Grand atlas des vignobles de France
By: Benoît France (ed)
Solar France, 54 eur, ISBN 978-2263046605
This is a rather unique book. Even if the title says “atlas” it’s not your average map book. Instead it focuses on and goes into detail on soil and soil types in virtually all French appellations and illustrates it with 184 colourful maps. If you want better to understand soils, geology, and terroir in France then this is a book for you (provided you read French).
But the book also covers in depth, with descriptive texts, all French appellations, including their characteristics, grape varieties, climate, history etc. Even the most remote and obscure appellations can be found. You can find the most amazing details and titbits. Did you know, for instance, that the now trendy grape petit verdot only covers 0.4% of Bordeaux (which is still much more than carmenère that only has 0.1%)?
The presentation is not always easily digested: lots of dense text and detailed maps. And you can excuse the somewhat chauvinistic introduction (“French wines are best” – not any worse than what you hear in many other instances from other countries) and its conviction that the appellation system is the answer to today’s wine industry woes (it’s just as often an obstacle to making and selling good wines).
The book contains such a wealth of detailed information that it will be a valued addition to any serious (French speaking) wine lover’s book shelf.
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