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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Finest Wines of Burgundy

THE FINEST WINES OF BURGUNDY; a guide to the best producers of the Cote d'Or and their wines (University of California Pr., 2012,

320 pages, ISBN 978-0-520-27201-9, $34.95 US paper covers) is by Bill Nanson, a chemist with no connection to the wine trade, but he regularly visits (for more than 15 years) the region and works the harvest. He also publishes the Burgundy-Report ( a website which, since late 2002, has a slowly expanding library of domaine and village profiles, comments on the market and vintage challenges plus, of-course, discussion of the wines. His site allows you to learn about the region and its wines, peruse notes from many bottles or even discuss with other people. So the current book is like a hard copy of the website. The book actually is one of an illustrated series created by The World of Fine Wine magazine; it is Number 6. These are guides to the classic regions and their producers, vineyards and vintages. As Hugh Johnson, one of the editorial team, would say "These are the wines most worth talking about". Thus far, the company Fine Wine Editions has looked at Champagne, Tuscany, California, Rioja, and Bordeaux. This book is co-published with Quarto Group in the UK. The format for all the books in the series is pretty straight-forward at this point, with Hugh Johnson giving many of the forewords their lustre. There's material in about 50 pages on history, culture and geography, along with winemaking, grapes, and viticulture. Next there is the biggest section: producers and their wines, sub-arranged by region. The 250 pages here cover the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune, leaving aside the Macon, the Beaujolais, and Chablis. Then there is a final 25 pages on wine appreciation, vintages, top-ten tables for the finest 100, glossary, and bibliography. The photography is mainly centred on the producers, so there are lots of portraits and pictures of walls and gates. Overall, it's an excellent guide to the region, and sure to please many Burgundy lovers, especially since it comes with a red ribbon bookmark.

Audience and level of use:  the serious wine lover who also loves to read, reference libraries and wine schools.

Some interesting or unusual facts: best-ever Domaines in Burgundy include Leroy, Ramonet, Romanee-Conti, Rousseau, and Bruno Clair.

Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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