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"A Perfect Companion"

  by Fred McMillin

Foppiano is a leading California producer of Petite Sirah.

The Oxford Companion to Wine, edited by Jancis Robinson, contains about 3,000 entries arranged alphabetically on 1,085 pages.

Some tidbits:

In medieval London, how was a merchant punished if he was caught adulterating wine?
Answer—He was forced to drink it.

Is the largest wine-producing region in France Bordeaux or Burgundy?
Answer—Neither. It is Languedoc in south-central France, with more acres of vines than the U.S.A. Earlier, the inhabitants spoke a language called Occitang. Thus, the region's name, "langue d'Oc" or LANGUEDOC.

In the early 198Os Bulgaria was producing a very large volume of competently-made, inexpensive wines exported to western Europe. Who stopped the successful program and had vast tracts of vines uprooted?
Answer—Gorbachev. When he became Soviet premier, he reduced wine production as part of an effort to curb alcohol consumption.

Since Petite Sirah has virtually disappeared in its land of origin, France, is California the sole remaining major producer?
Answer—As of 1990, another country had as many acres of Petite as California: Argentina.

The first federal American Viticultural Area was established fairly recently, 1980. Naturally, it was in California?
Answer—Nope. The U.S.A.'s first AVA was in Missouri.

Andre Simon, 1877—1970, was the grand old gastronome of London. It was there he founded The International Wine and Food Society in 1933, and its Wine & Food Journal in 1934, which he edited for three decades. Was he born in London?
Answer—Hardly. He was a French citizen his entire life, did not take up the English language seriously until age 17, and did not leave France for England until he was 25.


If I could own only one book about wine, this would be it.


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