Southern Europe

Southern Europe

Some of the world’s oldest wine-producing areas are in southern Europe; this collection brings together three of today’s most exciting. Wine has been produced in Greece for thousands of years, and the ancient Greeks even had a god for wine. After years in turmoil Greek wine is now finding its way back onto wine lists world wide – in The wines of Greece, Konstantinos Lazarakis MW explains why. In Amarone and the fine wines of Verona, Michael Garner looks at the versatile wines of the northern Italian regions of Soave and Valpolicella. Deliciously drinkable yet relatively affordable they are a wine explorer’s dream. The third book in the collection, Wines of the Languedoc, sees Rosemary George MW take an in-depth look at one of the first parts of France to grow grapes for wine, tasting with and talking to the producers who are currently reviving its status as one of the world’s great wine regions.

Softcover Book
 

Price: $83.50

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Amarone and the fine wines of Verona book cover Amarone and the fine wines of Verona

The Veronese wine regions of Soave and Valpolicella – home to Amarone – are currently producing some of the world’s most drinkable quality wines. But both regions still struggle with a reputation for cheap, poor-quality wines brought about through industrial-scale production during the economic depression following the Second World War. In Amarone and the fine wines of Verona, Italian wine specialist Michael Garner traces a shift in focus towards new levels of quality driven by a generation of producers inspired by the area’s outstanding potential for producing fine wine.
Both regions produce versatile wines which, as well as being both deliciously drinkable and relatively affordable, have the flavour and structure to accompany a wide range of foods. In Valpolicella an appassimento wine, the famed Amarone, has gained comparable status to Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino, while Soave overlaps with the tiny denomination of Lessini Durello, where sparkling wine is produced from the rare, local white grape Durella.
Garner begins Amarone and the fine wines of Verona with a summary of the region’s history, before detailing its geography, grape varieties and approach to both viticulture and winemaking, leading into a discussion of each denomination’s character and wine styles. A cross-section of around 100 producers provides a capsule profile of each along with analysis of some of their best and most distinctive wines.
For students of wine, those in the wine business and wine adventurers alike, Amarone and the fine wines of Verona provides a gateway to a sorely misunderstood wine region.

The wines of Greece

The history of wine production in Greece dates back more than four millennia, yet for many consumers and aficionados Greek wine is still synonymous with the retsina they drank in tavernas as tourists. Here, Master of Wine Konstantinos Lazarakis argues that to dismiss Greek wine in this way today is to miss out on an array of varied and vibrant wines – even retsina, in the hands of boutique producers, has become a drink worthy of a second chance.

From the foothills of Mount Olympus to the plain of Thessaly in Central Greece and scattered across the vast number of islands, each of Greece’s vineyards has its own challenges, history and varieties. Yet terroir, in Greece, goes far beyond soil-types and weather conditions – it emanates from the culture of the country and the spirit of a people whose ancestors even had a god for wine.

The wines of Greece begins with a summary of Greece’s wine history, geography and grape varieties. The many responses of vine growers and winemakers to the land have created a host of different wines – sweet wines from Samos, the famed Malvasia from the Peloponnese and new, surprising wines from oenological innovators throughout the country. It is to the work of these winemakers that the bulk of the book is dedicated; Lazarakis has tirelessly explored Greece’s 700 wineries and here focuses on some of the most inventive producers and interesting wines available.

Greek wine is on the brink of a new era; anybody curious to rediscover a lost gem of winemaking will have their enthusiasm charged by this lovingly written book.

Languedoc front cover Wines of the Languedoc

The Languedoc is a land of mountains, sea and Cathar castles in the south of France. For much of its history the region has also been seen as the home of rustic table wines with no international reputation. However, over the last 40 years the wines have improved enormously, with innovations in both vineyards and cellars, helped by the development of appellations and IGPs recognizing the individuality of its different areas. Now boasting more than 2,500 wine producers, the Languedoc has attracted interest from around the world, thanks to its affordable land and exciting creative possibilities.

The Languedoc is best known for its spicy reds, often made from one or more of the classic quintet of varieties, Carignan, Cinsaut, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Syrah. However, it is also gaining a reputation for its whites, with the coastal appellation Picpoul de Pinet in particular seeing a rise in popularity, and for its rosés, producing twice as much as its fashionable neighbour Provence. The Languedoc is also home to the world’s oldest sparkling wine, Blanquette de Limoux, and to vins doux naturels in the form of delicious, sweet Muscats.

It is in the twenty-first century above all that the Languedoc has really found its place among the great wine regions. Here, Rosemary George MW profiles a selection of those producers who have made and continue to boost the region’s reputation. Some are newcomers, while others are inheritors of family businesses, many of whom have studied oenology or learned winemaking elsewhere. All are passionate about what they do, continuing to improve their wines with every vintage.  

The Languedoc is one of the world’s largest and most exciting wine regions, making Wines of the Languedoc essential reading for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Some of the world’s oldest wine-producing areas are in southern Europe; this collection brings together three of today’s most exciting. Wine has been produced in Greece for thousands of years, and the ancient Greeks even had a god for wine. After years in turmoil Greek wine is now finding its way back onto wine lists world wide – in The wines of Greece, Konstantinos Lazarakis MW explains why. In Amarone and the fine wines of Verona, Michael Garner looks at the versatile wines of the northern Italian regions of Soave and Valpolicella. Deliciously drinkable yet relatively affordable they are a wine explorer’s dream. The third book in the collection, Wines of the Languedoc, sees Rosemary George MW take an in-depth look at one of the first parts of France to grow grapes for wine, tasting with and talking to the producers who are currently reviving its status as one of the world’s great wine regions.

Details Books

Home town: Athens
Konstantinos Lazarakis MW

Konstantinos Lazarakis MW, a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Masters of Wine, became the first Greek Master of Wine in 2002. He co-founded Wine & Spirits Professional Center, an educational organization that runs Wine & Spirits Education Trust and the Court of Master Sommeliers courses throughout Greece. He consults widely for the Hellenic Exports Organization, Aegean Airlines and Costa Navarino and for wine producers, restaurants and hotels all over the world.

The wines of Greece
Michael Garner

Michael Garner has worked in the wine business for almost 40 years and has specialized in Italian wine for over 30 of those. He is the co-author of Barolo: Tar and Roses, a regular contributor to Decanter, and taught for many years for the WSET. Garner has been a Decanter World Wine Awards judge since 2007 and is a senior judge at Vinitaly International’s 5 Star Wines event.

Amarone and the fine wines of Verona
Rosemary George MW

Rosemary George spent nine years in the wine trade with The Wine Society, Louis Eschenauer (Bordeaux), H Sichel & Sons, Findlater Matta and Les Amis du Vin. In 1979 she became one of the first women to qualify as a Master of Wine. She has written twelve books, covering the Languedoc, Chablis, Tuscany and New Zealand. A former Chairperson and now a Vice-President of the Circle of Wine Writers, she is a contributor to various magazines including Decanter, zesterdaily.com and Sommelier India.

The wines of Faugères, Wines of the Languedoc