The Wines of Burgundy
By: Clive Coates
University of California Press, £35, ISBN 978-0520250505
This is a massive book: 1872 grams and 878 pages. There are books that you simply cannot avoid. This is one. If you are looking for a book about Burgundy you simply have to consider this one. Partially because in spite of La Bourgogne being one of the world’s premiere wine regions there are relatively few good books on the area. But this is one. Few writes know Burgundy as well as Clive Coates does. Since a few years back he is even living amongst the vines in his favourite wine district. The book follows a classic format: In the introduction Coates explains a bit about how Burgundy works growers, negociants etc) and gives a (brief) introduction to how wine is made in Burgundy, both traditionally and with newer trends. Then follow chapters on all the communes with details on the history, the soil, and, importantly with (brief) profiles of the growers. The second part of the book (filling almost two thirds of the pages) is a review of vintages from 2006 back to 1959 with an avalanche of detailed tasting notes. The book is a thoroughly revised version of his previous book “The Côte d’Or”. The previous version had a bit more focus on the growers and (somewhat) less on tasting notes. We would have preferred that Coates kept more of a focus on the growers, and perhaps even expanded those descriptions compared to the previous edition, rather than having some 500 pages with tasting notes (who can stomach that?). But in spite of this slight criticism, this is an important book for any serious Burgundy enthusiast!