Hugh Johnson, the preeminent wine writer of our time, now brings to his fans around the world his first major new book in a decade: this stylish, intimate, and delightfully opinionated autobiographical tour through the world of wine. A Life Uncorked weaves Johnson’s wide-ranging ruminations, memories, and observations on his remarkable life together with information on every aspect of wine—from its technical production to its cultural significance. In luminous, utterly engaging prose, he taps into his enormous experience to consider topics such as tasting, cellaring, choosing, understanding, comparing, and buying wine, as well as wine’s more ephemeral and personal pleasures, lures, and mysteries.
At the heart of A Life Uncorked is the idea that wine is more than a drink; its characteristics link it directly to memory, to locations around the world where grapes are grown and wine is made, and to the dining rooms, restaurants, bars, and gardens where we consume it. Johnson takes us to all of these places and many more in this delightful and revelatory memoir. Peppered with anecdotes throughout, A Life Uncorked simultaneously educates and entertains with its absorbing perspective on the complex and fascinating world of wine from one of its most well-known and well-liked aficionados.
Hugh Johnson, widely regarded as the world's foremost wine writer, is known to millions through his internationally best-selling wine books, including his annual Pocket Wine Book, The World Atlas of Wine, Wine, The Story of Wine, and How to Enjoy Your Wine. A highly respected editor and broadcaster, Johnson has been president of the Sunday Times Wine Club since 1973 and of the Circle of Wine Writers since 1997. He has appeared in several television series. Johnson was the first wine editor of Vogue and is an editorial advisor to The World of Fine Wine. Johnson, who is also passionate about gardening and trees, is author of The International Book of Trees and Principles of Gardening: The Practice of the Gardener’s Art. For thirty years, he has written the monthly Tradescant’s Diary column for The Garden magazine.
“It is less a memoir than a personal history of wine’s explosive growth from California to Chile. “—Raina Kelley Newsweek
“Those wine writers whose work can be read as much for sheer pleasure as for incisive instruction are very few, and the best have always been British. None is better than Hugh Johnson, whose new memoir, ``A Life Uncorked,”, has just appeared. . . . Johnson is clearly a writer first and a wine lover second. That he has been able to put his literary talent to the service of his passion and remain the kind of authoritative voice that teaches by telling a good story makes him unique in a world of wine now freighted with numbers and clichés, and lacking in civilized social intercourse.”—John Mariani Bloomberg News
“Wine writing tends to be either chalk dry or perversely florid, but Johnson manages to cultivate a literate, self-deprecating style. . . . Stuffed with family-scrapbook photos, snippets from former books and tasting notes of great wines drunk long ago, this is a remembrance masquerading as a wine primer, masquerading as a coffee-table travel book.”—Adam Platt New York Times Book Review
“The appreciation of wine is based not only in what's in the bottle, but how its contents are perceived. Johnson's perceptions should add greatly to the enjoyment of any wine aficionado's next bottle.”—Linda Murphy San Francisco Chronicle
"His memoir proceeds following broad categories of wine—bubbly, white, red and sweet—each chapter replete with memories of remarkably trips, vintages, vineyards and people. Johnson opens his notebooks and the oenophile's lifetime experience richly spills forth."—Publishers Weekly
“I have always believed that Hugh Johnson is the wine writer of our era. With the publication of this fabulous work, I believe there can be no possible dispute of this title; this work is superb, by far the best wine book I’ve reviewed in years.”—Bob Foster California Grapevine
“His quest to unearth greatness in the glass, or more often to find satisfying simplicity in wines from just about everywhere, is Proustian, indeed. . . .Johnson has continued to extol the mystery of the grape while banning all pretense and snobbery while doing so.”—Todd Wernstrom The Wine News
“Wine memoirs can be as dull as jug wine. Hugh Johnson’s recollections of his privileged and fascinating life as the world’s most popular wine writer is a buoyant exception. Erudite, witty and illuminating. . . . At a time when wine is clinically dissected and coldly evaluated like a blue-chip stock, Johnson’s highly personal and levelheaded perspective is a delight to imbibe.”—Bryan Miller Philadelphia Inquirer
“”An intimate and opinionated autobiographical tour through the world of wine. . . . Peppered with anecdotes throughout, the book simultaneously educated and entertains with its absorbing perspective on the complex and fascinating world of wine from one of its most well known aficionados.”—Wine Business Monthly
“A loving but bittersweet look back at bottles he’s emptied and the people and places that produced them. It’s a world that he treasures, and that he fears is on the way out. . . .He’s a delightful writer who will make you hungry and thirsty, and the rare wine reviewer who can capture the essence of a bottle without resorting to winespeak.”—Eric Asimov New York Times
“The finest wine writer who ever lived is Hugh Johnson. . . .Johnson has an amazing ability to add layer upon layer of nuance to his subjects, at once placing the wines, regions, and people into their own unique frames, and allowing us to sense his passion for them all. . . .It is a life’s passion and a delight coming from such a purposeful man.”—Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences
“This is a memoir with a twist: It’s as much about the history of wine over the past 40-plus years as it is about his life. . . . It’s an easy read that is best enjoyed with a glass or two of Johnson’s own favorite wine: the best Bordeaux you can afford.”—Bon Appetit
"Vintage Johnson—lively, graceful, and satisfying. An engaging read."—Gerald Asher, author of The Pleasures of Wine and Vineyard Tales