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Richard and Judy wine guide was released in 2005 in conjunction with the 'Wine Club' tasting segment of their Channel 4 show at the time.
It is compiled by four respected writers in the wine industry - Amanda Ross, Susy Atkins, jean-marc Sauboua and Joe Wadsack and is produced by Harper Collins.
The book itself is hardback and glossy with a looseleaf cover. It runs at just over 300 pages.
After a brief introduction from Richard and Judy, there is then a short section on 'How to Use This Book.' This section sets out its stock as an accessible wine guide; stating that 'if you don't like a wine then it's not a good wine (....) everyone's opnion is valid.' However it claims that it will give the reader knowledge and confidence in expressing their opinions on particular wines.
The first half of the book focuses on European or 'old world' wines before moving onto those from ' The New World.'
Each chapter has an overarching thesme but features a chosen producer that is appropriate to that, describing their ethos and history. The chapters are also broken up into smaller sections with 'expert tips' which provide useful information on varied topics such as wine glasses, getting the best from your glass, cooking with wine and seasonal wine. The book is broken up with various photographs of the process and of wine around the world.
Chapter 1 is: 'how to taste wine, the harvest and red wine.' This section describes the basic wine tasting techniques, the basics of red wines, a style guid on medium bodied reds and wine storage.
Chapter 2 is: 'barreling, the importance of oak, and white wine.' This section details information about rich oaky white, useful tools, the use of barrels and the value of oak.
Chapter 3 is ' wine blends and deciphering labels. ' Here we receive information about wine blending, decanting, Bordeaux and how long opened wine can be kept before the flavour is too impaired.
Chapter 4 is on 'rose'. It discusses why it has become 'on trend' in recent times, its method as well as information on corking and how to articulate the tastes that you experience.
Chapter 5 is on 'bespoke growers and organic production' and features small-scale wine making, organic wine, ice bucket use and obtaining advice from wine watiers or sommeliers when you go out to drink wine.
Chapter 6 is on 'cellaring and bottling' and discusses how wines age, corks vs screwcaps, and consumer rights when returning faulty wines.
The European wine section is then finished off with brief features on Germany, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece and England.
The New World section starts with 'Chapter 7' - Australia and includes information regarding the importance of soil, warming wine, matching food and wine by region and experimenting with taste.
Chapter 8 focuses on South Africa, discussing 'crowdpleasing wine', chilling wine outside, Columbord and the calorie value of wine.
Chapter 9 features New Zealand and discusses alcohol content and location.
Chapter 10 is on Chile and features ordering wines for weddings, and shopping for wine.
Chapter 11 talks about California and discusses champagne, how to host a fine tasting, fortified wines and American Chardonnays.
Chapter 12 - Argentina discusses learning aromas, vintages, bottle sizes, and Malbec.
This is then followed by a summary of the rest of the 'New' wine world regions - Canada, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Israel , Lebanon, America, China, Morocco and India.
The main text section of the book is then closed by a section on Champagne and Sparkling Wine - eg that is some basics about them and further advice about how to enjoy them.
I think that this is a very good book about wine. Considering that it has its origins in a small segment of a TV show, it is surprisingly comprehensive and well put together - it certainly appears to be well-researched.
The information is presented in an accessible way that somehow manages to strike a really good balance between pretentious and patronising - which must be a difficult thing to achieve when talking about something like wine which can quite easily come across as something that is quite elitist or snobby.
Level wise, I think that this would be a good book for individuals who would liek to know about the basics of wine through to moderate wine enthusiasts, as it does a really good job with givnign you the basics of wine appreciation to the point that you can become more confident when making your selections both at the supermarket or out at a restaurant.
The only limitation, as with all books about wine, is that in all honesty as much information as you can get from this book - you also really need to just get out there and try these wines and form opinions for yourself and hopefully this will cover some ground in helping you to do that.
There is a really good level of information here, but I can imagine some readers being a bit frustrated that the 'basics' are not all put in one section, in fact they are spread throughout the chapters - I imagine as a way of providing some context to these ideas. So that can be a bit frustrating, but there is a really good contents page at the front which clearly defines the different sections in each chapter so you can dip in and out of a particular theme.
In conclusion, I believe this to be a very good wine reference book which is encouraging to the reader rather than dismissive and whilst it may not be appropriate for those who already consider themselves experts; it works hard at nurturing encouragement for the interested novice and a sense of enthusiasm and wanting to share knowledge with the reader really comes through.