Talk is rife in the wine world at the moment, about how Jamie Oliver's head of wine, Matt Skinner, has admitted to not tasting several wines that he recommends in his latest book, The Juice 2010 (published by Mitchell Beazley). You can read all about the scandal on the Decanter website, along with numerous comments from disgruntled readers. All I can say is, why bother publishing an annual wine guide which simply re-hashes tasting notes from previous vintages numerous wines, whilst brazenly attributing them to the latest (un-tasted) vintage? I'm not sure if it breaks any laws, but it is dishonest in the extreme, and really does bring the world of wine writing (not to mention UK wine book publishers) into disrepute.
Anyway, at my suggestion, Peter contacted the University of California Press and recently had a meeting with their wine book editor which, although not entirely unproductive, didn't result in a publishing deal. I'm sure Peter won't mind me relating what he recently told me;
"......If Anthony and I rework our concept....more depth, more history, more culture...then he'd be happy to have another look at it. He's a serious late 30's Senior Editor with an archeological bent, and I feel that our fun but not frivolous (popular?) approach isn't the tone he's looking for. UCPress is of course academically inclined."
I don't have a copy of Peter's first book, but he did send me a bound copy of a special mini-edition, containing 3 of the 12 "routes" from the original book. I have to say that it is far from frivolous - indeed, it is an impressive piece of writing, with excellent photos and maps, plus in-depth profiles of the growers and their wines. There are also a couple of very enthusiastic reviews by Jancis Robinson and Kermit Lynch.
What a shame that such a talented and knowledgeable writer continues to encounter such apathy to a most worthwhile project. All I can say is shame on the UK's main wine book publishers for not getting their hands dirty with real wine books, instead of continuing their policy of churning out re-hashed and regurgitated updates of generic "annual" wine guides.