Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wine Book Club #2: Noble Rot

Today is the second edition of Wine Book Club. In the spirit of Lenndevours' Wine Blogging Wednesday, Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 has founded the Wine Book Club.

This is a chance for wine bloggers to catch up on their reading and to share their insights on the books they have read. Every other month a book will be chosen by a wine blogger for review. All participating bloggers will read the book and post a review of their thoughts on their blogs. Those who do not have a blog can write a review and send it to the hosting wine blogger or on the Wine Book Club sites on Shelfari or Facebook.

Tim of Winecast chose the second book for Wine Book Club. This is Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution by William Echikson. Noble Rot, which is now in paperback for $14.95, is 300 pages long and was a much easier read than the previous Vino Italiano. Not only is it a shorter book, but it is an easier read as well.

Noble Rot is a history book, centering on the Bordeaux region of France. Though the history extends back to the nineteenth century, most of the book centers on the last twenty-five years. Its main theme are the sweeping changes that have affected this wine region. I read a lot of history and found this book to be very engaging. It is an easy and interesting read which anyone might enjoy.

Robert Parker is a central focus of the book as his opinions on Bordeaux wines have had a major impact during the last twenty-five years. A generally balanced view of Parker is depicted, though it may lean a bit more on the positive side. Chateau d'Yquem, and its legendary Sauternes, are also a prime focus of the book.

I think one of the most important issues raised in this book is how change is inevitable in the world of wine, and that wineries often need to adapt to those changes, or be left behind. Tradition is good, but not to the point where the quality of the wine suffers. Adaptation is crucial. It may be marketing forces that lead to that change, or simply a better technique. This is also what those warning of the dangers of climate change have been saying, adapt or face negative consequences.

And it is not only wine makers who must adapt. Everyone in the wine industry, including us bloggers, must be willing to adapt when necessary. In fact, wine bloggers can be seen as a new technique that has led to a need for others in the wine industry to make changes. And those changes have been slow in some sectors of the wine industry who have been unsure how to handle the phenomenon of wine blogging.

Noble Rot is a good book and one I would recommend to anyone seeking out a history of Bordeaux, as well as a look at some of the changes that have affected the modern wine industry. Thanks to Tim for choosing an interesting and engaging book.

1 comment:

Dr. Debs said...

Great review, Richard! I used the same word "engaging" in my review as well. And I like the emphasis you've got here on change.