Bettane and Desseauve's Guide to the Wines of France
Sit down with a book when it's too hot to cook
Reviewed by Wes Marshall, Fri., May 27, 2011
Bettane and Desseauve's Guide to the Wines of Franceby Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 832 pp., $35
If you have any interest in French wines – and you should – then there is no better single guide to that celebrated region than the encyclopedic Guide to the Wines of France. The two men have been deeply involved with France's premier wine publication, La Revue du Vin, for almost 30 years. Pick any distinguished name in American wine journalism, and these two men are equally famous and influential in France. Part of the joy of just paging through this book is that it doesn't just dwell on the wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux. They even pay attention to the underappreciated wines of Jura and Corsica. There is a helpful discussion of each region and its varietals, and none of it is ever stuffy, boring, or pedantic. They daringly score wines and rank wineries, offering cogent tasting notes to validate their findings. Kudos, too, to the publishers, who have delivered a book that is beautiful, easy to use, and feels like you're getting far more than your money's worth. This is the definitive handbook to the world's most fascinating wine area; I can't imagine it being surpassed.