Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution Paperback – January 9, 2006
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Highly informative....Echikson has a journalist's eye for the entertaining anecdote and the telling detail. -- The Economist
About the Author
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393326942
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393326949
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; F First Paperback Edition (January 9, 2006)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,249,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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As virtually all wine lovers know, Bordeaux has been roiled by various controversies in recent years, the emergence of upstart "garagiste" winemakers, the hotly-disputed powers of Robert Parker, the world's most influential wine critic, and the changes in ownership in many of the leading chateaus and estates.
Another controversy has been the recent spike in prices. Echikson does a very good job of explaining how the Bordeaux market works, including the roles played by merchants and brokers in the process. And using the 2001 vintage, he shows how the system worked to help establish prices for what was a decent, but hardly outstanding year.
But the real dish in Echikson's book is his look at some of the larger-than-life personalities in Bordeaux, including Michel Rolland, the oenologist to the stars, Robert Parker, Count Alexandre Lur-Saluces, and some of the leading garagiste winemakers. For people who know and care about fine wine, Echikson's book contains detailed profiles of these major players, and while some of the information in his book is not new, it is surely the best overall source of information about the people who are important in Bordeaux today. Echikson pays particular attention to the long-running battle for control of Chateau Yquem, the world's foremost producer of Sauternes, which underwent a bitter battle for control of the family-owned business, and which ended with global luxury goods maker LVMH owning a majority stake.
Echikson is also very good at describing the squeeze that's on in Bordeaux as its products must increasingly compete with New World wines that are often every bit as good as -- and sometimes better -- than the grand old names. Nobody needs to weep for the grand cru growers; in decent years they make adequate money, and in great years, like 2000, they coin it. But one of the most interesting parts of Echikson's book is his analysis of the bulk wines made in Bordeaux, and how the production of solid, drinkable wines around the world is affecting the ability of the Bordelais to sell lesser product. What Echikson's book shows is that globalization has seriously impacted the wine business. The bulk co-op wine producers face the same hard choice as so many other industries: improve your product or risk the failure of your business.
All in all, an interesting and brisk read for people interested in the wine industry.
We are shown the traditional growers, the "garagistes" or new small growers who have revolutionized the trade, the merchants, the brokers, the consultants--and perhaps most important of all, the reviewers, led by the highly influential Robert Parker, whose reviews can make or break a wine.
Among those who are discussed at length are Michel Gracia, stonemaker and garagiste, whose wine at its peak sold for over $100 a bottle, and the family Lur-Saluces, owners and producers of the famous Yquem, whose family infighting and arrogance leads to foreign takeover. They are fascinating stories, spread out through the book inbetween looks at co-ops who produce vast quantities of less stellar wine, and explanations of the hidebound 1855 classification system that, pre-Parker, once dominated Bordeaux.
A worthwhile read from someone who clearly knows his field and loves it. Highly recommended.