The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars in the World Hardcover – Dec 1 2009
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Almost all of these are hardly "beautiful" cellars, for one thing. Famous, yes. Historic, yes. Rustic, primitive, most certainly.
For most of these are historic underground cavern-type cellars of famous chateaux, hotels, restaurants, etc, many going back hundreds of years. Almost all are simply caves carved out of the basement stone underneath, such as limestone. Almost all the photos simply show old wines laying on their sides on stone shelves in these caves, gathering dust over the decades. Anyone seriously into wine has seen this type of old chateau cellar many times before, and a book full of them is of little value for the extremely high price.
The two 5-star endlessly-gushing reviews here are to me highly suspect. For one thing, they were both written within two weeks of each other, some two years ago. And, oh, my, one reviewer calls these 300 "stunning" photos, no less. No, they're not "stunning", they're just photos of old wine cellars. Not a single one "stunned" me, I assure you, and I do in fact get occasionally stunned by outstanding photography.
The other 5-star cheerleader chirps valuable insights such as "one sees that for some wine collectors and connoisseurs, wine can be like fine art." Gosh, that's deep. And: "seen in some photographs is the dust accumulated on the old bottles." OMG, I must rush out and plop down $60 for such revealing imagery!! Good Lord, anybody who's been halfway into fine wine for more than 10 minutes has seen endless pictures of old wine bottles sitting in old wine cellars gathering dust, a book full of such pictures will interest someone for maybe one leaf-through, and that's about it.
Caveat emptor, as they say. Make sure you can send this one back if you decide to waste your time on it anyway.
The book on wine cellars made up largely of photographs of them brings in both the old and the new. Among the newer areas are the United States and Canada, Lebanon, and China too. Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Monaco are among European areas brought in which have not been traditionally identified as areas associated with fine wines. And as wine cellars is the topic, the wines cellars of outstanding hotels expands the geographical area even more; though most of the hotels are in cities or regions with ties to the modern international wine trade. There are also photographs of wine cellars of private homes, one cellar containing more than 80,000 bottles in six cellars throughout the home. This variety of cellars brings a new perspective on the subject of wine to many readers. One sees that for some wine collectors and connoisseurs, wine can be like fine art.
The sequence of the wine cellars from older to newer roughly follows both the geographical spread of the development of new wine areas and interest in wine and also the development of wine cellars. Each cellar is introduced with a short essay on its origin, history, size, etc. It is the photographs especially though which highlight such developments in the field of wine and wine cellars. Catacomb-like ancient wine cellars have kegs of wine and wine bottles stacked one on top of the other in rows in recesses of tunnel-like or cavernous areas. Seen in some photographs is the dust accumulated on the old bottles. Later and modern-day wine cellars have better lighting, clearer organization, designer compartments and fixtures, wood and metal construction, and in some cases art work and furniture. Modern cellars are meant to be showcases as well as practical in that particular wines can readily be found for showing or use, not simply the storage areas for the keeping and maturation of wine of the early wine cellars. Despite the marked differences in styles over the centuries, the proper storage of wine involving temperature, ventilation, light, and other factors remains the same. Wine cellars old and modern allow for these essential considerations.
Brought into wine cellars they would never otherwise see, readers come into contact with the romance of wine from the artful photographs. The photographs also allow architects and interior designers to get ideas for cellars. Most broadly, the book makes an outstanding gift book for any wine lover.