A Scent of Champagne: 8,000 Champagnes Tasted and Rated

Reviewed by Wes Marshall, Fri., Dec. 6, 2013

More Cookbooks for Under the Tree

by Richard Juhlin
Skyhorse Publishing, 400 pp., $75

This book will have a very enthusiastic and passionate audience. It focuses on one small area in France and the local wine. Champagne is a highly desired commodity sold all over the world, and its fans tend to be mesmerized by the tiny bubbles and toasty aromas found nowhere else in the world. If you fit in that category, you might already know author Juhlin is something of a legend in the wine world for his ability to figure out what he has in his glass in a blind tasting. For instance, in the year 2003, he participated in a blind tasting at the annual Spectacle du Monde tasting event where he correctly identified 43 of the 50 Champagnes he tasted. Most winemakers couldn't get that score tasting their own wines!

A Scent of Champagne contains plenty of information for the curious, including a delightful section on Champagne in the movies and a list of 100 Champagnes you should probably lust after, if you have access to unlimited funds. Champagne, as you know, can get a little pricey. The essence of the book is reviews of the wines themselves. Juhlin doesn't write individual reviews of all 8,000 wines he covers. Instead, he offers a write-up of the winemakers and their procedures to come up with their wine. Then he lists all that he has tasted and gives each of them a 0-100 point score. This is the most illuminating book on Champagne since Tom Stevenson's World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine, which is now eight years old. Even if it were current, Juhlin's is probably the better book and an ideal gift for someone with Champagne tastes.

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