Multiple-award winning author, former Master of Wine (famous for resigning from the title in 2003) and holder of Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford boosts with plenty of credentials for his book about the most complex wine region in the world – Burgundy. Written in a practical user-friendly style, Grand Cru is one of the most straightforward and sufficiently concise guides to Burgundy. It is indeed a challenging undertaking to achieve the right balance between the technical facts and the sensory pleasure that wine can offer to any wine drinker. Yet, Remington Norman describes with his philosophical grandeur clearly most of the aspects at the core of fine winemaking.
His engaging writing is elevated by helpful maps and visually appealing pictures of Burgundy and the wineries, all scattered throughout the book. He is entertaining while remaining informative. A foreword by the great Aubert de Villaine, the winemaker of the iconic Domaine Romanée-Conti, confirms that Grand Cru is a valuable addition to a wine lover’s library. De Villaine recognises that the author grasped the “hidden aspects” that make the wines of Burgundy unique. One of them is his grasp of the importance of terroir, in particular for wines from Burgundy:
“Appreciating Burgundy also demands understanding that one is tasting terroir above grape. Terroir may be seen as a message put into the bottle by the producer for the consumer; the more complex it is and profound the greater the pleasure in its deciphering.”
There have been many wine connoisseurs that try to understand the term ‘terroir’ better, yet Remington Norman, for me put it the best and most importantly with charm.
So, what is Norman’s attempt for a description of a Grand Cru quality wine?
“Fine Burgundy posses an internal, almost spiritual energy, which transcends description. Each component is there but none dominant … It should stimulate the imagination and challenge the intellect … and like any wine, it must also give pleasure.”
I cannot more agree with the well-versed author Remington Norman.