When oenophile meets bibliophile… these are my three wine book picks of 2019.
How’s this for a Christmas present idea? Spoil the wine-lover in your life with one of these books, paired with a matching bottle of wine, of course.
Kanonkop: The Making Of A Legend
Known as South Africa’s ‘first growth’ Kanonkop Estate is one of the most iconic estates in the country. It has a richly storied past that includes some of the Cape’s greatest winemakers. Founded in 1929 by the legendary Paul Sauer, Kanonkop released its first bottled estate wine in 1973, and has been producing some of South Africa’s finest wines ever since. Local wine-writer Emile Joubert has an intimate history with the estate and was the perfect choice to write this book. He’s captured the story artfully with thoughtful insights in his inimitable style.
Expect colourful profiles on previous winemakers, Jan Boland Coetzee and Beyers Truter as well as on current cellarmaster, Abrie Beeslaar. History, the story of the land, some hilarious tales (like turning Bill Clinton away for a tasting…) as well as each of Kanonkop’s classic wines are discussed in detail. Any wine lover, historian or for that matter, passionate South African would be delighted to find this under the tree.
Pair with: Paul Sauer 2016 (R650)
Buy the book: R495 – Order it here
The World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition: Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson
This year I began my diploma course in WSET, suffice to say it means reading a lot of wine theory. There are many recommended books on world wines to help with the course, but one trumps all others and it’s The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson. It’s the ultimate reference book on wine, and it happily sits on my desk within arms reach; the world of wine is ever-evolving and the 8th edition is the ultimate guide to it. It’s not just informative, but it also has a wealth of cartography (with 22 new maps) as well as beautiful photography and succinct writing by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, the world’s most respected wine-writing duo.
Pair with: Saurwein, Chi Riesling 2019 (R200). Jancis recently loved this wine, her review: “Cuts right through the palate – very brisk and precise. Very edgy and super-refreshing. Very bright fruit indeed and a dry impression. Still a little chewy but it should age well. Possibly the best South African Riesling I have tasted. 16.5/20 ”
Buy the book: I found mine on Loot for R798, at other retailers expect to pay between R1000 and R1500. Order it here
Platter’s Wine Guide 2020
There’s so much to love about this guide, including its colour! Dubbed Karoo night sky, it will make a handsome addition to any bookshelf. Not just good-looking, but packed full of useful information too—the 40th anniversary edition features over 8,000 wines from more than 900 producers. Wines are star-rated with 100-point equivalents, and the guide also offers you introductions and updates to the producers and detailed notes on their wines. It’s the ultimate wine tasting companion, hence it’s portable size!
Pair with: Mullineux Syrah 2017 (R335). Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines were named Platter’s Winery of the Year, and syrah is their calling card.
Buy the book: R295
Order it here
Written by Malu Lambert, food and wine writer. Malu Lambert is an award-winning wine writer. She won the title of Emerging Wine Writer of the Year at Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2019. She also won the Veritas Young Wine Writer in 2015.