Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Firefly Books (October 1, 1999)
Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #5,756,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #79 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Wine & Spirits > Champagne
Michael Edwards' guide is neatly laid out in sections that briefly and without being overly technical explain the uniqueness of Champagne -- the region, the wine and the process by which it is made -- and a series of profiles of the major Champagne houses with comments on specific wines and insights into the various house styles. When this guide was first released a few years ago, it was a good replacement for Serena Sutcliffe's book "Champagne" that had recently gone out of print. Unfortunatey, Edwards book is now out of date as well.This offering is deceptive since it is billed as the third edition and the flyleaf carries a 1999 copyright, but the text is almost entirely lifted from the earlier edition and most of Edwards' tasting notes are from 1993 and 1994. There have been substantial changes in the Champagne industry since the early 90s and some of these are ignored in Edwards' book. He writes clearly and has good tasting insights, but his notes won't be of much help to consumers just getting into Champagne and wondering about wines currently available, not those released five years ago.I give it five stars as a general reference, but only 1 star for topicality.
This little book is more than worth its minimal cost. As a general guide to the history of the great drink it's somewhat sketchy, but if you want the word on what Champagne to order and what not to (for the same price), it will provide just that. Follow its 9 or so top marques and you almost cannot go wrong. More than that though, it identifies some superb non-vintage Champagnes from less-well-publicised houses. Some I found in Epernay sell (unbelieveably) for less than 90 francs ($11) at the cave door -- half the price of the book. Though the 3 category ratings are relatively useful, a more finely discriminating set (say 5) would have been much better as a guide, particularly where the 2-star marques are concerned. Reading between the lines though you may be able to tell which 2-stars are better than others. As other reviwers have noted, it is now a bit dated: the '99 edition surprisingly fails to mention the '95 vintage at all. A well revised edition would be welcome.
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