Detailed and well researched, this book dives deep into the history and production of champagne, including the fact that, in the U.S., people often use the term to mean any “sparkling wine.” Ruhland points out the inaccuracy of this generalization in no uncertain terms: true champagne only comes from the eponymous region in France. To help readers discover the variety that best suits their tastes, he thoroughly examines available champagnes and why each is unique. His tone is acerbic at times, but his occasionally forceful language is rooted in love–he respects wine producers, and he worries about their future as climate change takes hold.
Ruhland has created an essential and informative guide for dedicated drinkers, though readers without at least a cursory interest in champagne might not be converted. He adeptly connects his impassioned arguments with anecdotes and obscure bits of knowledge that enhance curiosity and intrigue–for example, bubbles make people happy, but they also serve an important function in giving champagne–and sparkling wines–its flavor. Perhaps most importantly, Ruhland wants everyone to remember that champagne isn’t just for parties: “Drink champagne whenever you feel like it. Seriously, if there is only one thing you take away from this book, I hope that is it.”
Takeaway: Ruhland’s conversational guide examines all things champagne, especially the best ways to understand and enjoy it.
Great for fans of: Tilar J. Mazzeo’s The Widow Clicquot, Michael Edwards’s The Champagne Companion.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-