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The Illustrated Greek Wine Book

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I first met Nico Manessis in 1994, at the Oenorama Wine Show. Affable, ebullient, he spoke with ardor of Greek wine matters: of the impressive development of Greek wines. The improvement of their quality, he was saying, could only open new commercial horizons, and he believed that his books (The Greek Wine Guide 1994, 1995, 1996) could serve as a contributing factor. He was not at all wrong. The number of producers is substantial for whom foreign markets were opened thanks to these books and their author's indefatigable efforts.

Presently, following the publication and exhaustion of his previous books and, in his words, "eight years, 37,000 kilometers and 2,100 nautical miles later", his most mature work to date - The Illustrated Greek Wine Book - is in circulation in the Greek as well as international markets via the Internet.

This new book, released in the year 2000, is mostly given - as were his previous works - to wine tasting notes and the profiling of wine producers. The description of the characters, carefully worked with Nicos' known love for people, bring the reader close to the personalities behind the effort, the quality leap, of Greek wine-making. Small details related to the history of the wineries, of the simple people involved beyond the owners, elements which would have been overlooked by another author, are those which not only specially mark The Illustrated Greek Wine Book but also allow it to touch the reader - even the one with little knowledge of Greek wine reality. This is accomplished without ignoring for an instant the importance of the raw material for the production of quality wines: the grapes.

As is usual in such instances, the wine tasting notes give rise to reactions from some producers and businessmen. However, in the end no one can question either Nicos Manessis' ability in this regard, or his integrity and impartiality.

Chapters such as the ones on the grape lexicon, Greek wine classification, the vintage report, the wine roads of Macedonia, as well as aids for the proper pronunciation of the truly difficult names of Greek varieties and appellations, as well as the guide for an easier understanding of Greek labels, constitute significant aids in understanding modern Greek wine-making.

The entire effort is set in context and enriched by texts from recognized authorities in the field, contributors such as Ilias Anagnostakis (Over the wine-dark sea: tracing Greek wine through the Middle Ages), Christos Karras (Back to the vineyard: bringing quality into the new Millennium), Diane Kochilas (Hunting for treasure in the Greek kitchen), Maggie McNie (Reaping the export harvest: now is the time for action), Maria Netsika (Greek wine classification), Avi Sharon (George Katsimbalis: Henry Miller's guide to Greek wine), Nicolas Vivas (Cradled in oak: a technical look at casks and the aging of wine), Yiannis Voyiatzis (Learning from the grapes: the art of cask-aging Greek wine), and, naturally, the exceptional photography of Constantinos Pittas.

This is the definitive reference work on greek wine for all those who love wine throughout the world.

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