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The pocket edition of Tom Stevenson's newest guide to champagne is not just a diminutive edition of its larger cousin, Christie's World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine, it is the newest, most up-to-date work, with a less assuming and mobile size by the author hailed as, "An authority acknowledged even by the Champenois." His renown is matched only by his love of the stuff, which stamps each sentence with that distinctive Stevenson style: "The Titanic was not launched with a bottle of Champagne and we all know what happened to her."
The book begins with the basics of how sparkling wine is made, how to store and serve sparkling wines and a helpful list of styles, basic divisions of sweetness, vintage and non-vintage, grape varieties, colour and degree of mousse. Then he moves on to his latest tastings of 2001, delineating the minutia of his considerably long list of tasting notes (also included) into easy to distinguish comparative performance tables. The always thoughtful Tom Stevenson also adds a small section on how to read his tasting notes and scoring system. There is a glossary of champagne and sparkling wine terms and, probably the most unusual and gleefully received section of his book, a list of local champagne and sparkling wine retailers categorized by state and outlining contact information, years in business, brands carried, tasting schedules (if applicable), best sellers and comments and advice on store selection.
The reader is guaranteed that every wine recommended in this guide has been personally tasted for this edition. This marvelous little book was voted Best Wine Guide by World Food Media Awards, proving that in a world of wine books the size of aircraft carriers, modest quality is still a premium.
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