Summer Reading: Reassessing Bordeaux

    In Bordeaux, nothing is more inflammatory than the classification of 1855.

     It has impacted fortunes, created lifestyles and, on the other end of the spectrum, caused great consternation and jealousy.

     Master of Wine Benjamin Lewin now adds fresh fire to old controversies with his new book, “What Price Bordeaux?” The book is published by Vendange and distributed by the Wine Appreciation Guild.


     Presenting new discoveries, “What Price Bordeaux?” scrutinizes the original motives behind the 1855 classification, its modern relevance and the real value of classification and its costs, and provides the first reclassification for today’s Bordeaux wines based on the 1855 model — with a dramatically different outcome.


     “The book shows just how outdated the classifications are in Bordeaux,” says Lewin, “not only in the 1855 classification of the Medoc, but even the more recent classifications of the Right Bank, and points to what needs to be done for Bordeaux to restore its position as the premier wine-producing region.”


     Though the effect of the 150-year-old classification of the Medoc is the informing theme of the book, Lewin also offers new insights, and further controversy, to other contentious issues of the day:

     * How does the 1855 classification system relate to the terroir that is claimed to be the unique feature of the great chateaux?

     * Was Mouton Rothschild’s rise to first-growth status legal?

     * Is the 1000% price increase of first-growths from 1999 the boom before the bust?

     * Has Bordeaux abandoned its traditional style to make “international” wines?

     * What effect will global warming have on Bordeaux?

     * Just how much connection is there really between the grand vins of Bordeaux and their second wines?

     * Does Robert Parker control the Bordeaux market?

     * Is our understanding of the taste of 19th-century Bordeaux wine the product of one man’s fraud?

     Lewin’s answers to those questions are found within the pages of “What Price Bordeaux?”

     But that still leaves one question unanswered: What is the price for “What Price Bordeaux?”?


Posted in Wine Buzz
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