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Winepassports: France: The Handy Guide to French Wines    by Jennifer Elias Amazon.com order for
Winepassports: France
by Jennifer Elias
Order:  USA  Can
Quirk, 2007 (2007)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Winepassports: France is one of a set of pocket guides - with simple pop-out maps - for different wine regions around the world. They're handy to carry, whether to the local wine store or on a tasting tour of the region concerned.

The small booklet begins with an explanation of the French system for wine classification, then moves on to cover: Sparklings + RosÚs; Whites/Vins Blancs; and Reds/Vins Rouges. For each, there are brief introductions to regions and grapes, with interesting asides, like the meaning of vins gris, or what can be assumed from the shapes of French wine bottles.

There's useful advice on Approaching an Overwhelming French Wine List. The Great Grape Chart lists Starring Grapes (such as Gamay) per geographical region (e.g. Burgundy) and Wine Region (Beaujolais in this case). Finally, for those who want to sound like they know what they're tasting, a chart gives typical characteristics for different grapes, e.g. black fruits and black pepper for Syrah.

At the back of this accessible, informative, and succinct booklet is a page for notes and a pop-out map of France's wine regions. Winepassports: France is just the thing to get the budding oenophile started sipping his or her way through French wines.

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