Bordeaux/Burgundy: A Vintage Rivalry

Bordeaux/Burgundy: A Vintage Rivalry

Bordeaux/Burgundy: A Vintage Rivalry

Bordeaux/Burgundy: A Vintage Rivalry

Synopsis

Seeking to penetrate the mysteries of two great wine regions--"two opposite civilizations, two distinct ways of feeling"--Jean-Robert Pitte embarks upon an evocative and fascinating exploration of the land, people, and wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. His account is a rich tapestry of terroir, history, culture, and economics from Roman to modern times. The unique qualities of the wines of each region, Pitte believes, cannot be entirely explained by the differences in their physical environments: they have social origins as well. Beginning with an entertaining look at the remarkable variety of insults exchanged by partisans of the two regions, Pitte delves into the key role played by medieval monks, dukes, and peasant vignerons in building their respective reputations and in creating the rivalry between bourgeois Bordeaux and earthy Burgundy that we know today. His sparkling, fair-minded narrative, engaging the senses and the mind alike, conveys a deep appreciation of two incomparable winegrowing cultures, united despite their differences by a common ambition to produce the best wines in the world.

Excerpt

It is to the cause of reconciliation among the fraternal enemies of the lands of the Saône and the Yonne, on the one hand, and those of the Garonne, the Dordogne, and the Gironde, on the other, that these pages aspire to make a contribution. They owe much to the innumerable viticulturalists and wine professionals whom I have met in both regions since 1966, the date of my first memorable harvests at Chorey-lèsBeaune, and to all the tastings that I have shared with them. These pages draw a part of their inspiration as well from roots planted for a time on the slope of Villars-Fontaine, a beautiful and promising corner of the Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits that I discovered one day in June 1986 thanks to André Noblet, cellar master at Domaine de la RomanéeConti, on the eve of his premature passing. André had a gift for bringing together like-minded people. His talent survives.

Unlike Bernard Frank, I fell in with Burgundy when I was quite young, and so my side seemed to have been chosen from the outset. But I have learned since to put some Bordeaux in my wine (to reverse Frank’s memorable phrase), and I am all the better for it! From the bottom of my heart I thank my teachers, colleagues, and students of geography, who have helped me to learn more about the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and other regions in France, on which they are—or, alas . . .

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