Books, Maps, Magazines, Films even Podcasts!


By billn on June 17, 2007 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

pylloxeraMy journeys on the tram these last weeks have been enlivened by this book – Phylloxera. Like all the best stories, we have a malevolent baddie – and an ugly one – that’s bent on the destruction of (wine) ‘civilisation’. As the detective work unfurls the deadly ‘enemy’ takes many names; Peritymbia vitisana, Pemphigus vitifolii, Daktulosphaira, Viteus vitifolii, Rhizaphis vastatrix and Phylloxera vastatrix. Today, science knows it as Daktulosphaira vitifolii but the name ‘phylloxera’ persits. Don’t however assume that this is just history told; in California the destruction of previously resistant vines has recently heralded the arrival of phylloxera ‘Biotype B’ – the problem starts afresh.

The book is packed full of biggots, self promoters and always until it’s too late – denial. A fully recommended narrative that’s more like a novel than social history.

As routes to bypass the effect of the ‘louse’ were found, prices started to tumble for what we might now call vin de pays – riots and death were the result – the timing of guerrilla action in the Languedoc with the appearance of Biotype B is strangely coincidental.

la bourgogne vue du ciel

By billn on November 04, 2006 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

aerial views of burgundy
First published in 1990, I found this book at a bargain-price in a second-hand book store – the condition is far from perfect, but it’s very serviceable.

This is really just a coffee-table book, but it’s chock-full of very pretty pictures taken from the air – one of a series by the authors. There are, of-course, photos of vineyards and grand houses in the Côte d’Or, but ‘Burgundy’ is a much wider area and landscape.

This book was a very nice acquisition – but be careful not to spill coffee on it!

the golden age of burgundy

By billn on October 09, 2006 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

the golden age of burgundySubtitled: The Magnificent Dukes and their Courts.
Let’s be clear about this at the outset – this is, despite its main title, a virtually wine-free book. Of-course, gifts by way of a few barrels here and a few barrels there pop-up from time to time but no more often than a prince of the realm has ‘his brains scattered in the mud’.

This book covers the dynasty of the Dukes of Burgundy, ‘princes of the blood, but owners of vast estates existing in their own right and over which France had no juristiction’; estates which made these Dukes and their vassals some of the richest of the ‘middle-ages’. It’s about the political intrigue of the time and kingdoms won and lost and like all the best history books – they really know how to kill a man.

Close to 300 pages, this is a scholarly work, in parts it’s also not always the easiest read, possibly because it’s been translated from the original French of its author – Joseph Calmette (d.1952 – it was his last work) but it certainly holds the attention. For history buffs this is recommended.

wine bottle closures – the book

By billn on September 05, 2006 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!#vintage 2006

jamie's most recent bookI just got to the end of Jamie Goode’s self-published book on wine bottle closures. The book is a distillation of current knowledge/data with respect to the various approaches to what I will call ‘taint management’.

To be honest, I found this a really interesting read and though there is a high dose of technical language, Jamie really made it easy for this (ex) research chemist – I think it’s also reasonably approachable for ‘lay’ readers.

Unlike Jamie’s book on wine science, this is a lower-budget presentation that is structured with very short sections that are perfect for 15 minutes reading here and 10 minutes there – my main reading operandi. Jamie repeats himself often; it’s like a presenter, telling you what he’s going to tell you, then telling you, then finally reminding you what he’s told you – but for me it worked very well – and I think I even retained some of the info! Chapter #3 is a super reference to sulfur and oxidation & reduction in wine that would sit well in any reference book and is almost worth the price of entry for that section alone. Highly Recommended!

sunnyPlenty of good weather today on the Côtes, lots of sunshine. The nights have warmed just a little, and the temperature at 2:00pm was 28˚C

a reading backlog

By billn on July 21, 2006 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

Heading for the Côtes for a couple of days next week but there’s not much additional on the site this month – it must be that hot weather holiday feeling – however, I have had chance to catch up on a little reading, specifically a collection of older books on wine. It’s fascinating to see the same discussions about new vs old-style winemaking and the lottery of finding good bottles – where have I heard that before? – but it’s interesting to read it from the perspective of people writing in the 1920’s-1960’s. The style of prose may have changed, but little else!

I have a couple more books on the way, but the last two weeks have been filled with unfamiliar author’s names such as; H.Warner Allen, Morton Shand, Youngman Carter, Yoxall and Schoonmaker. Great fun

The New France

By billn on September 06, 2003 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!#other sites

jefford new france
Can one vineyard consistently produce wine of a different quality or expression despite being separated by no more than a small dirt road?

It is the basis of the French A.O.C system and the clarion call of the ‘terroiristes’.

There are those who find this (very) frankly an unsatisfactory and even worse a completely unscientific explanation of the phenomenon – if indeed there is such a phenomenon.

Although starting on the (almost) completely different subject of reviewing Andrew Jefford’s super new book ‘The New France’ here in this thread a wonderfull display of entrenched positions emerge.

Burgundy Report

Translate »

You are using an outdated browser. Please update your browser to view this website correctly:;