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I was very excited to crack open American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States by Jancis Robinson and Linda Murphy, and I have to say that I was not disappointed!
American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States presents a wonderful history of wine in the United States, as well as how viticulture and enology have evolved in this country and how vineyards and wineries continue to grow and change in an ever fluid market. Perusing through the pages, I could tell that a lot of time, energy, and research was put into the making of this book, and made me appreciate it that much more.
American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States is basically divided up by general region of the United States (i.e. West, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast), subdivided by state, and then even further divided by individual American Viticulture Area (AVA). Having put together large-scale reviews during my Masters work, I can appreciate the organization and research that was required to go into creating a manuscript such as this book. There are 278 relatively large pages with small font chock full of very interesting histories and current practices for each of the many AVAs throughout the country.
American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States, while full of fascinating information on viticulture and winemaking in the United States, also has a wonderful selection of images gracing nearly every page, highlighting much of the beauty and wonder of the many wineries throughout this country. Coupling the images with the text, the book comes together very nicely and makes an amazing gift for the wine lover in your life.
One of the great things about this book is that you don’t have to read it from cover to cover in any particular order. Skip around! Read what area of the country interests you most that day. Maybe you’re trying a wine from an area in the United States that you haven’t tried before—this book would be a wonderful companion to your wine education in regards to learning about the history and current practices of that particular area that interests you.
Seeing as how I live in Virginia, of course I made my way over to the Virginia wine section of the book relatively quickly. I felt the book captured the Virginia wine scene very well, and didn’t leave me scratching my head wondering why something was included or omitted. I was pleased to see some of my favorite wineries highlighted as “steady hands” in the Virginia wine industry, meaning that they are consistently great quality and are some of the leaders in the area (shout out specifically to Afton Mountain Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyards who were all mentioned in that section of the book!).
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about wine and wine history. It’s also a great resource if you’re looking for current players in the field, and if you’re curious about the up-and-coming vineyards and wineries in the United States. This book is a great value and is certainly one that I will be proudly displaying on my coffee table for the foreseeable future.