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1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die
(Universe Publishing) ISBN 978-0789316837 0789316838

This wine reference book helps readers choose wines, learn when to drink wines and which years are the best vintages. To help wine lovers stock their wine cellars, 1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die adds wine tasting notes which describes acidity, complexity, balance and body. Wine descriptions include information on wine making and viticulture (altitude, soil type, yield and yeast used).

Wines selected for this 960-page wine review book are “high quality wines” and “wines with distinctive character,” according to wine author, Hugh Johnson. Wine selections vary from common wines like Mateus Rosé to rare wines like 1795 Barbeito Terrantez.

How to stock a wine cellar

1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die is a helpful reference for wine clubs and buyers at wine auctions. Neil Beckett's book is also an excellent alternative to wine gifts. For owners of wine cellars, the wine guide provides advice on which wines to buy and when to drink them.

The wine book is informative and well-organized alphabetically by producer into four categories: sparkling wines, white wines, red wines and fortified wines.

How long to age wine

Each wine review lists wine year, origin, style, grapes (e.g., Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon), information on viticulture, wine tasting, cost and when to drink the wine.

Full-page color photos depict vineyards, vintners, grape pickers, wineries and wine cellars. Images of wine bottles and wine labels illustrate each wine review.

An Index by Region of Origin locates wines described in 1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die in the wine regions of each country. Countries that produce wine range from Argentina to Uruguay.

California wine regions

Each wine region is subdivided. California wines, for example, include the following wine growing regions: Calistoga, Livermore Valley, Madera County, Mendocino, Napa Valley, Rutherford, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley and Sonoma County.

The Index by Price groups inexpensive wines (under $20) like the Chardonnay, Vie di Romans, and medium priced wines ($41 to $100) such as Dry River Pinot Noir. Wine collectors can find exclusive wines like Petrus 1989 in the expensive listings ($201 and more).

A Glossary defines terms used in the wine industry, such as estufagem (heating Madeira to speed up development), chaptalization (adding sugar to fermenting grape juice to increase alcohol content) and vin de garde (wine made to be aged).

The Index of Producers lists wine makers and wineries, ranging from Bodegas Aalto to Domaine Zind-Humbrecht.

Review of sparkling wines

The Sparkling Wines chapter describes Delamotte Blanc de Blancs, 1985, a Champagne made from the 1985 harvest, as “small because of frost damage earlier in the spring, but the weather at picking time was perfect... The color is youthful, vital green tints among the gold; the mousse is super-fine, so discreet as to be barely perceptible to the eye but reassuringly invigorating on the palate... The 1999 is a fine successor to the 1985, with a special flavor of sousbois (undergrowth), particularly wild mushrooms.”

The review of Delamotte Blanc de Blancs also lists other vintages and Champagnes from the Côte de Blancs region of France.

Pomerol wine from Bordeaux

One of the best known Pomerol wines from the Bordeaux region of France is Château Le Bon Pasteur, produced by wine consultant Michel Rolland. The dry red wine is described as “a rich, fleshy wine that is accessible and enjoyable when drunk young, though it will age well in the medium term. The 2005... with aromas of cherries and mint leaf and oak, while the palate is both voluptuous and very concentrated.”

A brief history on the evolution of Williams & Humbert, a Spanish sherry house in Jerez de la Frontera, introduces the producer of excellent wines and international prestige labels like Dry Sack, Don Zoilo and Jalifa. 1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die recommends Dos Cortados Palo Cortado VOS Sherry because it has “particular finesse: clean and expressive, with spirited notes of fresh herbs and egg yolk... a wine that combines the delicacy and refinement of aroma of an Amontillado with the structure and the roundness of an Oloroso.”

1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die


  • Introduction
  • Index by region of origin
  • Sparkling wines
  • White wines
  • Red wines
  • Fortified wines
  • Glossary
  • Index of producers
  • Index by price

General Editor

Neil Beckett compiled reviews by 44 wine writers.

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