A Life Uncorked / Edition 1

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Hugh Johnson, the preeminent wine writer of our time, now brings to his fans around the world his first major new book in a decade: this stylish, intimate, and delightfully opinionated autobiographical tour through the world of wine. A Life Uncorked weaves Johnson’s wide-ranging ruminations, memories, and observations on his remarkable life together with information on every aspect of wine—from its technical production to its cultural significance.
In luminous, utterly engaging prose, he taps into his enormous experience to consider topics such as tasting, cellaring, choosing, understanding, comparing, and buying wine, as well as wine’s more ephemeral and personal pleasures, lures, and mysteries.

At the heart of A Life Uncorked is the idea that wine is more than a drink; its characteristics link it directly to memory, to locations around the world where grapes are grown and wine is made, and to the dining rooms, restaurants, bars, and gardens where we consume it. Johnson takes us to all of these places and many more in this delightful and revelatory memoir. Peppered with anecdotes throughout, A Life Uncorked simultaneously educates and entertains with its absorbing perspective on the complex and fascinating world of wine from one of its most well-known and well-liked aficionados.

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Editorial Reviews

Adam Platt
Wine writing tends to be either chalk dry or perversely florid, but Johnson manages to cultivate a literate, self-deprecating style. He apologizes in advance for a particularly baroque description of a red Burgundy from Château Figeac ("This is a long attempt, but you can always turn the page"), and, in a fit of cheery, un-Parker-like self-doubt, admits that a cliché or two may have found their way into his book. He's right, but it doesn't really matter. Hugh Johnson has done enough scholarly heavy lifting during the course of his career to indulge in as many jolly stories as he wants.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Writing about wine is only one of British author Johnson's (The World Atlas of Wine) many incursions into the high life, as he recounts in this impressive 40-year journey. World travel, gardening, glassmaking and grape growing (at his own vineyard in Bourbonnais, France) have alternately warranted his attention since he began his career as a journalist in 1960 as British Vogue's first wine writer. Under the tutelage of legends Andr Simon and Elizabeth David, the young editor came of age, and he tracks his career milestones in terms of notable vintages, e.g., 1975 was a great year for Bordeaux, and the year he began his monthly column as pseudonymous Tradescant in the British journal The Garden; 1982 was the year of "marvelous clarets," and when Johnson helped launch Cuisine magazine as its wine editor. Convinced that great wine and glassware evolved together (in the 17th century), Johnson was even a purveyor of glass and silver for wine drinkers from his shop in London. His memoir proceeds following broad categories of wine-bubbly, white, red and sweet-each chapter replete with memories of remarkable trips, vintages, vineyards and people. Johnson opens his notebooks and the oenophile's lifetime experience richly spills forth. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Oenophiles, rejoice! If you've ever wanted a book chock-full of wine lore from an entertaining writer, then Johnson's (Pocket Wine Book) fascinating memoir, an engaging voyage through the world of wine, from the vineyard to the bottle to the glass, is for you. One of its strengths is Johnson's intermingling of personal reflections on wines he has loved with his more technical explanations of the process of winemaking. It is a heady and fascinating combination that serves to educate and amuse the reader. This extremely attractive volume, with more than 200 color illustrations, addresses such topics as tasting, cellaring, choosing, comparing, and buying wine. Knowledgeable wine enthusiasts will unearth novel tidbits of information while novice wine drinkers will discover much to fuel their newfound hobby. The index is an indispensable addition owing to the numerous references to wines or regions within the text that most readers will certainly want to revisit. Recommended for larger and medium-sized public libraries.-Shelley Brown, Richmond P. L., Vancouver, BC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520248502
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,351,530
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Hugh Johnson, widely regarded as the world's foremost wine writer, is known to millions through his internationally best-selling wine books, including his annual Pocket Wine Book, The World Atlas of Wine, Wine, The Story of Wine, and How to Enjoy Your Wine. A highly respected editor and broadcaster, Johnson has been president of the Sunday Times Wine Club since 1973 and of the Circle of Wine Writers since 1997. He has appeared in several television series. Johnson was the first wine editor of Vogue and is an editorial advisor to The World of Fine Wine. Johnson, who is also passionate about gardening and trees, is author of The International Book of Trees and Principles of Gardening: The Practice of the Gardener’s Art. For thirty years, he has written the monthly Tradescant’s Diary column for The Garden magazine.

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Table of Contents


Index and Acknowledgements

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