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I'll Drink to That: Beaujolais and the French Peasant Who Made It the World's Most Popular Wine Hardcover – October 18, 2007
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This book is for the wine lovers: it tells the story of one of the most charming and beautiful corners of the world, the land of the hills of Beaujolais. It tells of the grapes and the grape growers, the wine makers and the negociants, the nobility and the farmers. It is an honest look into the daily life of the peasants of France and the land that they worked, and worked so hard. We learn how little their lives changed over the centuries, even in the years after the second world war. Most importantly, this book tells the story of a driven, determined young man, Georges Duboeuf, who changed the way that wines were bought and sold and who brought the wines of Beaujolais to the world. More than anyone else, he brought wealth, modernity and respect to Beaujolais. This book will dispel many commonly held misconceptions about the wines of Beaujolais, and will give you a greater appreciation for the small miracle that you hold in your hand every time you take a drink of wine.
I will be giving copies of this book to several of my wine loving friends this Christmas, and I recommend it for your bookshelf.
Les Compagnons du Beaujolais
I'll Drink to That: Beaujolais and the French Peasant Who Made It the World's Most Popular Wine
The date was July 31, 1395. An edict from Philip the Bold was quite explicit. Gamay grape vines, which produced wine that was "most injurious to the human creature," were to be "extirpated, destroyed and reduced to nothing." The message was loud and clear in the heart of Burgundy, but the poor farmers of Beaujolais were apparently a bit hard of hearing. They continued to tend their Gamay vines, if only as a sideline of farming. Banished from Burgundy, the Gamay grape accidentally found its ideal home.
"I'll drink to That" tells the story of Beaujolais, from Philip's edict through the devastation of phylloxera, the rise of Georges Duboeuf, and the nouveau craze that made Beaujolais a wine whose name recognition is exceeded only by Champagne. Along the way, author Rudolph Chelminski offers plenty of interesting observations:
* Poor water supplies and wine's religious significance lead to the manta of "wine=health" which the French nourished well into the twentieth century. Only the shocking number of auto fatalities (18,000 in 1972) finally led to a reconsideration of this belief and the crackdown of the gendarmes on drunk driving. But with this crackdown came less casual Beaujolais drinking.
* Prior to the phylloxera plague, vineyards were worked by hand, the vines planted willy-nillly. Only the total replanting of the fields after the louse was conquered created the geometrical vineyards we know today, with long straight rows that could be plowed and sprayed with horses.
* The tradition of drinking Beaujolais nouveau began in Lyon in the 1700s.Read more ›