So a late-80s book from an author whose other books I’ve never seen. I assume that this once had a dust-jacket, but I never saw it.
If you include the Beaujolais section with the ‘rest’ of the text on Burgundy then this accounts for about 90 pages of this book’s 270. And what a strange book! Given the Burgundy text I thought I’d better check some other section to see if I had a similar view – but not – Alsace looks to have been dealt with quite well, so I assume it is just Burgundy that Baxevanis doesn’t like.
There is good research underpinning many sections, particularly I like the tables/graphs depicting the rise and fall of wine volumes pre/post phylloxera, red vs white development etc., but I’m not sure from the text and commentary whether the author has actually visited the region. Clearly this book was positioned as a reference work but given the commentary, some informed, some not, and even some of the similarly informed inferences I can only recommend it to you if you’d like to have a chuckle! That said, for the time there are some good producer recommendations. I provide a sample of what lies in wait for the unwary:
Although it is meant to be consumed young, it is better in its second year, and only in exceptional circumstances does it offer any value.
Discussing Bourgogne Passetoutgrains
The apparent decline in quality Chardonnay is attributed mainly to the use of less desirable clones and to overcropping, At the turn of the century, yields of scarcely more than 20 hectolitres per hectare (yields have since quadrupled) produced bigger more flavorful, and far more concentrated wines… …it should be emphasized that excessive fertilization is now quite common.
Unfortunately a good percentage of all available red Burgundy is pale, with tasteless flavour and flimsy structure. Its name and reputation have been severely tarnished by debasement and scandal over the past forty years, so that Burgundy today is but a former shell of its illustrious predecessor and offers little value.
White Burgundy does not fare much better. Not only is overcropping a standard feature, but the density of vines per hectare exceeds 10,000, one of the highest figures in France.
I guess he wasn’t introduced to the concept of vines competing for scarce resources 😉
The wines, all red, dark, and full-bodied contain more sève than any other on the Côte de Nuits. Although they lack the elegance of Chambertin…
The 7-hectare Ruchottes-Chambertin climat is somewhat over-rated… It produces fewer than 1,000 cases of wine annually, most of it undistinguished and overpriced.
The 13-hectare Griotte-Chambertin output, rarely seen in the United-States, is known for rather bland, often dull wine.
The ministry of transport owns 2 acres and uses them to store utility poles.
Discussing the Clos de Vougeot
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, a 25 hectare property whose quality rarely befits its image or asking price… Although the wines are made to last, inconsistency and high prices remain obstacles to a rejuvenated reputation.
Although darker and fuller than Volnay… it is lower in tannin, earlier maturing and lacks balance and roundness. The wine is almost always overrated, overpriced, often adulterated and/or carelessly imitated.
As dull and lifeless as the bulk production tends to be, it is difficult not to like the output of first-rate Meursault.
Because Santenay is not widely known, the wines are honest and occasionally offer good value.
I think that’s enough for today!