Modern wine writing

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

The 20th century saw a great resurgence in wine writing, particularly in Britain. Much of the credit has been laid at the door of Professor George saintsbury, whose vinous reminiscences, Notes on a Cellar-Book (1920), were written when he was 75 years old. While this erudite miscellany of thoughts is an enjoyable read, there are many who consider it overrated despite its commercial success. (It was reprinted twice within four months and has run through many editions since.)

What it did prove, however, was that there was a demand for books on wine and authors soon appeared to satisfy that demand. In the main, they fall into two fields, the reminiscent and the relevant. One of the finest of the former is H. Warner Allen, a journalist with a deep love for wine and its history. Much of his work is memories of bottles of vintages long past. His A History of Wine (1961) is, however, necessary reading for any wine enthusiast. Others who might be said to be in this group were Maurice Healy and Stephen Gwynn. All of them were highly educated men, for whom drinking fine wines was a part of everyday life.