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In Search of Pinot Noir [Hardcover]

Benjamin Lewin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Sep 2011
Pinot Noir is a uniquely challenging grape with an unrivalled ability to reflect the character of the site where it grows. In Search of Pinot Noir is a world wide survey of everywhere Pinot Noir is grown, extending from Burgundy to the New World .

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In Search of Pinot Noir + The Finest Wines of Burgundy: A Guide to the Best Producers of the Côte d'Or and Their Wines
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 423 pages
  • Publisher: Vendange Press (15 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983729204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983729204
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 18.4 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


It s fair to say that Benjamin Lewins last two books were without doubt contenders for wine book of the year . This year s In Search of Pinot Noir deserves a similar accolade --Paul O Doherty, jancisrobinson.com

The work is already an essential reference for Pinotphiles --World of Fine Wine

A great read period for anyone with a serious interest in Pinot Noir. I think I learned something new on almost every page --Wine Economist

The work is already an essential reference for Pinotphiles --World of Fine Wine

A great read period for anyone with a serious interest in Pinot Noir. I think I learned something new on almost every page --Wine Economist

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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There's a lot of dross written about wine, when people offer subjective opinion as fact. This work on pinot noir is one of a series of works about different areas of wine that Lewin has been producing year by year that counter that tendency.
He's no Andrew Jefford: his writing is not lyrical. Rather, he gives a sober analysis of what lies before him, harnessing data points including soil structure, harvest dates, tastings, interviews with vignerons, historical patterns and more to come up with genuinely challenging points of view. He does use his own palate too.
To take his chapter on Burgundy, he helpfully goes into 'terroir' in depth, digging into why Burgundy's villages allow for micro-variation that's brought out in bottles from different terroirs. I've read numerous accounts of this phenomenon, but none as convincing as Lewin's. To give a minor example, he notes for example that Domaine Rousseau harvests Clos de Beze a day or more earlier than Chambertin and even examines how certain top slopes are slightly shaded by trees, giving less sunshine. He distinguishes between true terroir difference, reflected in 1er cru, grand cru etc. and terroir difference that is due to history: the uniform 'grand cru' status of all Clos Vougeot, for example.
This solid base of evidence allows him to give some genuinely innovative opinions. For example, Chambolle Musigny's 'femininity' may be less to do with terroir, he suggests, than a particular tradition of wine making of people in that village that is passed through the generations and means all emphasis delicacy over substance: it really is more 'feminine', but through human intervention rather than nature's prescription.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative 21 Sep 2014
Great book especially the walk up the Côte d'Or
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking exploration into this great varietal 24 Oct 2011
By Chambolle - Published on Amazon.com
Benjamin Lewin is nothing if not prolific - having rather quickly penned "What Price Bordeaux?," "Wine Myths and Reality," and now this volume devoted exclusively to pinot noir around the world. I find this to be the best of the three - but perhaps that is because I am also most interested in pinot noir, particularly as it is grown and vinified in Burgundy. In this book, Lewin explores the influence of terroir, viticultural practice and vinification methods on pinot from Burgundy and elsewhere in France, Germany, Oregon and California, Australia and New Zealand. Along with discussion of the effect of soils, climate and clonal selection, Lewin contrasts the fruit driven, New World pinot noir style with more austere, structured Burgundian wines. The book includes tasting notes that are particularly interesting - I believe this is the first time I have seen reasonably extensive notes of recent vertical tastings of pinot noir from the likes of Adelsheim, Domaine Drouhin, Calera, Williams Selyem and other U.S. pinots, for example. If you still have quite a bit of domestic pinot noir from the 80s and 90s lying in your cellar as I do, you may find these notes of considerable interest and you will be pleased to hear that, at least as far as Lewin is concerned, many still have plenty of life left in them. Lewin's bottom line is this: while red Burgundy may be the benchmark for pinot noir, even "traditional" Burgundy has undergone stylistic changes over time, most recently becoming more fruit driven than in the past. There may be a number of viable approaches to making great wine from this grape grown in different climates and on soils other than Burgundian limestone. So long as the wines possess an innate balance and the ability to develop complexity and interest in bottle over time, there is merit in pinot noir ranging from the rather austere, delicate reds from Sancerre to the robust, ripe reds from the Russian River Valley.

As in his earlier books, Lewin likes to play provocateur, and this book may hit some of your hot buttons on issues like extraction, elevated alcohol levels, chaptalization and so on. Some may find the book's considerable emphasis on the wines of DRC and Leroy as the highest and best expression of Burgundian pinot noir a bit off-putting - these wines represent an extreme of style, scarcity and price that can hardly be deemed representative of red Burgundy wine as a whole. However, all in all, if you are someone interested in pinot noir, you will find a lot of information, a lot here that will generate more thought and discussion. This is not a book for beginners - but for those who are already knee deep in pinot noir, it will be an interesting and informative read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great education, with just a touch of hype 1 Mar 2012
By David C. Stewart - Published on Amazon.com
I found the book to be very educational in a number of areas that I have always wondered about: What are the major clones of Pinot Noir and what is their history? Why in fact are there so many Dijon clones talked about and only one Pommard? What is the difference between Premier Cru, Grand Cru, AOC and village wines from Burgundy? What are the key regions of Burgundy to look for in labels? All of these are answered in very satisfying detail.

The touch of hype stems from the promise implied by the author that he will answer some rather inflammatory questions about Pinot Noir and its expression in different parts of the world. Although he indeed asks these questions, he doesn't really answer them explicitly.

One issue of editing: as the author tours around various sections of the world, he often changes regions without any kind of section header. A little bit of editing would make this very educational book more useful as a reference.

I highly recommend the book for those who want to learn more about Pinot Noir, it's history, and how it is expressed in wine throughout the world.
4.0 out of 5 stars The search continues 4 Jun 2014
By M. Paterson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Good general coverage, not as Burgundy-centric as most MWs appear to be. But he is still captured by that region's mythology. Good information on the wider aspects of the variety - cultivation and the various production concepts, with good notes on other regions. Less one star to discount the hyperbole. Otherwise a very good and informative tome.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Treatise on a Difficult Topic 1 Dec 2013
By Harriet Lembeck - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book takes a subject that is difficult to explain, and manages to explain it. He avoids the trap of treating all Pinot Noirs as if they were grown in Burgundy.
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Want to Know Pinot - Stop right Here! 4 Aug 2013
By Evan F. Carlson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
For those wanting to know what you need to know about pinot this is the place for you. History, regions, climate, viticulture, and clones. Great study guide!
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