The perfect Christmas gift for the wine lover in your life
Review: John Wilson on Raymond Blake’s ‘Côte d’Or’
A vineyard in Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy. Photograph: Panoramic Images
Côte d’Or, the wines and winemakers of the heart of Burgundy
Readers may remember Breakfast in Burgundy, Irish author and wine writer Raymond Blake’s wonderful Rabelaisian romp through the wines, food and countryside of Burgundy. Côte d’Or, his latest work, is an entirely different kind of book.
The Côte d’Or is a small, narrow, seemingly unremarkable strip of land, barely 50 kilometres long and never more than a few kilometres wide, that produces some of the most exquisite and sought-after wines in the world. This is the beating heart of Burgundy, home to virtually all the great household names.
Blake, who has a house in Burgundy, has a huge knowledge of the area and its wines. He has written an impeccably researched book, with a huge amount of information, written in a clear and concise manner. Thankfully, Blake leaves aside the myriad of under-performing producers, preferring to focus on the stars of each region. As a result, it avoids reading like a telephone directory. Commune by commune, he takes us through the leading domaines, their production methods and wines. At the end of each entry, he suggests a wine to try.
Blake pull no punches, happy to criticise individual producers and take on issues such as premature oxidation that have bedevilled Burgundy in recent years. Finishing with a succinct guide to visiting the region, this is an indispensible book, the perfect fireside read, whether you need help choosing a few bottles, or planning a trip to Burgundy. Needless to say, it would make the perfect Christmas gift for the wine lover in your life.