Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution

by William Echikson
ISBN: 0393051625

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A Review of: Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution
by Greg Gatenby

Just as there is a wine lake in Europe, there is a glut of wine books in English, full of glossy colour photos and obsequious text. They promise much but are ultimately thin, leaving little after-taste. But then comes a volume which is like Chateau Margaux 1945: deep, balanced, and superbly satisfying. For any oenophile in your life, Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution by William Echikson is the perfect gift, one of the finest wine books I've ever read. Despite the rise of New World wine dynasties, Bordeaux remains primus inter pares-its antiquity, its intimidating snobbery, and the ludicrous prices of its First Growths all combining to give it an aura of royal grandeur. Echikson is brilliant at exposing the absurdity of most Bordeaux pretensions, but he is no Yank coming in to simply trash the French. He loves Bordeaux wine, and to understand it better he undertakes to examine the major owners and wine-makers. In the process, he uncovers gripping scandals which have barely, if ever, touched the wine magazines, and delineates the efforts of those locals who are trying to drag Bordeaux into this century. By concentrating on the 2001 harvest, he imposes a month-by-month structure-though he takes long and informative detours when necessary. His observations, for instance, about the much-written-about critic, Robert Parker, are smarter-by far-than any I've seen elsewhere and are worth the price of the book alone.

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