Books, Maps, Magazines, Films even Podcasts!

1 year’s vineyard work distilled into 13 and a half beautiful minutes…

By billn on November 17, 2018 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

With thanks to Vins de Bourgogne BIVB

A brilliant introduction the workings of a vineyard in Burgundy. Almost 1 year’s work distilled into 13 and a half minutes – absolutely worth your time!

After one year of filming, resulting in 40 hours of footage and some 30,000 photos, the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) is proud to present its latest short film in the series “Winemaker in Bourgogne, an artisanal craft”. This first part, “The People and the Vines”, was filmed between September 2017 and August 2018, on around 10 estates in the Bourgogne region.

As you can see, it clearly never rained in 2017 & 2018 🙂

for your (late) christmas stockings!

By billn on October 17, 2018 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

I’m thankful to Laurent Gotti for the alert about this:

After “Climats et lieux-dits des grands vignobles de Bourgogne“, Marie-Hélène Landrieu-Lussigny and Sylvain Pitiot’s reference work dedicated to the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits (Editions de Monza – Editions du Meurger 2012), the pair continue their exploration of the Burgundy terroirs by publishing “La Côte Chalonnaise – Atlas et Histoire des Noms de Climats et de Lieux” (also Editions de Monza – Editions du Meurger). I like to call this ‘The Third Côte‘ – the Côte de Dijon having been long-time lost to us…

Mercurey, Givry, Montagny, Rully, Bouzeron are covered by their associated maps and the names of their 561 Climats.

Now, cleverly, bi-lingual, so no need for two editions. I know that I will use it a little less than their first ‘atlas’ but it remains a ‘must have!

new maps & saturday afternoon in the meursault sunshine

By billn on February 25, 2018 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!#travels in burgundy 2018

I love these maps – and now there are even more of them!

To the right you can see the new ‘wider picture’ maps in the Beaujolais series, which now means that it’s a set of 19(!) – and they are all now in my greedy hands! This set now comes in a much more user-friendly A3 size – as opposed to the more cumbersome A2 (roughly) versions that were previously available – so now they will be much less expensive to frame. Actually, they are the perfect size for laminating and using as place-mats – though that means that I’d have to find 19 ‘friends!

[Edit] And you can actually buy them here.

The Siberian cold isn’t quite in the Côtes yet, but the wind still has some chill to it – we bumped into Dominique Lafon in Beaune’s market on Saturday and I asked him if he was happy with the cold snap, he answered “For the vines yes, but I’m damn cold – I’ve got a hat in my jacket pocket, that I should be wearing, but my girlfriend doesn’t like the look of it – so there you go!” Haha!

Anyway in the afternoon we took a walk around the hillside of Tessons (plus, plus) with its views towards the town of Meursault – I liked the light so took far too many very similar pictures! Enjoy!

sunday: a film première and a wine auction – but not in that order!

By billn on November 19, 2017 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!#the market

That a record value for the 157th Hospices de Beaune wine sale was achieved was never in doubt, such was the extra volume of wine that was ‘donated’ by the 2017 vintage. There hasn’t been a volume of wine like this for sale since either 2011 or 2009, or in some places since 1999 – it just depends on where you want to look. The yields were around 40–42 hl/ha for the reds and 48–50 hl/ha for the whites – whilst this is much more than most recent vintages, it was within the permitted maximums.

The Domaine of the Hospices now runs to 61 hectares and in 2017 offered at least 49 cuvées for the sale. The hammer-price total achieved by the barrel sales today was well over 11 million Euros – that’s €13,529,301 with commissions – which beats the record established in 2015 by over €2 million! The extra total was volume-related versus 2015, as the average, per-cuvée, price decreased versus that vintage, but it was still higher than in 2016.

  • Here is a list of the ‘top lots.’ (pdf)
  • On a per barrel basis, the wine was cheaper in 2017 than in the previous ‘record year’ of 2015, but as you can see, still higher than in 2016:
    VintageSale Total € millionsPrice per barrel*Number of barrels
    2015€11.3 million€18,880575
    20168.4 million13,833596
    201713.5 million16,657787

    *Ex Christies, without commissions…

But a film? I hear you say.

