Studying the wines of France? We’ve got you covered

Studying the wines of France? We’ve got you covered

If you’re planning your wine studies for 2024, whether MW, WSET or any other qualification, Académie du Vin Library and Classic Wine Library’s comprehensive list of books on France is an indispensable aid

In terms of history, diversity and complexity, France is the world’s greatest wine country. Italy might have more indigenous grape varieties, Georgia a more ancient wine culture, Australia older vineyards, California more diverse soils – but for sheer breadth of wine culture, France stands alone.

There’s breathtaking diversity at every level. In the Loire you can compare luscious, honeyed Vouvrays with the flinty precision of Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre; the Bordelais make the world’s most age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as well as the world’s most sought-after sweet wines; the Burgundians have been perfecting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since the Middle Ages; they invented skin contact in the Jura; no-one understands the power of the sun better than the winemakers of the Rhône valley, nor mountains the vignerons of Alsace; there are many wonderful sparkling wines in the world but few would disagree that for complexity and longevity, Champagne is hard to beat. The list goes on.

As a student, or a collector or an aficionado, such a cornucopia can be bewildering. Where do you start? Perhaps you are on the path to specialization – but should you deep-dive into the Côte-Rôtie or the Côte de Nuits, the Jura or St Julien?

At Académie du Vin Library and Classic Wine Library we have the expertise to start you on your journey through the wines of France.

The Classic Wine Library’s list includes books such as Rosemary George’s The Wines of the Languedoc (her other French titles cover Faugères, Roussillon and Chablis) and Matt Walls’ The Wines of the Rhône.

For those studying Burgundy, Raymond Blake’s Côte d’Or: The Wines and Winemakers of the Heart of Burgundy details the history, the culture, the people, the place, the geography and the climate of this most complex of wine regions.

Equally important are Nicholas Faith’s books on Cognac and Champagne – and the more recent addition to the list, Anthony Rose’s Fizz, Champagne and the Sparkling Wines of the World.

Académie du Vin Library’s collection too caters for students of wine - and for every level from collector to historian to curious imbiber. 

Hugh Johnson’s The Story of Wine (‘He’s handing out illuminations to his readers’, said Tamlyn Currin on sits alongside our classic anthologies On Burgundy, On Champagne and On Bordeaux.

For lovers of fine photography, Jon Wyand’s 4 Seasons in Côte Chalonnaise is a hymn to the beauty of this part of Burgundy. Wyand, winner of the Errazuriz Photographer of the Year and the Louis Roederer Artistry of Wine Award is one of wine’s most lauded photographers.

For those concerned with the history of wine, The Bordeaux Club tells the story of twelve characters as extraordinary in their way as the rare clarets they celebrated, an immensely readable – and often shocking – account of a now-bygone age.

In autobiography, From Bordeaux to the Stars is the late Jean-Michel Cazes’ story – that of a man who ended his life as one of Bordeaux’s most loved grandees; Steven Spurrier’s A Life In Wine details our founder’s progress from a young man-about-town to the creator of the Paris Tasting, and long beyond.

We cover much more than the famous regions. Our expert authors shine their light into every corner of France. Wink Lorch’s Jura Wine (6,000 sales and counting) and Wines of the French Alps are ‘an indispensable reference’, Jon Bonné wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle; Andrew Jefford and Oz Clarke, in their collections Drinking with the Valkyries and Oz Clarke On Wine, treat us to the wisdom of decades of experience.

Coming this year from Classic Wine Library are Beverley Blanning MW on the Loire, Natasha Hughes MW on Beaujolais, Rod Phillips on the wines of south-west France,  and Mary Gorman-McAdams MW on the white wines of Bordeaux.

‘It’s the history and stories about a wine that bring it to life and make it worth talking about’, Steven Spurrier said when asked what inspired him to start Académie du Vin Library back in 2017.

Spurrier’s mission was to bring wine to life. In every one of our books, we like to think we’re carrying that torch. Books that make wine worth talking about are worth talking about.



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