BOOK REVIEW / Know your wine guide: Nicholas Faith tastes the 1993 vintage

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The Independent Culture
Superplonk: Gluck's Guide to supermarket wine by Malcolm Gluck, Faber & Faber pounds 4.99

A brash work in an artificially sprightly style ('Sainsbury is the Liverpool FC of the wine business') and, as the title implies, Gluck ignores the off-licence chains.

Clarity: ** Readability: * Usefulness: **

Grape Vine: the Complete Wine Buyer's Handbook by Anthony Rose and Tim Atkin, Headline pounds 5.99.

Ignores individual wine merchants, but does include the major off-licence chains. Well-written, as it should be: Rose is wine correspondent of the Independent

Clarity: **** Readability: **** Usefulness: ***

The 1994 Sunday Telegraph Good Wine by Robert Joseph, Pan pounds 7.99

A catalogue of winners in the 1993 International Wine Challenge, by far the most complete and honest such event in the world of wine. Plus details of where you can get the wines. Tiny print

Clarity: ** Readability: ** Usefulness: ***

The Which Wine Guide by Rosemary George and Chrstine Austin, Consumers Association pounds 13.99

Priggish, rambling little essays on individual wine merchants. Vaguely old-fashioned. Claims to be 'double-value': it 'explores taste' in a section which is effectively summary of Ms George's useful book on Lateral Wine Tasting.

Clarity: *** Readability: ** Usefulness: *

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book, Mitchell Beazley pounds 7.99

The Granddaddy of them all, a best-seller every Christmas since 1977 and deservedly so. Complete Guide to world's wines, crisply presented in tiny type on minuscule pages

Clarity: *** Readability: *** Usefulness: ***

Oz Clarke's Wine Guide 1994 / Websters / The Complete Wine Buyer's Handbook, Mitchell Beazley pounds 9.99

The sprawling title reveals the book's muddled origins. But this is a handy companion to the major wine regions and countries. Author hardly in evidence apart from chatty introduction

Clarity: * Readability: *** Usefulness: **