The Wines Of Burgundy

by Clive Coates MW

Publisher: University of California Press
Revised edition (13 May 2008)
Hardcover: 864 pages
ISBN-10: 0520250508
ISBN-13: 978-0520250505
Available from all good bookshops
UK £35 – US $60

Clive Coates' Côte d'Or, a Celebration of the Great Wines of Burgundy, was published to great acclaim in 1997. It won a number of prizes, including the André Simon, the Veuve Clicquot, the James Beard, and exceptionally, in that it was the first time for 40 years that the award had been given to both a wine book and to a non-Burgundian, the Prix de la Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, based at the Château du Clos de Vougeot.

Completely revised, very largely totally re-written, Clive's up-date, The Wines of Burgundy, which now includes a survey of the wines and producers of Chablis and the Côte Chalonnaise as well as the Côte d'Or, was published worldwide by the University of California Press in May 2008.

This is destined, like Côte d'Or, to become the new "Bible of Burgundy".

Frank Prial has described Clive Coates as one of the most elegant of the world's wine writers. Hugh Johnson has written: "What other writer gives you the confidence that he truly knows each property, its terroir, its proprietors and its produce, and can give you a fresh and honest assessment?"

o steer enthusiasts through (Burgundy’s) complexities Clive Coates has completed The Wines of Burgundy, a book that meticulously updates and expands his 1997 reference work ‘Côte d’Or’.

Coates is an expert guide. A wine merchant for 20 years, he became a Master of Wine in 1971 and produced The Vine magazine from 1984 to 2005. Who better to describe the region best known for Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanée and Puligny-Montrachet?

..... Navigating through more than 800 pages of material, Coates balances technical explanations of vine growing and vinification with strong opinions formed over decades of tasting.

.... This is no coffee-table book. ...... Scholarly and academic, Coates makes few concessions to casual buyers, yet he promises rich dividends to the assiduous reader.

In that respect, his book resembles the elegant, complex wines that are his subject.
— From Guy Collins, Bloomberg News
A master-class in Burgundy, given by one of the world’s foremost authorities. Coates, who clearly adores the region, knows Burgundy intimately. His evaluations of its wine producers are delightfully opinionated.
— From Jacqueline Friedrich, author of The Wines of France
Monumental..... A solid, in-depth reference on Burgundy – the best, in fact since Mr; Coates’s own Côte d’Or...... An invaluable starting point.
— From Eric Asimov, New York Times, May 21st., 2008
Men have been driven mad by (Burgundy’s) endless classifications, named vineyards and subtle quality indications, and most wine references fall notably short in offering clarity. But Coates, a British wine authority who lives in the region, ambitiously sorts it all out ........... Coates’ magnum opus remains invaluable.
— From Jon Bonné, San Francisco Chronicle, May 16th., 2008
Nobody in the English-speaking world surpasses the ever gracious and prolific British wine writer Clive Coates, MW, in enhancing appreciation and understanding of Burgundy winemakers and wines.

Blending erudition, practical unformation, strong opinions and wry humor with entralling style, Coates’ distinctive, remarkable ‘voice’ confidently transcends the babble of numerical ratings and glossy publications. He guides with deeper, more nuanced insights............

At the evening’s lecture, the affable, 66-year-old Coates stands tall with snowy beard and mustache, balding pate and sturdy 6-foot frame. Sporting a trademark bow-tie and dapper tweed coat, he comfortably grips the lecturn.

Then, like a jazz musician preparing to play riffs rich in complicated melodies, Coates leans forward with eyes partly closed in concentration. Commenting on vintage 2005 wines, his virtuoso torrent of incisive observations delivered in sonorous, gravelly tones envelops the august room’s attentive audience.
Witty quips, vivid stories and profound insights from 40 years of passionate, humble tasting punctuate a performance replete with graceful gestures.

It is an unforgettable theatrical moment worthy of Burgundy’s greatness.
— From Dave DeSimone, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, April 30th., 2008
Whenever Clive Coates publishes a new wine book, attention must be paid. (He is) one of the most literate, thoughtful and (in the best sense of the word) opinionated writers on wine.....Coates never shy(s) away from controversy, but always tell(s) it like it is. And.... in the best scholarly manner, cramming (his) books with background and detail.

The most useful parts of the book for me are: the introduction, which discusses Burgundy’s arcane nature, while explaining and critiquing its winemaking practices; the detailed essays on individual Burgundy regions and vineyards; and the ..... producer profiles. It is in these areas.... that Coates really stands apart, displaying an unequalled mastery of his subject. Indeed, when it comes to Burgundy, there’s no better authority than Clive Coates. He’s the man.
— From Randy Sheahan of the Quarterly Review of Wines, Boston, Autumn 2008
The Wines of Burgundy is the most comprehensive survey and ranking of Burgundy growers that I know........Few people have spent so much time doing so much primary research as Coates..... He has visited 250 growers, spending three or four months of the year doing so, for the last 20 years......... (he) has no rivals.

Highly recommended.....Coates often adds ‘Grand Vin!’ at the end of a note on a particularly splendid wine. In the same spirit, I would feebly pun, ‘Grand Bouquin
— Toby Morrhall writes in The World of Fine Wine; Issue 21
No serious Burgophile should be without it.
— Todd M. Wernstrom, The Wine News, Florida
Few writers are as well qualified than Clive Coates to cover Burgundy in the detail the subject demands........The layout of The Wines of Burgundy is clear and the typography elegant.This is a well-produced.....considerable book.The sheer extent of its coverage.....could appear daunting.....Yet it’s made surprisingly accessible by the clarity of Coates’s style.......If you have even a passing interest in Burgundy, this book will take you to higher levels and make you want to investigate with your own tastebuds......His tasting notes are clear and avoid hyperbole.......For the current price of a bottle of premier cru Burgundy, the serious wine lover would be well advised to invest in this tome. And the less serious wine lover will considerably expand his understanding of one of the most fascinating areas in wine. My personal test of any wine book is: Does it make me want to try more of the wines from this particular area or producer? In the case of Coates’s magisterial work on Burgundy, the answer is an emphatic, Yes.
— David Cobbold, The Art of Eating, 78, June 2008
My top 2008 recommendation as a reference book.
— Jancis Robinson, Financial Times, December 2008