Another GREAT wine Book: by the terroirista

In an earlier post I claimed that John Haeger’s “North American Pinot Noir” was the best wine book of 2004. That claim stands. However, another book needs to be mentioned in the same breath: “Matt Kramer’s New California Wine”. The title doesn’t say much about this book. You have to mine the subtitle to get an idea of what Kramer is going for: “Making sense of Napa Valley, Sonoma, Central Coast and Beyond”. Again, not a lot of info here, but at least we know that Kramer is attacking California from a geographic perspective.

Kramer’s new book is actually an update of his earlier “Making Sense of California Wine.” To my recollection, Kramer, a columnist for the Wine Spectator and the Oregonian is the first wine writer to really address the issue of terroir in California. And he’s good.

The new book takes a close look at all the major appellations, discusses their history, their terroir, their major players and their developments. Kramer isn’t too impressed with our “American Viticultural Area” approach to designating wine growing appellations. Who would be? Nevertheless, he recognizes it as the most convenient way to break up California into parts for discussion. (I’d love to see someone attempt to redefine California grapegrowing by suggesting new appellations based on something that makes sense: like contiguous soil character and consistent climate factors.

Kramer is a terroirista. He believes in terroir and it’s ability to help us make better wine. I believe Kramer is one of our best wine writers.

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