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Book review: Oenologie et crus des vins

>> Friday, December 04, 2009

Oenologie et crus des vins
By Kilien Stengel, editor
Publisher: Editions Jérôme Vilette, this book is intended for student sommeliers and restaurateurs, as well as those studying viticulture, oenology. It is an ambitious task and one that it does not live up to. It is, as far as we know, only published in French. One would hope that a student in wine would merit a concise and structured introduction to wine but then we would suggest looking elsewhere. Let us take some examples: In the oenology chapter we can read “destemming and crushing are not absolutely indispensable operations” and “the press is an agricultural machine used in a fixed place to extract by pressure certain juices, notably the grape juice, destined for wine making” or “a bottle is a generally a recipient cylindrical at the base and narrowing towards the top”. Or worse: “these varying methods [of mechanical, chemical or no removal of weed and grass] are sometimes called ‘biodynamics’, a process that does not yet have an official definition”. The book starts off with a section on viticulture and vinification. It then has a few “practical tips” chapters: where to buy, how to store and how to serve etc. the third section is a brief overview of all French wine regions. No non-French wines are mentioned. It is a curious mix of a text that tries to go into technical details in some areas but misses important points. The original, now revised text is from 1984. Perhaps it would have been better to write something entirely new instead.

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