La Peira one of a handful of ★★★★ Domaines in France in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2023

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La Pèira is one of a handful of ★★★★ Domaines in Southern France, and a select few from France itself in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book (2022/2023).

★★★★ is the highest-ranking awarded by the guide

There are only three or so domains in our entire region with this rating, only a handful in all Southern France and just a select few in all of France. The entry :

Peira, La L’doc ★★★★ Superlative TERRASSES DU LARZAC DOM making intense and complex reds. La Peira (SYRAH/GRENACHE), Las Flors de la Peira (Syrah/Grenache/MOURVÈDRE), Obriers de la Peira (CARIGNAN/CINSAULT).

 Pocket Wine Book – ‘An Exercise In Crowding Angels On A Pinhead’ 

2024 Margaret Rand Pocket Book Wine

”The Pocket Wine Book has been published since its 1977 debut every year and is now in its 47th-or-so vintage.

It was a suggestion of the British publishers Mitchell Beazley, founded in the 1960s for the publication of atlases, reference books, natural history books, cook books, garden books and wine books.

Speaking to David Kermode on the Drinking Hour podcast, Hugh Johnson recounted:

‘It came out when James Mitchell was staying with us at Saling Hall (the Tudor home at the time of Johnson) and we’d just had this huge success with The World Atlas of Wine. At breakfast one day, he took out his little pocket diary and said, ‘All that anyone needs to know about wine could go into a book like this, couldn’t it?’ And I sort of took a deep breath and thought, ‘Right. You’re absolutely right. Why don’t we crunch it?’ And then he said, ‘Well, how about it?’

Said to be the world’s best-selling wine guide, it was authored then edited for many years by Hugh Johnson whose other publications included The World Atlas of Wine (1971), The Story of Wine (1989) and The Principles of Gardening (1979).

A favourite in this parish is his Trees: A Lifetime’s Journey through Forests, Woods and Gardens.

Of the book, he once said: “This book is an exercise in crowding angels on a pinhead, or students into a telephone box. It is deliberately the shortest book into which I could possibly squeeze a book’s worth of information.”

Margaret Rand and Team

Margaret Rand  Author pocketbook wine and 101 wines to try

Margaret Rand, author of books such as Grapes and Wines and 101 Wines to Try Before You Die, was the general editor of Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book for 15 years.

She took over the reins formally in 2023 and holds full responsibility for the publication, and in addition contributes to journals such as The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, and Decanter Magazine.

Both authors share a convivial writing-style: the effortless charting of an insouciant course over well-trod terrain.

We had the good fortune to introduce Margaret Rand to the 2019 La Pèira vintage over lunch at Corney and Barrow in late spring this year.

An adept team of regional editors supports her. In our region in the south of France, the editor is Juliet Bruce Jones, who also oversees the sections on Provence and Corsica. A Master of Wine herself— a title held by only several hundred people globally—she co-owns Domaine La Tasque in the Minervois region with Simon Ingman :

The domaine focuses on Carignan (a favourite) in addition to Syrah and Grenache.

La Peira ★★★★/★★★★ ‘Superlative’

La Peira and Hugh Johnsons Pocket Book of Wine

For our first decade growing (from 2004) we were blissfully absent from the guide.

Indeed, the domaine made its inaugural appearance in 2020, sandwiched between entries for ‘Lanson’ and ‘Lapierre, Marcel’. It read:

La Peira L’doc r w English-owned, AL winemaker, rich intense reds. La Peira (SYRAH/GRENACHE), las Flors de la Peira (Syrah/Grenache/MOURVÈDRE), Obriers de la Peira (CARIGNAN/CINSAULT).

It helps to know the some of the wonderfully abbreviated codes: r w for red wine, AL for Alsace.

By 2022 and in 2023, the entry – now wedged between ‘Pauliac’, ‘Pays Doc’, ‘PC (Premiur Crus)’ and ‘Perrier-Joet’, ‘Pessac-Léognan’, ‘Pezenas’ – read:

Peira, La L’doc ★★★★ Superlative TERRASSES DU LARZAC DOM making intense and complex reds. La Peira (SYRAH/GRENACHE), Las Flors de la Peira (Syrah/Grenache/MOURVÈDRE), Obriers de la Peira (CARIGNAN/CINSAULT).


 Margaret Rand on the Changes in the Last 15-Years – ‘Producers rather than Appellations’

La Peira Pocket Book of Wine Hugh Johnson Margaret Rand

On The Drinking Hour podcast with David Kermode, Margaret Rand was asked , ‘In your time editing the book (15 years or so), what changes have you seen?’ She replied:

‘A greater and greater focus on producers rather than appellations, I think. I think people buy wine now much more by the name of the producer than the appellation.

You know, we used to list lots of appellations… every appellation in the appellation world! That was a lot of them. We’re now beginning to weed out some of the ones that are not very significant.

Because we need more producers in there; that’s how people buy wine now. You don’t need to know it’s AOC ‘Côte de Whatnot’, but you do need to know it’s by ‘Monsieur Dupont,’ who makes extremely good wine.

And of course, natural wines and biodynamic wines. That’s been very important. And again… They’ve become absorbed in the mainstream, as it were… the extremes aren’t quite as extreme as they were. But they’ve been a force for good.’ 

In her introductory remarks to the book, Margaret Rand as quoted in this Forbes article by John Mariani, focuses on about ripness and regions: 

‘Perhaps in the future the great wines will not be, as they have been for a few lifetimes now, the ripest in years;perhaps the greatest terroirs will not be those that deliver more reliable ripeness.’ 

 Pocket Wine Book – Reading and Links

La Peira Pocket Book of Wine Hugh Johnson Margaret Rand

One great change that has occurred over recent years is the publication is now in Kindle/Google Play/Apple Books form. Which means it can read in large format (and not tiny print) and is very quickly searchable.

It’s also means it is present anywhere at all without carrying a book about in the form of that pocket device that can hold a hundred books.

While beautifully coloured hard covers each year are enticing, so is the possibility to read without a small torch.


The 2023 edition can be found on:

Google Play: UK and US | Kindle: UK and US | Apple books: UK and US.

And no doubt another edition will be in bookshops soon.