Book review: 1000 Great Wines That Won’t Cost a Fortune

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1000 Great Wines That Won’t Cost a Fortune

Editor-In-Chief Jim Gordon


Dorling Kindersley


I thought that Jim Gordon was the drummer in Derek and The Dominoes. Or was he that bloke played by Gary Oldman in the most recent Batman films? It turns out that he is Editor of Wines and Vines magazine in the USA. And he is Editor-In-Chief of this good-looking book. Sorry Jim – we haven’t met.

Gordon’s foreword asks, “Why do most wine books, magazines, and blogs concentrate on the rarest and most expensive wines in the world – wines made for once-in-a-lifetime events – when what most of us want is really a good bottle to open tonight?” Bravo!

The book’s emphasis is on “fantastic second wines from Bordeaux châteaux, compelling house reds from California vineyards, undervalued white varietals from Germany, and hundreds of other buys.” Not sure that I’d call South Africa and Argentina “emerging stars”, though – they’re well established in the UK market. Maybe they have less presence in the USA.

The book starts with a visual non sequitur – a photo of a bottle of Château Haut-Brion, which is a great wine but it will definitely cost a fortune. It’s nice to see some Brazilian wines though Miolo – overseen by the ubiquitous Rolland – is not exactly a bargain. I’m also delighted to see St Hallett’s Gamekeeper’s Reserve here. It’s one of my house reds and a cracking good drink, though sadly not the bargain it once was – the UK £ / Aussie $ exchange rate is painful at the moment.

Capably edited by David Williams, 1000 Great Wines That Won’t Cost a Fortune is an entertaining mix of pithy profiles and recommendations and a beginners’ guide to wine. It’s not quite sure what it wants to be. But it’s a good read for those wanting to learn more about wine.

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