Review: The New Spain - A Complete Guide to Contemporary Spanish Wine
Admittedly I do also drink a fair bit of the stuff and have gained more from this than any amount of vinous literary study. Nevertheless wine books can play a role in guiding us towards better drinking. Two books that stand out for those seeking to explore the wines of Andalusia are Jose Peñín’s annual guide to Spanish wine and John Radford’s The New Spain.
The New Spain is a more leisurely affair. The most recent edition was published in 2005 so it lacks the lacks the bang-up-to-datedness of the Peñín Guide. Whilst there are suggestions as to the best producers in the differing regions of Spain, this is not the place to come looking for information about a specific wine. Instead the focus is very much on the history of each of Spain’s autonomous wine regions.
This magpie-like approach to wine is reflected in the book. Yes, there are major features on the likes of Rioja and detailed profiles of the most famous producers. But there is also four pages covering wine from the Balearics and another two dedicated to the Canary Isles. Perhaps most admirably there is lightness to the writing that makes this book accessible for even the most novices of wine lovers. Until a new edition comes out this remains one of the best introductions to Spain’s diverse wine culture.
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- • John Radford. 2006. The New Spain: A Complete Guide to Contemporary Spanish Wine. London: Mitchell Beazley