on 27 March 2008
Before buying this book I made the mistake of thinking that, because it was shown as published in 2008, it had been revised. In fact, it appears to be simply a paperback version of the 2002 hardback - for example the Introduction apparently dates from 1999, and the copywright is still 2002.
Having said that, this is a very readable, enjoyable book. If you are looking for a list of wines with tasting notes and recommendations, you are looking in the wrong book. If you want something of the atmosphere and spirit of Burgundy, this is a the right book. Mr Faith really knows this area of France and its people, and an enormous amount about the winemaking techniques and the vagaries of the terroir, and at times makes one believe one is actually there talking to the winemakers.
Strangely, to me, the section on Beaujolais gave the greatest insight - strange because I am one of those people who regards Beaujolais as ill-placed in its inclusion with the rest of Burgundy. The insights into the differences between the ten Beaujolais crus were a joy to read, although as a Chablis fan I wuold have liked to see a bit more on it.
The book is beautifully produced. It has an overall atmosphere of a misty region where struggle occurs annually to produce something that appears to come from alchemy. I found some of the photographs puzzling. They are beautiful and masterfully executed, but sometimes I wondered precisely what contrubution some of them were making. A picture of a stag's horm sumach against a grey wall and a fair number of pictures of vine leaves or vine rows in colour, although stunning, seemed simply to reduce the amount of wonderful writing.
I finished the book feeling as if it should have been longer, probably much longer. I highly recommend it for people who already know a bit about the region, so that they can appreciate the references to the people, the vineyards and the wines produced in this magical place.
on 11 September 2004
If you can't sit down to a good bottle of burgundy, this is the next best thing. Nicholas Faith really knows his wines and - more than that- he writes like a dream. Like you might say of a wine, - there's a flavour of scholarship, a hint of human interest, and a mellow knowledge in this book. It would make a good present for the man in your life.