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In Search of Pinot Noir (January 24, 2013)

book review
by Dean Tudor, www.deantudor.com

In Search of Pinot Noir (Vendange Press, 2011, 424 pages, ISBN 978- 1-9837292-0-4, $45 US hard covers) is by Benjamin Lewin, Master of Wine. As a long-time academic and writer of molecular biology, Lewin is now focusing on wine. In his first book (there are more on the way), he explored an overview of the financial forces making Bordeaux wines so pricey today. His current book shifts the focus to pinot noir around the world.

Every winemaker wants to be known as the guy (or girl) who can be successful with pinot noir outside of Burgundy, a sort of Holy Grail search. He visits all the cool-climate places in the world (Europe, West Coast of North America, Australia and New Zealand, with a few paragraphs on South America, but unfortunately nothing on Niagara or British Columbia). He looks at the various styles of pinot noir outside of Burgundy, and describes many vineyards and wineries, with tasting notes.

The hunt is on... He examines terroir vs. winemaking (nature vs. nurture) without any conclusions. Many questions are raised, such as the practicality of limestone soils, the ability to consistently make good pinot noir vintage after vintage, and the striving for most wineries to try to emulate high-quality Burgundy. There is a concluding bibliography and endnotes.

Audience and level of use: A good grape variety book, useful for pinot noir or Burgundy specialists and wine schools.

Some interesting or unusual facts: The guy down the road is just as likely to make good pinot noir as you are, but probably not year in and year out.

The downside to this book: Physically, the book is hefty to hold – this is because of the coated paper needed for the colour photos.

The upside to this book: A must read, gripping in its intensity.

Quality/Price Rating: 92.

 

 

 

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