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The New French Wine: Redefining the World's Greatest Wine Culture [Two-Book Boxed Set]

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by Jon Bonné
Regular price $135.00

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A very deep dive into the current state of French wine making, written for people who are already deeply interested in the subject.

This two-volume set of books is the most comprehensive survey of the French wine industry and its significant producers we have seen in two decades. It focuses on the evolution happening in France as growers and vintners adapt to changes in consumer expectations, technology, and climate. It is a work of impressive authority and passion.

Author Jon Bonné is the former chief wine critic of The San Francisco Chronicle and the winner of numerous awards for his wine writing. Although he includes brief explanations of certain key vocabulary words, Bonné is writing here for an audience that already understands the fundamentals of wine and is strongly interested in the future of wine and winemaking.

It’s quickly clear that the world of French wine is not monolithic and that there is a multitude of voices and opinions on what change means and how to cope with it. Bonné acknowledges and reports on a wide range of them, and is not hesitant about offering his own perspective as well.

For example: “The wines of Burgundy have been a study in inconsistency. I mean this in both their notoriously uneven quality but also in the characteristics of the wines themselves.”

In what we take to be the first volume called The Narrative (it is not numbered but contains an introduction) Bonné begins by broadly outlining the state of affairs as he sees it, and then provides a survey of the major wine regions. In these chapters he provides vivid descriptions of history and terrain, sometimes passing from village to village and noting the differences inherent in those transitions.

Colorful maps drawn in a style that suggests vintage travel posters serve as useful references.

These are interspersed with smaller chapters addressing subjects such as the declining usefulness of the appellation system and the allure of organic and biodynamic agricultural practices.

The second volume, called The Producers, is a regionally organized roster of notable winemakers, those who “see that the beauty of French wine can continue only if there is a push forward. They understand that there is always work to better understand and express the country’s miraculous terroirs.” Bonné includes individuals as well as estates, and highlights those he feels are setting current standards as well as those who are defining the future.

The New French Wine reveals an enormously deep and broad understanding of a highly complex realm. 

Hardcover. Slipcased. Color photographs and maps throughout. The Narrative is 457 pages; The Producers is 393 pages.

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