I have been meaning to write a post about a book I read after staying in Beaune last month. It’s called Puligny-Montrachet: Journal of a Village in Burgundy and it taught me more about the culture of wine growing – the conservatism, curious obsessiveness and phlegmatic character of the villagers who create some of the world’s greatest wines on small vineyards which are multiply sub-divided and re-sold. The author, Simon Loftus, was himself a grand wine merchant, chairman of Adnams, a family brewery in Suffolk. He got to know all the people involved and was lent a barn to write the book, which reminded me of the work of LeRoy Ladurie, a deep analysis of local village culture, but in a modern setting. By accident, the first print run of the book was lost in a flood in the warehouse, so when it was first published in 1991, it had less impact than it might otherwise have done, but it has recently been republished by Daunt Books, which is how I got to read it. I don’t know much about wine, but I know a great deal more about how it is produced now that I have read his book.


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