Book Reviews

Book review: Bordeaux/Burgundry – A Vintage Rivalry.

Jean-Pierre Pitte, professor of geography and president of University of Paris – Sorbonne, wrote this very interesting book comparing and contrasting two world famous French wine producing regions.  This extremely well researched book delves into the history of regions, the landscape, climate, and above all, people who grow the grapes and the winemakers.

As is well known, up to the century, court physicians recommended to Kings of France and their entourage wine for their ailments. Some preferred Bordeaux, others Burgundy.

Surprisingly, the results of their recommendations have not been publicized widely.We know little about them

Professor Pitte correctly concludes that the residents of Bordeaux business more like Anglo-Saxons whereas Burgundians behave more like emotional Mediterranean merchants.

Here are two comments that should explain their thinking.

“ They are peasants in Burgundy, but boy, oh boy, are they peasants with pretty healthy bank accounts.”

Patrick Forbes, executive producer, Oxford Films and TV

“In Burgundy everything is available to drink and nothing is for sale, in Bordeaux nothing is to drink and all the wine is for sale.”

Burgundian wines are relatively expensive due to supply and demand, in Bordeaux production is much bigger and more uniform. In Bordeaux there are more than 8000 estates (i.e chateaux) which belong to individuals from many countries, whereas in Burgundy there are only 200 major vineyards owned and managed by 20 000 individuals.

This explains the variety and styles in the marketplace of Burgundy wines versus Bordeaux.

Also in Burgundy there are two major grapes pinot noir and chardonnay, whereas in Bordeaux there are many more.

In this seminal book the author delves into the key roles played by medieval monks, dukes and peasant vignerons in building their respective reputations and in creating the rivalry between bourgeois Bordeaux and earth Burgundy that we know today.

This is a book to read and keep as a reference for all wine lovers, particularly those who prefer French products.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.

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