Decanter book reviews

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Books, Vineyard at End of World

The Vineyard at the End of the World Ian Mount WW Norton & Company, £17.99

American journalist Ian Mount arrived with his wife in Argentina in 2005 on what they planned as a 12-month move. But like so many of the foreigners Mount interviews in his book, they fell in love with the country and stayed. He soon discovered that there were no ‘serious’ books about Argentina’s wine history at a time when its wines were booming in the US.

After comprehensive research including more than 120 first-hand interviews, Mount takes readers through 400 years of Argentinian wine history: from the beginnings in the 16th century, to the arrival 300 years later of the immigrants who would shape the local wine industry, and the otherwise unwritten last two decades of history and rebirth of Malbec. This book is about more than a vineyard. Its broader appeal lies in how Mount smartly sets Argentina’s wine history in a wider context while providing an intimate account. As they learn about Argentina, readers will also be taken through Europe’s phylloxera devastation, the rise of US critic Robert Parker and  French consultant Michel Rolland, and the US wine market, to give a few examples.

The crucial past 20 years of Argentina’s wine revolution are meticulously built up by stories told by the key movers and shakers themselves. Mount also provides humorous and personal insights into the Argentinian character and culture. The Vineyard at the End of the World is written in a relaxed yet authoritative style, making it an engaging read for those with an interest in both wine and Argentina.

Marina Gayan MW

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