on August 26, 2012
Reasons to buy this book ...
- Introductory material on burgundy ... region, grapes, wine making ... is succinct and well written
- Good summaries of producers. Good summaries of each of the types of wines (e.g. meursault, puligny) albeit with some extra 'color' that most wine collectors won't care about.
- Author's impressions on the wines, young/old - quality, taste impressions, maturity.
- Some information on the vineyards (not to be confused with the comprehensive data found in Clive Coates "The Wines of Burgundy" or Matt Kramer's "Making Sense of Burgundy" (wish Kramer would update and reissue) which I presume is current.
- Up to date contact data, websites, phone numbers.
- Puts the wine critics in perspective (Parker, et al) in promoting some producers over others (however, fails to acknowledge the value provided to the public through their tasting expertise ... WS, Meadows, Tanzer, J Robinson, and Parker (Neal Martin ... great palate). Comment ... it's all in the tasting notes, Bill Nanson ... not the score ... and it's all in understanding the critic's biases.
- Not a fluff book. This is real guide to select burgundy producers. There is a bibliography, somewhat limited in scope.
Shortcomings the Burgundy lover may find disconcerting ...
- Maps are cartoon like, of limited use (buy The World Atlas of Wine or Hachette Atlas).
- Choice of 100 top producers (and wines of top producers) follow author's biases, with marked differences from wine 'experts' and what I might choose, the benefit of being the author :-) This extends to the best domaines, best winemakers, etc. Some of the choices seem idiosyncratic or out of date. For example, inexplicably missing among producers/winemakers to name a few who might be considered ... Chevillon, Gouges, Bachelet (but Bouree is included!), Dugats, Anne Gros, Sessyes (Dujac), more ... (if Bize, how about Guffens (Verget)?). Producers missing include some of the same (I'll refrain from creating a long list and admit that this is a matter of taste). Gerard Mugneret is included but strangely Mugneret-Gibourg is absent (the difference in quality between the two is striking). On the inclusion side why Bruno Clair (unexciting new or old), Ramonet (once upon a time), Martray (recently ... Corton only), and Roty (?). Comte Lafon is one of the 10 best producers but doesn't stand higher than Lafarge, d'Angerville (lower in my view). Bichot is in the top 100; Faiveley is missing, etc. etc. My comment on the 10 value wines is similar (from this 'best value' consumer) and similar on choices of wines within a Domaine, e.g. author likes Barthod's Fuees and Charmes but what about the Cras? I'll stop with examples.
- To the author's credit there are less known producers included ... e.g. Lignier-Michelot, Simon Bize (but Morot didn't make the top 100).
Bottom line, this is not a comprehensive guide. It lacks maps and complete information on vineyards and producers. If you own other books, this may be a nice addition. However, there are several other burgundy books that offer far more information, are far more complete, and are more useful guides burgundy and burgundy wines. Oddly, none of these are listed in the bibliography. I offer 3.
- Clive Coates - The Wines of Burgundy (the definitive reference, now in 2d edition, both worth having ... more info than you may want)
- Remington Norman - The Great Domaines of Burgundy (if only one book, this is it ... good maps, complete useful information)
- Serena Sutcliffe - Wines of Burgundy (small guide, much valuable information)
Again, get Hugh Johnson/Jancis Robinson's World Atlas of Wine (or Hachette). The maps are useful, showing topographic contour lines (among other details).
Three stars: 4 stars for overall quality, subtract 1 star for poor maps, selection of producers, and producers omitted. And sad that Nanson has chosen not to provide newcomers to burgundy with other references to (more) comprehensive guides.
on February 9, 2012
Cover of US edition of Bill Nanson Burgundy book, just got it! (supposedly Feb. 13th US publication). Love the Fine Wine series format, very handy, great photos, useful producer profiles. First time I've seen David Clark properly profiled, and new stuff like Duc de Magenta, Sylvain Pataille, etc. Tho I may have a quarrel on the Finest 100 list :) Highly recommended