layout will appeal to those learning about wine.

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