Mapping the world of wine

Since the Internet grew up, I don’t buy many books on paper any more, and I have to tell you that this includes wine books.

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Oh, sure, dozens of hefty wine encyclopedias and other wine-reference books still line my shelves. But truth be told, it’s easier, and often more effective, to check a favorite search engine or post a question on social media when I want to learn about wine, find a vendor or check a wine price, or even browse what’s hot in the wine news.

But there’s one large wine book that I keep on buying even in the online era: The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is just out in its brand-new, expanded 8th Edition, and it’s already placed with pride in my library.

I’ve been buying and updating this edition since the 1980s, and I was eager to get the latest edition. The World Atlas of Wine is the next-best thing to a guided tour of all the world’s wine regions. Categorized by country and region, it includes virtually every wine-growing area in the world in great depth. It covers not only the familiar regions that produce the most popular wines, but digs in to just about every place on Earth that makes wine. Japan and China have been added in recent years; individual pages for Cyprus, Brazil and Uruguay, among others, are new in this edition.

Napa Valley in high topographical detail from the World Atlas of Wine.

Napa Valley in high topographical detail from the World Atlas of Wine.

It will come as no surprise to those who know Johnson and Robinson that crisp, literate narrative surrounds its scenic pictures. But of course this is, after all, an atlas, and its greatest strength is surely the fine, detailed topographical maps of almost every wine region in the world.

If you love the land and the geography behind wine, The World Atlas of Wine is a must-have, if you don’t own it already. What’s more, it’s a wonderful holiday gift for the wine lover or wine lovers in your life.

The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, 8th Edition, lists for $65, and it’s frankly worth it. But you can get it from for $34.49, just pocket change over half-price.

If you decide to buy, and use this link to place your order, we’ll get a small commission on each sale at, and for that, thanks in advance!


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Black Friday starts now: Save on Wine Gifts

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Today’s Tasting Report

Porto Kopke Special Reserve ($28.99)

Porto Kopke

Porto Kopke Special Reserve, formerly known as Late Bottled Vintage, is made from a typical Douro blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz grapes. Dark purple in color, it starts with a shy but deep black-fruit scent. Black plums and blackberries come on in a full-bodied, acidic flavor with firm but palatable tannins alongside. Its sturdy 19.5% alcohol is typical for a Port, and to its credit, doesn’t show up as undesirable heat. U.S. importer: Sogevinus Fine Wines USA Inc., Bellevue, Wash. (Nov. 27, 2019)

FOOD MATCH: Port is fine for sipping by itself, ideally on a chilly evening with a roaring fire in the fireplace. It also went well with light bites: Thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano, chopped pecans, and even dark bittersweet chocolate.

WHEN TO DRINK: Reserve Ruby Ports generally don’t improve with bottle age, but on the other hand they would take a long time to deteriorate. Drink it any time you like. Once opened, it’s best to finish the bottle within a few weeks.

Pricing in the $25 to $30 range is more than fair for this good-quality Special Reserve Port.

Here’s a tech sheet on Kopke Reserve Ruby on the producer’s website.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: currently shows only limited listings for Porto Kopke Special Reserve, but check in periodically as supplies may turn up.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find listings for dozens of other Reserve Ruby Ports.


More affordable wines

Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10 or less that I’ve told you about during the past year or two. Please tell us about your favorites!

  • La Vieille Ferme Vin de France Rosé ($8.99)
  • La Fiera Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8.99)
  • Laroque Cité de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc ($9.99)
  • Domaine de Pouy 2016 Côtes de Gascogne ($7.99)
  • Alamos Mendoza Malbec ($9.99)
  • Caposaldo Chianti ($8.99)
  • d’Arenberg McLaren Vale “The Stump Jump” ($9.99)

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