What I enjoyed reading this week (9)

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This week I have been reading a book about the unlikely story of an American making wine in Burgundy.

As the summer holiday for me comes to a close and I start to prepare mentally for the winter schedule (with the weather and temperature already going down in Belgium), I find that the days start to get shorter but you get to find more time somehow for reading particularly on the longer evenings.

I am currently midway through a book about Burgundy wine written by an American who followed his dream leaving a job in finance to start making wine in France. The book reads very well and I will review it once I finish it probably sometime next week. For those interested the name of the book is The Road to Burgundy, The Unlikely story of an American making wine and a new life in France.

In the meantime as is usual here are some articles which i enjoyed reading this week. Hope you enjoy and have a great start to September.

There is no such thing as a free lunch and this is the perfect rant. It is unfortunately in Italian but well worth going through it because it explains how important passion is if you see quality. Here he has a go at the many bars who ask for coffee machines etc for free while compromising on the quality of the main ingredient coffee.

Here is a great list of 10 food books from Amateur Gourmet. A bit old but I came across it this week.

The following is an article from Jancis Robinson about someone who is taking the wine scene in London by storm thanks to car boot sales with a difference.

A good article on how champagne is made.

Noma needs no introduction. It is probably one of the world’s most famous restaurants. Here you get a glimpse Inside Noma’s scientific food bunker.

Read a very interesting profile about a little talked about female chef Clare Smyth who is coming out of the shadows after scoring a perfect 10 by the Good Food Guide.

If like me you like to read about food, you will enjoy this little article about the allure of imagined meals.

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Book review: Shadows in the vineyard – the true story of the plot to poison the world’s greatest wine

Vineyards in Burgundy

What kind of man the cellarer of the Monastery should be

1) As cellarer of the monastery should be chosen from the community, one who is sound in judgement, mature in character, sober, not a great eater, not self-important, not turbulent, not harshly spoken, not an off-putter, not wasteful.

2) but a God-fearing man, who will be a father to the whole community

3) He is to have charge of all affairs

10) He must regard the chattels of the monastery and its whole property as if they were sacred vessels of the altar

(Chapter 31 of the Benedictine Rules, as posted in English inside the Burgundy’s Abbey Notre Dame de Citeaux)

So starts the book, Shadows in the Vineyard, the true story of the plot to poison the world’s greatest wine. The author Maximillian Potter admits at the end of the book that when he came to write this story for a magazine and later turned it into a book, he knew very little about wine. This is all the more amazing because the book reads very well, has incredible details and history of the wines of Burgundy. On top of it all, he recounts a true story which happened in 2010 and which threatened to ruin the wines of the Domaine de la Romanee Conti.

Now for any serious wine lovers, the wines from this Domaine are the holy grail of wines. On just about any list of the world’s top 25 rated wines you will normally find seven wines from this wine house: the Richebourg, Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, La Tache, Romanee-St Vivant, Montrachet and Romanee-Conti.

Burgundy wines are well known for their finesse, particularly if they are well made. But finding these well-made wines is not as easy as it seems.Made from Chardonnay (white) and Pinot Noir (red), no other region is as complicated even for wine experts as Burgundy. The reason is that this north, it is very difficult to make wines and therefore terroir plays a very important if not crucial role in the wine production. With so many appellations based on villages (87 in total) and vineyards shared by some 3,5000 winegrowers it is no wonder that Burgundy wines can be confusing.

Getting your way through Burgundy wines is like getting a very thorough geography lesson. You need to know the villages, where the vineyard is, in which part of the hill it is and whether it faces the sun or not.

You need to know why a wine from a village may cost double or triple the price of another which is produced just across the road but from another village.

There is therefore a certain allure to Burgundies, and when you discover well made Burgundies even from small producers, you normally return to buy these wines time and time again first because a well made Burgundy wine is fantastic.

But the wines from DRC as the Domaine is often known are among the world’s most sought after wines and also unfortunately unaffordable to many.

Few people knew about the story to poison these wines. So when I spotted this book, I was immediately curious. I actually thought it was a work of fiction and had to check the story out before I actually bought the book,

The author writes beautifully about the wines and the Burgundy region, the plot reads like a thriller and makes you really curious to find out what finally happened.

I will not spoil the story of the book but if you are interested in wine, want to discover a bit more about Burgundy and read a different sort of book related to wine, then I highly recommend it.