Comprehensive. That’s the word that springs to mind when leafing through the pages of the second edition of Inside Burgundy. Clocking in at 800 pages, it’s difficult to imagine a more complete guide to the wine region that turned the broad French concept of terroir into an exacting science (Burgundy accounts for about 3% of France’s wine output by volume but has close to 20% of its appellations).
The book was originally published in 2010 by Jasper Morris, who was at the time a Burgundy buyer for Berry Bros. & Rudd. Morris has now retired from the wine trade so conflict of interest has become less of a problem and, now being based in Burgundy, he’s also found the time to more thoroughly explore the region’s better value areas, including the Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais. With the price of Burgundy having skyrocketed since the original book was published, this is good news for restaurant buyers.
The book begins with a series of detailed introductory essays including the region’s history, the structure of its wine trade, its weather, its geology, its grapes and how its wines are made. This is followed by an incredibly detailed examination of each appellation. Morris uses Burgundy’s existing classification system to breakdown and discuss a total of around 1,500 vineyards (all grand crus and premier crus are covered along with the majority of lieux-dits). This work is aided with a series of carefully produced and easy to understand maps.
This is followed by ‘portraits’ of the leading producers based within each appellation (the majority include breakdowns of vineyard holdings). Within these Morris provides detailed commentary on production methods, wine style and quality which will be of great use for buyers that are looking to get to grips with what is arguably France’s most complex and difficult to navigate wine producing region.