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First Look: Wine Grapes, an Epic Book on Wine Varieties

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Photos: Paula Forbes /

The much-anticipated grape bible by British wine writers Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and botanist/grape geneticist José Vouillamoz has landed. The trio's Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours is a six-and-a-half-pound guide to the geneaology and etymology of wine grape varieties — from sangiovese to Bulgaria's shevka — broken down alphabetically. It is out now from Ecco (buy on Amazon for $110.25).

In a country where it's no longer shocking to see wines from places like Georgia, Slovenia, Croatia, or the Canary Islands on wine lists, a complete guide to grape lineage (which also includes information on how these grapes taste in wine form) also doubles as a consumers' guide to urban hipster wine lists across the U.S. Joking. Sort of.

Among consumers and the wine industry there's been an ongoing fascination with wine grapes, from heritage varieties now being resurrected in once-abandoned corners of Italy to wines made from grapes that, until recently, were only consumed locally. Wine Grapes organizes all of this information into what is, despite its density, a page-turner. And while it's doubtful that more than a few people in the United States will ever need, or want, to know about the origins of Russia's krasnostop zolotovsky, it's comforting to know that Wine Grapes is there just in case.





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