Last night was the launch of The Wine Opus, a significant new wine book that is probably the heaviest I’ve yet encountered. The reason it is so heavy is that it is amazingly comprehensive, boasting entries on 4000 of the world’s most exciting wineries, together with introductions to the key regions and attractive maps.
Interestingly, the publishers and editor-in-chief Jim Gordon didn’t go for the obvious suspects when choosing their contributors. They opted for a newer generation of wine writers to bring a fresh approach. I was delighted to be chosen for three of my favourite areas: Portugal, Australia and New Zealand. I think one of the strengths of the book is that the selection of producers does feel quite contemporary. I certainly tried hard to populate my pages with plenty of the rising stars, as well as the established greats.
At the launch party the Wine Society put on a tasting of some of the wines featured in the book (my notes are here), as well as a five-team blind tasting competition. I was part of the Wine Opus Contributors team, along with Jim Gordon, Jane Anson and Emma Rice (pictured above). It was quite tricky identifying the region and grape variety of some of the wines, especially the Languedoc Zinfandel (I didn’t know there was one), but we managed to win, albeit narrowly. The Decanter team came third. Our prize? We each got a nice Dartington crystal decanter.