‘The Pearl of the Côte – the Great Wines of Vosne-Romanée’ – Allen Meadows of Burghound.com
Notwithstanding this touchstone book is the perfect Christmas present for Burgundy and pinot noir lovers, or all wine enthusiasts for that matter, it is imperative reading for anyone wanting to better understand the deep complexities of Burgundy and more specifically, the pinnacle of the region and the pinot noir grape, the appellation Vosne-Romanée – as Meadow’s puts it more evocatively, ‘The Pearl of the Cote’.
We were only just discussing the mysteries of Burgundy the other day at a most enjoyable Maison Louis Latour lunch and how the consumer grapples with the myriad of intricacies with the region and its wines; some comments to the effect that for the consumer to better understand Burgundy there needs to be demystification of the subject and a more user-friendly approach.
Actually, I do not agree with this at all, and in reality you could not get an easier base level of wine to come to terms with than Burgundy with only two personable grapes, chardonnay and pinot noir, to contend with and the genesis of the wines intrinsically linked to their geography with an unmistakable ‘sense of place’.
However, the beauty is you can take your level of interest to a limitless extreme in discovering the idiosyncrasies of the pinot noir grape and the myriad of complexities in the mosaic of different soils, vineyard aspects and orientation, micro-climates and man’s influence in the vineyard – essentially what the French call, terroir, to the winemaking itself, all translated through the wines scents, flavour, texture and nuances.
Essentially, Burgundy can be a simple pleasure or as complex as you want it to be, but please, don’t try to dumb it down, you will strip all the pleasure out of wine!
Like the infectious nature of pinot noir, once you pick up this book, you will find it hard to put down. Even as a write this review, I admit I have not read all of it, and when I do finish it, I will probably read it again… and again.
You could say it is a reference book, indeed the ultimate reference on Vosne-Romanée and its producers however, as thoroughly exhaustive as it is, it is written in a way that one does not tire of – as one can with such comprehensive works. There is a seamless flow between a progressive and logical journey through Burgundies history and evolution from ‘The Monks, the Dukes, Pinot Noir and the Idea of Terroir’, to a tour through the villages and appellations, reaching a crescendo with ‘An Historic Tasting – The Genius Revealed’, an account of an unparalleled tasting in April 2007, of 74 vintages of Romanée-Conti spanning three centuries.
The fascinating and profound, all-encompassing account of this extraordinary event and tasting notes are reason enough to buy this book alone moreover, each chapter covering the village appellations has detailed and exacting notes on top producers, the trajectory of their wines and an extensive tasting notes on multiple vintages – like as far back as 1870!
The book is beautifully crafted and presented with alluring, impressionistic photographs that make you reach for a bottle of Burgundy and the phone to call your travel agent at the same time. There are state-of-the-art vineyard maps and legends along with painstaking records of grower vineyard holdings that will be the benchmark reference.
Above all, it is written with extraordinary passion and precision in wine prose that is unparalleled, both on the subject of Burgundy and in individualistic style and authority.
Released in July 2010, it is Allen Meadows first published book, all 350-pages of it, however many of us are already well-accounted with Meadows as Burghound, or Burghound.com and his extensive quarterly review, devoted to the coverage of the wines of Burgundy, USA pinot noir and chardonnay and a bi-annual coverage of Champagne.
A finance executive for 25 years, in 1999 Meadows elected to retire to author a book on the subject of Burgundy, his long time passion and obsession however he was obviously distracted by the enormity and great success of Burghound.com, now the most highly respected and critically acclaimed quarterly publication on wine with subscribers in more than 50 countries.
Meadows spends more than four months a year in Burgundy visiting over 300 Domaines building a searchable database of more than 50,000 tasting notes and recommended drinking windows. He is arguably the busiest, hardest working palate and wine writer on this planet – perhaps after Jancis Robinson MW!
Hailed as “the world’s foremost Burgundy expert” acclaimed author Matt Kramer comments on Meadows, “The Burghound Phenomenon. Burgundy lends itself to obsessives, what with its hundreds of growers, thousands of named vineyards and maddening variations in vintages. The world’s foremost Burgundy expert – who, thankfully, is also in possession of an acute palate – is Los Angeles-based Allen Meadows…No Burgundy lover leaves home for the retail shop without a copy.”
Self-published, ‘The Pearl of the Cote’ is only available through www.burghoundbooks.com for US$59.95. Meadows is personally autographing books up until 31st December, so another reason to order now. My copies arrived within 4 days of ordering, which is pretty impressive from the USA to Singapore, so there is certainly time ample time for Christmas orders, assuming there are copies available as I know the first print run is almost sold out. So order NOW!
Burghound in Asia – Having first met Allen Meadows in Hong Kong at the inaugural Acker, Merrall & Condit wine auction in 2008, my continued correspondence and a persuasive dialogue on the bourgeoning Asia wine market and the insatiable thirst for wine knowledge, I am delighted that Allen Meadows has agreed to travel to Singapore to spread his unrivalled passion on pinot noir and chardonnay moreover, expound on his new book, ‘The Pearl of the Cote’, We are indeed privileged to have him MC this exclusive and unprecedented event, visit www.burghoundinasia.com for more details.