Book Review: Champagne Magnum Opus

Book Review: Champagne Magnum Opus

Weighing in at a hefty 7 lbs. and 446 pages is Richard Juhlin’s… well, magnum opus… Champagne Magnum Opus, which will not only exercise your forearms and biceps in a healthy resistance training exercise but also your mind as you skim through one of the most expansive books ever written on the subject.

Now in an impressive tenth edition, the meticulous scholarship Juhlin employs is nothing short of remarkable. Much to his and the editorial team’s credit, it’s hard to realize how much densely packed information is presented on page after page, as everything is laid out carefully, with photographs and infographics that make learning feel effortless and a real pleasure.

The book begins with a quick start presentation on the proper way to enjoy Champagne before taking deep dives into its history, native region, classifications and so much more before delivering an incredibly thorough year-to-year overview on over two centuries of vintages. But the real treasures are found towards the back: an alphabetical and comprehensive list of producers, year-by-year top 10 lists, a list of the top 100 Champagnes of all time, another list of the top 100 Champagnes one should taste before they die, and finally a tasting guide mapping and evaluating 13,000 Champagnes from more than 900 producers. The word “Bible” has been exhausted and overutilized when authoring reference guides, but I do not believe I am being hyperbolic in saying this book is definitive.

The real challenge with Champagne Magnum Opus is determining its final functionality: Is it worth getting the pages well-worn, stained, annotated, and earmarked? Or is it a book to admire as a gorgeous work of art from a distance on a coffee table or bookshelf? The answer is, inevitably, a resounding yes. This is a delightful book in which to get lost for hours at a time and an absolute must-have for any fan of Champagne. Quite extraordinary and luxurious stuff.


Champagne Magnum Opus




Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.

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