by Percy H. Dougherty et al
When most people think geography they imagine high school geography tests with blank maps of large continents and a minute time limit in which to completely fill it in with the correct countries and capitals. Luckily for us Percy H. Dougherty expands on this definition to include not only the location but also the full terroir and socio economic indicators of a region that all together impact how a wine is made, sold, and ultimately enjoyed by consumers. This book is a collection of essays by various wine professionals and coordinated by Mr. Dougherty as the editor.
On a positive note, one can find several exceptionally interesting treatises on why geography is important to wine and how different geographies uniquely impact their wines. Despite being very scientific writing (with numerous references) I found myself enthralled and convinced by the essay “Terroir: At the Heart of Geography” and the cultural / economic essay entitled “The South African Wine Industry: Meeting the Challenges of Structural and Ethical Transformation.” The casual wine reader rarely thinks about how the cultural and economic environment impacts the wine they drink, but this essay clearly highlights that in a very specific case with thinking that could be reapplied elsewhere.
The major cons with this book are twofold; 1) with such a diverse array of authors it is all but certain that one or more will not live up to the quality of the others and 2) there are bound to be repetitions and contradictions as each author sets up the preface for geography in wine and has differing opinions. The second issue is more easily overlooked as one can breeze through the countless paragraphs on the definition of terroir and it’s role in geography. The first is much harder and this book suffers from it with at least two essays grating on this reviewer’s nerves with its inconsistencies and over simplification of complex systems.
Despite the issues with a couple of the essays, I really enjoyed reading this book. I must admit I was skeptical given the scientific journal formatting. But once I was able to overlook that, the book really enthralled me and caused me to think about the complex eco system of wine in a very different light. While this book might not be for the casual reader or wine newbie, it is very educational and informative for those looking to further their depth of knowledge with regards to what shapes the wine they drink.
Wine Book Summary
|Verdict||4 out of 5 bunches|
|Proficiency||5 out of 5 glasses|