Cellar notes: Wine books of the year

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The title, Phylloxera, How Wine was Saved for the World (£17.99, HarperCollins), may not sound like a thrill-a-minute, but Christy Campbell's entertaining account of the devastation of the world's vineyards in the 19th century by this tiny, destructive aphid and the desperate search for a remedy, makes one of the most enthralling reads of this year's crop of wine books. A real-life thriller.

The title, Phylloxera, How Wine was Saved for the World (£17.99, HarperCollins), may not sound like a thrill-a-minute, but Christy Campbell's entertaining account of the devastation of the world's vineyards in the 19th century by this tiny, destructive aphid and the desperate search for a remedy, makes one of the most enthralling reads of this year's crop of wine books. A real-life thriller.

Wine writers are always in search of a new angle, and in Wineries with Style (£30, Mitchell Beazley), Peter Richards finds a geometry set full of them. His "Around the World in 80 wineries" globetrot is an original concept enthusiastically undertaken and informative, seamlessly linking wine, architecture and culture.

Evidence that you don't necessarily have to have stunning images to bring the natural landscape of wine to life is provided by Rosemary George MW, whose Treading Grapes (£15, Bantam Press) is the offspring of no fewer than nine gastronomic walking tours through Tuscany. What a way to walk it all off. Anyone seeking a vicarious taste of the region might happily enjoy a delve into this informed and sympathetic glimpse of Chiantishire.

Monty Waldin takes a leaf out of nature's book too in Biodynamic Wines (£25, Mitchell Beazley). Biodynamics is the complementary medicine of wine, and Waldin's unstarry-eyed tome traces the origins of the cosmos-influenced system through its creator Rudolf Steiner to modern practitioners such as François Bouchet and Nicolas Joly, followed by sketches of over 200 green-fingered practioners of this organic form of minimal intervention.

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