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edited by Sue Courtney
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Featured Publication
September 24th 2000

Confessions of a Wine Lover
by Jancis Robinson

Cover of Confessions
published 1997
by the Penguin Group
ISBN 0-670-87812-X

I first heard of Jancis Robinson when her television show, 'The Wine Programme' screened in the late 1980's. Deciding to learn more about wine I purchased her third book, a practical wine tasting course called Masterglass, which I loved. Since then I've purchased most of Robinson's books and have a copy of her BBC Wine Course videos. I even had the fortune to meet her when she visited NZ in 1996.

I love the friendly and informative way she writes and talks about wine without seeming to preaching or lecture. So when I received 'Confessions of a Wine Lover' as a Christmas present a couple of years ago, I was anticipating the reading with pleasure.

And as I started reading, I could hear Robinson's voice as though she was telling me her story in person.

But is not a story that starts at the beginning and ends at the end. For me, the story I was wanted to read, didn't start until Chapter 2 - Liquid Magic - The Birth of a Wine Writer. And I particularly loved the story how Jancis first tasted wine. For her experiences were very similar to mine - working in a tourist hotel away from home. But that's where the similarity ends, I'm afraid.

Along with the personal bits, which is really the untold story of Jancis Robinson, there were the endless wine tastings, winery visits, wine touring and recounts of meeting the best producers the world over. All told in the unique Jancis Robinson way.

But for readers unfamiliar with the British wine scene and Jancis' background, some of the people referred to and some of the places mentioned would be a mystery. But like a good mystery the solution comes later in the book. Nick, 'the partner' is one example. I kept wanting to know the answer to my question 'Just when did you two get married?'

I'll have to admit that sometimes I questioned the need of the excessive use of adjectives (which toned down later in the book) and a couple of times I lost my way as the stories did not always flow one into the next.

But nevertheless, Jancis fans will love the book as I did. I've read it twice and I will read it again.

Jancis is a icon and an inspiration for all women who want more out of wine than just conviviality.

I've had this book for ages, so you are probably wondering why I posting this review to my web site three years after publication. The reason is the paperback edition has just reached our shores. So the price of the book has halved - from NZ$49.95 to NZ$24.95. I saw the hardcover version sitting alongside the paperback and they hardcover had a 'discounted price' sticker on it.

Footnote: This book is the same as the one titled 'Tasting Pleasure' in some other countries although I believe the cover is different.


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