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Wednesday, October 28, 2009


1. WHAT PRICE BORDEAUX? (Vendange Press, 2009, 292 pages, ISBN 978-1-
934259-20-7, $34.95 US hard covers) is by Benjamin Lewin, Master of
Wine. As a long-time academic and writer of molecular biology, Lewin is
now focusing on wine. In his first book (there are more on the way), he
explores an overview of the financial forces making Bordeaux wines so
pricey today. He scrutinizes the 1855 classification, looking at the
original motives and its modern relevance. The real value of this
classification was to promote the value of the properties contained
therein, to perpetuate the class structure and the pecking order. He
investigated the unique terroir of chateaux, the many brands they
market, the negociant-broker setup, the en premeur system, the
influence of wine writers and winemakers such as Robert Parker or
Michel Rolland, and the rise and fall of individual chateaux through
ownership changes amongst banks and insurance companies. He proposes a
reclassification based on his forensic investigations. He would like
fewer than half of the chateaux to retain their original
classification, and he would like to drop several altogether.
Throughout the book, there are colourful graphs and charts clearly
illustrating his points. There is also a bibliography and many pages of
end notes.
Audience and level of use: a good marketing book, useful for Bordeaux
specialists and wine schools.
Some interesting or unusual facts: find out who is really making money
in Bordeaux.
The downside to this book: physically, the book is hefty to hold – this
is because of the coated paper needed for the colour charts.
The upside to this book: a must read, gripping in its intensity.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.

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