Andrew Caillard MW & (Dr) Angus Hughson’s new tome ‘The Wine Journal 2023’ landed on the doorstep this week, so I’ve cleared the Zaltos off the tasting bench to give this book a bit of airtime.
Speaking of time, I have little for traditional wine annuals, as I get bored reading my own tasting notes, let alone someone else’s. The scoring in this book is way too generous for me as well, so I just skipped most of the (very traditional) reviews.
I can appreciate the spread of wines covered in The Wine Journal 2023, however. Verticals of Jim Barry Armagh, new release Bordeaux, a smattering of ancient Aussies, all the new Penfolds. It’s quite a fancy wine review selection.
Still, my eyes glazed over reading them.
Again, that’s because tasting notes do nothing for me. What I did read were the deep dives that make up the meat of this book. Stories on Leeuwin Estate, Cloudburst, Jim Barry Armagh, the 2021 Bordeaux vintage and Australian Grenache are just a start. Delivered with a typical Caillard focus on historical context and detail, these yarns are much more interesting (and I agree with lots of the assertions too – I nodded plenty of times).
Indeed, one of my favourite modern wine books is Andrew Jefford’s The New France, which I like for a whole host of reasons, but especially because Jefford knows the value of context (and he’s a great writer). Pity Jefford never actually wrote that Australian book he promised…
Anyway, I digress. The Wine Journal 2023 gets at least 3.5 on the Australian Wine Review book review scale, with four stars for the stories alone. Worth a read on your next overseas flight (which is my favourite time for paperbacks).
Now, I don’t normally do this, and there is zero in it for me (besides helping get more wine books out there), but if you use the code OZWINE on the Wine Journal website this book is $19.79 inc. delivery for orders before Christmas.
There you go!
P.S. Yes, I know the paradox of criticising wine reviews on a wine review website. But that’s why you come here – less fruity descriptions and more about why you should drink more Riesling. Let’s call it the Australian Wine Review Difference (trademark is in the mail).
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Thanks Andrew, that’s one christmas present sorted now.