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The heavyweight tome, Wine Grapes, weighs in at 3kg and has an equally hefty price tag – £120 – but gives the low-down on all 1,368 wine grape varieties currently in commercial production.
Robinson shares the writing credits with long-time assistant Julia Harding MW and Dr José Vouillamoz, a Swiss botanist and grape geneticist who has worked extensively in the field of grape DNA profiling.
Wine Grapes aims to pinpoint where wine grapes are from and how the different varieties are related to each other, using 14 complicated family trees, described by Robinson as ‘very fascinating’.
She said the book had ‘more in it about the grape varieties responsible for our favourite drink than anything that’s ever been published before’.
The book also seeks to identify who makes the best wines from particular varieties, and what they taste like.
‘José is a specialist in DNA, which means that he has discovered all sorts of amazing relationships between these different grape varieties, many of them unexpected, some of them never published before,’ Robinson added.
The book also features 80 colour plates taken from first editions of Viala and Vermorel’s century-old classic book on ampelography.
Wine Grapes is published by Allen Lane (Penguin) in October 2012, price £120.
Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW and Dr José Vouillamoz will present at masterclass entitled ‘Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,388 vine varieties, their origins and flavours’ at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter on Sunday 18 November 2012. Click here to book tickets and for more information
Story by Richard Woodard
Courtesy of Decanter