Books, Events

Dancing Jancis

jancis robinson

Quick – what was the average number of bottles drunk per person in the UK in 1971? (The same year as the first edition of The World Atlas of Wine was published.)

The spark for the original edition World Atlas of Wine was first ignited just around the corner from where Jancis Robinson, Hugh Johnson and Octopus Publishing launched their 7th edition of The World Atlas of Wine  – in both print and digital versions.

As I lugged the tome home last night through Soho, I thought – I must get the digital version. Maps come alive on a tablet. And it would be very handy for carry-on luggage. Although there’s something about having a book beside you when you are drinking a wine (or studying – this is an essential read for WSET students). I love randomly opening a page to find something new about Japan, Slovenia or Piemonte. Both have their own advantages.

As an aside, Hugh Johnson explained the original reason for the The World Atlas of Wine. At the time, Mitchell Beazley wanted to make maps more interesting. “Are maps important for wine?” No, that’s not a rhetorical question. Maps are one of my favourite things about wine. As Hugh said, they are the most condensed and efficient way to convey information. When he first saw the maps in the digital version, all he could say was –  “Miraculous!”**

So, what wines would be sloshed at a party held by these two giants in wine?

Mirroring the Atlas itself, the wines were eclectic. The choice reflecting how the Atlas has grown (as much as the wine world and the wine drinking public): a white Istrian Malvasija from Franco Cattunar; a red wine from China, 2008 Chateau Changyu Moser; and a sparkling English wine, Wyfold Traditional Method Brut 2010.

It goes without saying this is a must-buy, an essential read for students, and a welcome update to this ever-useful reference book. Congrats.

Answer: 4 bottles. FOUR! Yes, I’m not joking – per year!

* Dancing Jancis is a homage to my favourite tasting note of Jancis Robinson for 1999 Langoa Barton (oh, and the beautiful dress she wore complete with tulle petticoat):

“Deep, healthy crimson. Quite complex. Well balanced and lively. Dancing. Fleshier than the Léoville. Good wine!” 17/20

** If you love maps and digital books, another must-buy for Burgundy fanatics and Burgundy map fanatics is Jasper Morris’ Inside Burgundy e-books. With the Atlas, you are well-armed for En Primeurs in a few weeks time.