Every serious wine drinker needs a big fat book on Bordeaux, the world’s pre-eminent wine region, on his shelf. Oz Clarke’s fat tome on the area and its wines (and, per the subtitle, the vineyards and winemakers) is a decent pick, but it’s not the best I’ve seen.
As is frequently the problem with “celebrity” authors, the book is significantly more concerned with Oz Clarke than with Bordeaux. The word “I” appears on nearly every page. And Clarke himself is seen mugging in a vast number of pictures (far more than any winemakers, anyway).
Wine is a subjective experience, but encyclopedias are not, in my estimation, best presented as such. When Clarke first consumed some Chateau’s wine or another doesn’t provide a lot useful information for the reader, and instead it makes the book often feel like it’s dragging on, just filling pages, when it should be getting to the point.
The real gems of Bordeaux (this version was updated in 2012) can be found in the sidebars and back-of-chapter descriptions of various chateaus, although these are tragically too short. Tourists looking to visit Bordeaux and taste at wineries would do well to consult Clarke’s suggestions, too.
B- / $23 / [BUY IT HERE]