Two new wine books caught my eye recently and I'm really keen to find out whether anyone has any feedback which will help me decide whether to buy them.

The first is Paul Strang's "Languedoc-Roussillon" (2nd edn, 2017) which I think came out at the fag end of last year. I do have his now somewhat outdated book on Southwest France, which was always considered the standard by which to judge others.

The second is Benjamin Lewin's 2018 book on Alsace. I have a couple of his self-published books, and I did like the way he covered some of the excellent, but possibly less well known, innovators in "Pinot Noir". But I worry whether he could possibly have his finger on the pulse of what is one of the fastest changing regions in France, especially the rise of the younger producers and the natural wine movement. It's a place where some of the larger old producers seem about as relevant to Alsace lovers now as Laurent-Perrier and De Venoge are to Champagne geeks.

Always hard to tell whether Winepagers read these books? Any comments useful. Thanks, DC.
 
David, I purchased the first edition of Strang (published in 2002) in 2007 before I made my first visit to the region. It was interesting and helpful, to a point but was already dated. It had beautiful photography and really drew me into another world. While there I found Peter Gorley's guide to the Languedoc wine routes which was a more helpful volume for planning visits in a particular area, and was slightly more up to date. It was however, out of print. A revised edition of Gorley's guide has been promised for many years and a downloadable chapter covering the Terrasse du Larzac was made available. Having just done a search I see it is available as a downloadable interactive e-book for Android or iOS. I have had a quick load at the revised Strang via the Amazon look inside feature. It appears to be up to date in terms of vineyards and vignerons - it has a picture of Tom Lubbe and even Jonathan Hesford (late of this parish) and the index seems cover the majority of the current Languedoc and Roussillon set-up so it is probably worth a look. I will also take a look at the other one too between them there is probably as good a current view of the wine scene down there as is likely to be published for a while.
 
David, I purchased the first edition of Strang (published in 2002) in 2007 before I made my first visit to the region. It was interesting and helpful, to a point but was already dated. It had beautiful photography and really drew me into another world. While there I found Peter Gorley's guide to the Languedoc wine routes which was a more helpful volume for planning visits in a particular area, and was slightly more up to date. It was however, out of print. A revised edition of Gorley's guide has been promised for many years and a downloadable chapter covering the Terrasse du Larzac was made available. Having just done a search I see it is available as a downloadable interactive e-book for Android or iOS. I have had a quick load at the revised Strang via the Amazon look inside feature. It appears to be up to date in terms of vineyards and vignerons - it has a picture of Tom Lubbe and even Jonathan Hesford (late of this parish) and the index seems cover the majority of the current Languedoc and Roussillon set-up so it is probably worth a look. I will also take a look at the other one too between them there is probably as good a current view of the wine scene down there as is likely to be published for a while.
Thanks Peter. For what looks like £40 (for Strang) one wants some good recommendations.
 
DC. I have the 2002 Strang: Languedoc Roussillon and it is still a great book even if it is dated now. I've had a browse through the 2017 version (£35) whilst in the Waterstones on High St Kensington and whilst there are updates to the list of producers / appellations I personally didn't feel that it was worth purchasing.

I've not seen the Lewin "Alsace" book yet but I would imagine that this is worth buying as I was very impressed with his tomes on "Pinot Noir" and "What Price Bordeaux" which I both have. If I do get an opportunity to give it a browse I'll report back.

I guess that the problem with all wine books to a certain extent is that as soon as they are published elements of them are already out of date. I was very impressed with the Nesto book on Sicilian Wine that was published a few years ago, but chatting to the very engaging Antonio Benanti from Benanti, Etna at the Trade Fair a couple of days ago it was clear that on the ground on Etna that there is a lot of going in relation to topics such as extension of the Etna DOC, push for DOCG status on some wines, halt on building of new cellars on Etna, extension of varieties such as Carricante into areas where they've not been traditionally planted, blending of other varieties from other areas of Sicily into Etna Rosso to increase production figures, increasing costs of vineyard land etc. Tradtional printed works have their place for sure but they are just one resource that are open to us.
 
I heard earlier this year that Rosemary George is producing a book about Languedoc wines. I've no idea when it will be out (I could try to find out) or how it will compare to the others.
 
As an aside David and separate to the thread title, I've just finished reading 'Godforsaken Grapes' by Jason Wilson which I found a very enjoyable read. The author has a penchant for many of the world's lesser known grapes and the book is somewhat of a travelogue of his adventures in tasting them. Given that it has a fairly wide scope, it doesn't go into huge depth on each variety, but I found the author's writing style to be very easy to read, and whipped through it in no time at all. Given that I also have a fondness for some of these varieties, the book was certainly in my wheelhouse. The title comes from a Robert Parker rant.
 
Mark P

I agree that that the wine world changes, and books are not the best way to keep up to date, which can be an issue if you are buying wine.

Bht if you want a better understanding of wines in your cellar, a book might be ideal, and you need to beware of thinking the latest information is relevant to what you bought years (perhaps decades) ago.

It's really just a question of being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the different media. Sometimes though, book writers should perhaps be more willing to be explicit about the dates their information applies to, whem talking about regulations for exampme.
 
I'm still here. Just busy planning provocative posts on Bordeaux negociants, natural wines and glyphosate :)

The new Paul Strang book is very good and was needed to replace the original as so many new producers have emerged in the Languedoc-Roussillon and several old names have disappeared or merged. It's a very dynamic region and I'm still very glad to have made the move here, even though the wines seem to have fallen off the radar of the UK press in recent times.
 
As an aside David and separate to the thread title, I've just finished reading 'Godforsaken Grapes' by Jason Wilson which I found a very enjoyable read. The author has a penchant for many of the world's lesser known grapes and the book is somewhat of a travelogue of his adventures in tasting them. Given that it has a fairly wide scope, it doesn't go into huge depth on each variety, but I found the author's writing style to be very easy to read, and whipped through it in no time at all. Given that I also have a fondness for some of these varieties, the book was certainly in my wheelhouse. The title comes from a Robert Parker rant.
Thanks for that rec, Mark. If it’s enjoyable it should certainly be up my street.

I remember that rant. For me, nothing defined Parker more than when a few very small puppies started snapping harmlessly at his heals and his reaction seemed to want to have them all put down. He started saying many ridiculous things like that. Not the only one to get ratty when it’s gold watch time.
 
Thanks for that rec, Mark. If it’s enjoyable it should certainly be up my street.

I remember that rant. For me, nothing defined Parker more than when a few very small puppies started snapping harmlessly at his heals and his reaction seemed to want to have them all put down. He started saying many ridiculous things like that. Not the only one to get ratty when it’s gold watch time.
I'd be interested to know how you get on with it, David. I think you might be more enthusiastic than me.
 
Really!? I found it very light.

Good information on those producers featured; but there are very few producers featured.

Still, it's lightyears in front of Benjamin Lewin's book on the subject. Something I feel cheated for having paid money for.

That's interesting. I found Lewin's Pinot Noir book similarly wrongheaded.
 
I heard earlier this year that Rosemary George is producing a book about Languedoc wines. I've no idea when it will be out (I could try to find out) or how it will compare to the others.
And luckily, only about the Languedoc...

I believe this should be released towards the tail end of next year.

The Roussillon counterpart is being written by Richard Mark James. I caught up with him last month, and I like the sound of what he's doing.
 
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