Yes indeed! This was a showing tonight, in Beaune, of a 98% completed version, and I think it a great portrait of a number of growers, looking at their last, very difficult, 18 months or-so in the vines, plus a little insight into the Trois Glorieuses. Well done Scott Wright and David Baker – it will be worth your time, whenever and wherever it is eventually released:

Three Days of Glory Teaser from SlipstreamCinema on Vimeo.

cuvée magazine…

By billn on September 25, 2017 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

I bought this, because it’s about Chablis, and Chablis is my day-job! For €20 there’s virtually no advertising across Cuvée Magazine’s 120 pages of content, though the text is large and the pictures are page-filling. You could certainly buy a more in-depth book for that.

There is much about this magazine that reminds me of my dear and departed TONG. The concept seems very similar here; a premium-priced magazine with no advertising – or in Cuvée’s case, virtually no advertising. Where Cuvée differs, is that there seems just one writer/photographer behind this magazine – Épernay-based Stefanie Köhler. TONG had specialists/MWs for the writing though I was never sure about their images – but TONG’s was obviously a more expensive approach than the one taken by Stefanie’s Cuvée.

TONG lasted about 5-6 years in its hard-copy format before seemingly imploding / dying on the vine. I hope that Cuvée does a little better; some of the explanatory pieces are certainly bite-sized soundbites rather than offering much depth, but the domaine profiles – and there are 14 of them in this issue – are as good as you will find anywhere, as there is insight into the characters of the wine-makers themselves, not just their roots. I could complain that some of the tasting notes are too ‘adjectivey/flowery’ but others resonate.

I assume that, in the end, TONG failed because it couldn’t hold onto enough people willing to pay about €25 an issue – a premium price – with generalist content. Indeed, that was what finished me; I stopped subscribing after about 3 years as the content went further and further away from my zones of interest. I don’t know how long Cuvée/Stefanie can keep it up – Issue 1 was about Champagne, where Stefanie is based, and it seems that there is a ‘special’ in December about …Champagne – but it’s not issue number 3… I’m sure I will eventually understand what’s happening.

As a standalone issue, I would whole-heartily recommend this. And before people get on their high-horses about the price – it costs the same as a decent bottle of Chablis – which is 25% of the cost of a decent bottle of Burgundy these days! Just pay and enjoy…

mapping beaujolais

By billn on July 18, 2017 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

First published in 2015, I’m happy to have a full, physical, set of these useful maps – and you can now find them all – here online – courtesy (& of-course copyright!) of Inter Beaujolais; though I’m still prevaricating over having those physical versions framed – as it will cost well-over €1,000 to do them all!

I believe that these maps are an important first step in the improvement of both Beaujolais wine and therefore its the market too; they will breed interest in the detail, in knowledge of the subsoils and eventually they will help expand today’s standard cuvée formulas of Cru or Cru Vieilles-Vignes or even worse Cru Fût de Chênes to bring more ‘Cru Climat‘ labeling such as done for a long time by Château Thivin.

They are not just beautiful maps, they are important maps…

a new title…

By billn on March 20, 2017 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!

Looks worth trying to get hold of a copy…

world of fine wine – two great articles…

By billn on September 14, 2015 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!


I get to see copies of World of Fine Wine relatively infrequently – probably less than half of those issues that are published. I’m not pushed to improve on this ratio, as I often struggle to find articles to suit my interests, but the current issue (48) has a couple of beauties.

  • First, a relatively short article by Michel Bettane about Guy Accad. Accad has always been something of a personal hero for me and somebody I’d love to meet. I know he was a great pioneer in the vineyards, but this is often forgotten in preference for discussing his approaches in the cuverie – these were and still are more controversial, despite such a large uptake of many of his ideas in modern winemaking. Bettane was working in Burgundy at the time of Accad – also something I learned – so has super insight. I should also commend the translation, as I think Bettane doesn’t speak or certainly write English to this level.
  • Second, is an article on geology and the naming of rock-types/timescales – Alex Maltman makes a potentially dreary subject come alive, indeed his writing resounds with (my!) interest. A bigger, feature article this, and really worthy of your time. Alex seems the type of teacher we all wish we’d had during our studies, as his throwaway references to diverse topics such as radioactive decay are clarions of clarity and ease of understanding…

PS An honourable mention should go to Jon Wyand’s critique of Johan Bergund’s new book of photographs. Real, constructive, interesting discussion from a professional perspective!

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