6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
This is my favorite Bordeaux reference. Brook begins the book with a bit on the history of the region, the business of Bordeaux, the terroir, wine-making, etc. This is followed by a detailed account of each major (and sometimes not so major) chateau, organized by commune. The entries on the chateaux are superb; they include a bit of history on each (in the vein of winedoctor.com and Clive Coates) but his tasting notes are not rated.
I enjoy his brief notes because they give the reader who is already familiar with the wines on some level a sense of what each vintage is like. If you removed the words "blackcurrant, tobacco, oak, and leather" I think you'd halve Robert Parker's book. Doing so leaves you with more room to read what the author thinks about the chateau as a whole; a sort of comprehensive look back at the vintages tasted with a comparison and contrast between them. Another nice feature is that with the score removed I find myself thinking more about enjoying the wine itself rather than chasing numbers...
I always enjoy comparing the Brook/Coates/Broadbent camp to the tastes of Parker (I'm sorry, it just seems like Jancis Robinson doesn't like anything at all and Tanzer/Wine Spectator strikes me as totally useless). This book is excellent for that purpose and is truly a must-have for anyone who is serious about Bordeaux.
On cellartracker.com as "Englishman's Claret"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2013
I've just about finished the book, and by that I mean i'm on page 643 of 710. I also didn't read every single page. This is similar to some of the wine encyclopedias out there IMHO. I read all the general information chapters and the info at the start of each section for areas of Bordeaux. I then read the entries for the top chateaux for each region. And even then that's a lot. Information is great. Even explaining the the vineyard management and winery practices for each property if he was able to get that information. Not just "hey this is an important chateau and I tasted a couple of their wines." Brook let's us know his tasting notes for various vintages of the wines.
Brook also gives you a perspective of some of the inner workings of Bordeaux. He does this without getting snarky like some other writers. He definitely has an opinion of this and also about the chateaux in general, but he's not here to necessarily bash anyone. Not every chateaux is making world class wine when they should and he'll at least let you know that in a professional way.
Granted, the book is somewhat dated at this point, but what wine book isn't after a few years? The general information is still valid. It's not like the region has undergone a radical change in laws or how they make wine. What few legal things that have happened since 2007 aren't critical to the book, and he even talks about some of this (Saint Emilion's Classification being in flux at the time for one example). Those things can easily be found on the 'net. And there will have been some ownership changes, winemaker changes, etc., but again, not like it takes away from the overall information in the book.
If you need to delve deeper into Bordeaux, then this book will deliver.