Top 10 Wine Books of 2013

booksIt has been a tremendous year for wine books. The variety of high quality, informative, controversial and comprehensive books that have emerged this year truly seems to have increased in number. Perhaps it is a reflection in the change in the wine culture, wine or wine consumers. I cannot say. What I can say is that I enjoyed a number of books released in 2013 and will be using a number of them as reference points in the coming year.

Below are my Top 10 books of 2013 (in no particular order)

By James Conaway
Conaway released an insightful and often hilarious novel that satirizes wine culture and one particular unnamed wine valley in Northern California.

“American Wine”By Linda Murphy and Jancis Robinson
Murphy and Robinson give us the new “Ultimate Companion” to American Wine, taking into account the significant changes that have hit the U.S. wine industry over the past 20 years. An indispensable reference.

“The World Atlas of Wine”
By Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robins have released the newest edition of this must-have book and in the process delivered a monumental achievement.

“Postmodern Winemaking”
By Clark Smith
Clark Smith has written the most interesting and eclectic wine book in years. Smith has a rich and swirling mind that is on display in this both technical and philosophical treaties on modern winemaking the issues that have been pushed to the fore through innovation.

“Through a Sparkling Glass”
By Andrea Frost
Perhaps the most intriguing wine book to come across my desk all year. Frost has written a book that uses wine to disguise her discussion and ruminations on personal and universal themes. Very tricky and very well written, not to mention a great read.

“The Wine Savant: A Guide to the New Wine Culture”
By Mike Steinberger
This new book by the former wine writer for Slate and one of the best chroniclers of our wine culture is perfectly named. Steinberger does not do rehashes. His writing and his takes on various issues of interest to wine lovers is au courant. Much of what you’ll find in this book has been touched on by Mike both at Slate and at his blog, “Wine Diarist. It’s one of those books that brings wine literature and reporting up-to-date with the wine reality in this land.

“The New California Wine”
By Jon Bonne
Since arriving at the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonne has kept himself in the middle of the cutting edge of California wine. This important new book collect his reflections on and reporting of the changing of the guard in California wine as well as very important developments in winemaking and grapegrowing in California. I think this is the kind of book that makes and impact and changes minds and opens eyes. This can very rarely be said about a book concerning wine.

“The World of Sicilian Wine”
By Bill Nesto, MW and Frances Di Savino
Nesto and Di Savino have given us a model for how to write about an Old World wine region. They start at the beginning (1000s of years ago) and bring us to the current day with very precise prose and comprehensive information. The key here though is that the writing is very good. More importantly, if you are interested in Sicilian wines or simply the history of Sicily, this is your book.

“From Bubbles to Board Rooms (Vols I and II)”
By Michaela Rodeno
Believe it or not, it is quite rare to see a genuine memoir by a wine industry professional. Rodeno, who helped put Domaine Chandon and St. Supery on the map and who now is enjoying bringing amazing Sangiovese to wine lovers via Villa Ragazzi, provides us with a very humorous and intimate account of her years in the wine business. There is a a great deal to learn from this memoir and it stands out as an honest and personal account of a life in wine that is, again, a rare thing.

By Niel Martin
Martin’s “Pomerol” is a not merely a companion for lovers of Pomerol, it is a very personal book that evokes discovery and should not be missed by anyone interested Pomerol, Bordeaux or wine. It is a self published book and it is hard to believe that the major wine book publishers have not come calling.


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One Response

  1. Linda Murphy - December 20, 2013

    Thanks for the recommendation, Tom. “American Wine” is in great company!

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