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A Vintage Rivalry

Jean-Robert Pitte (Author), M. B. DeBevoise (Translator)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 264 pages
ISBN: 9780520274556
July 2012
$29.95, £25.00
Other Formats Available:
Seeking to penetrate the mysteries of two great wine regions—"two opposite civilizations, two distinct ways of feeling"—Jean-Robert Pitte embarks upon an evocative and fascinating exploration of the land, people, and wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. His account is a rich tapestry of terroir, history, culture, and economics from Roman to modern times. The unique qualities of the wines of each region, Pitte believes, cannot be entirely explained by the differences in their physical environments: they have social origins as well. Beginning with an entertaining look at the remarkable variety of insults exchanged by partisans of the two regions, Pitte delves into the key role played by medieval monks, dukes, and peasant vignerons in building their respective reputations and in creating the rivalry between bourgeois Bordeaux and earthy Burgundy that we know today. His sparkling, fair-minded narrative, engaging the senses and the mind alike, conveys a deep appreciation of two incomparable winegrowing cultures, united despite their differences by a common ambition to produce the best wines in the world.
List of Maps
Preface to the American Edition

1. Weighing the Evidence
2. Markets and Consumers
3. The Physical Environment
4. Incomparable Wines
Conclusion. Farewell to Parochialism

Jean-Robert Pitte is professor of geography and president of the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne. He is the author or editor of twelve previous books, including French Gastronomy and History of the French Landscape.
“Pitte, a specialist in wine geographies, relates a long and fierce oenophile war in this charming history.”—New Yorker
“Full of fascinating digressions into the history of the wines, the areas, and the people.”—Art Info
Brilliant—The Guardian
“Whatever you may know about these two great wine regions, you’ll learn something new.”—Decanter
“History buffs will especially savor Pitte’s extensive report on France’s most legendary wine regions.”—The Bloomsbury Review
“Serious wine lovers and historians will enjoy this volume the most. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice
“A serious analysis of how differing domestic and international wine market forces have contributed to the differential development of these two great French wine regions.”—Journal Of Wine Economics
"A fascinating social history of the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy from their origins to the present day: their contrasts and rivalries, their advocates and their detractors. This will entertain all lovers of the wines of the two greatest regions in the world."—Clive Coates, MW, author of The Wines of Bordeaux

"Anyone who thinks they are only grape-varieties apart must read this. It brilliantly evokes two cultures as different as...Bordeaux and Burgundy."—Hugh Johnson, author of The World Atlas of Wine

"A mouthwatering journey in search of tastes and flavors. . . . A striking synthesis of remarkable horizons."—Le Monde

"A well documented book delivered in an earthy style, to be read without moderation, whether you prefer Bordeaux or Burgundy."—Alternatives économiques

Book Show Award, Bookbuilders West

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