Mitchell Beazley $26
Matt Skinner is a mate of Jamie Oliver’s who invited him to London (from home town Melbourne) in 2002 to head up wine at “Fifteen” and to teach the subject to its students.
As a result he now has a huge international profile within the wine industry and among serious wine consumers (a category I fit into!).
The Juice 2008 is the third time this annual has appeared and in this edition Skinner has grouped the wines into five sections so you can choose to “drink- within a budget”,
“dine – in style”, “give – for whatever reason”, splurge – the rent money”, or just “stash – for a special date”.
He also has his own Juice awards, wine tips, along with lists of stockists and websites.
The book has a heavy Australian bias as you might expect, I found Villa Maria, Craggy Range & Te Mata wines listed along with five NZ stockists, and of course it faces heavy competition from similar NZ titles from the likes of the prolific and highly regarded Michael Cooper and Joelle Thomson.
However Matt Skinner in his introduction urges us to step outside our comfort zones, spend a bit more on our wines, try new varieties and new styles from new producers and I guess that is pretty sound advice. Owning this pocket-sized, attractive guide will be a step in that direction.
The title Matt Skinner is best known for is the more substantial “thirsty work” published in 2006 by Australian publishers Hardie Grant Books which I reviewed in May this year.