Wine consultant and Irish Times wine correspondent John Wilson has authored and edited numerous wine books over the past decade or so. In the great tradition of Hugh Johnson, Oz Clarke and Blue Peter, his latest annual has been released just before the start of the year whose name it bears. Of course, that makes it an ideal Christmas present…
It covers the top 123 most interesting wines that he has tasted during the year and are available somewhere in Ireland, mainly from independent wine merchants. Without beavering away to confirm the fact, I think that many of the wines will be available in other territories such as the UK and USA.
Rather than a simple alphabetical or geographical listing, the wines are divided into the following categories:
- Sparkling wines
- Crisp refreshing white wines
- Fresh and fruity white wines
- Rich and rounded white wines
- Light and elegant red wines
- Rounded and fruity red wines
- Rich and full-bodied red wines
- Fortified wines
The heading on each wine is helpfully colour coordinated with the category for those of you who aren’t colour blind (I am!)
Each wine then gets two pages which contain:
- Name, area of origin and vintage
- A picture of the wine (to help you find it on the shelf!)
- Price and stockists
- Alcohol level
- Tasting note (fairly concise, not flowery or obtuse, meaningful & helpful for most readers)
- Drink with (i.e. food matching suggestion)
- Grape variety
- Backstory (the story behind the grape, the area or the producer – accessible but definitely interesting to wine geeks such as myself)
To properly assess the book I thought it only right and proper to test it by pouring one of the featured wines and comparing my thoughts to the written entry. I think it fair to say that there are some wines John likes that I’m not quite as keen on, and vice versa – but isn’t that the beauty of wine?
One type of wine we both adore is German Riesling, so I poured myself a glass of Geil Riesling Trocken 2013 from Rheinhessen. The Tasting Note reads “Free-flowing fresh and spritzy with delicate apple fruits. Summer in a glass.” Although I am enjoying this wine on a cold December night he has it summed up perfectly.
A useful and well-written book that will encourage me to drink 123 wines in 2015!