In 1892, Aubertin and Danguy wrote a followup to the book that Jules Lavalle had penned roughly 27 years earlier, Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne. Jules Lavalle had taken much of the findings from Denis Morelot who in 1831 wrote a great deal on terroir, geology and wine in the Côte d’Or. While Jules Lavalle added the distinct class system to the earlier works and reported on the financial aspects at play, Aubertin and Ganguy got back to terroir and filled in with a great technical effort.
Inside the book you will find many engraved images of old Burgundy. Wineries that have come and gone (or simply moved) are illustrated in detail. Soil studies are shown with resulting reports on material breakdowns and comparisons. This is a very interesting piece for so many reasons. They break down the climats and even show average alcohol percentages and ph. Its interesting to note the vineyards which regularly produced wines in the 14% alcohol range, amongst other things.
There are still many more pages I have yet to explore in this book. Things like this are exciting to read. And, to be specific, they always add a level of humility and context to my own path. The vineyards have been here well before me and they will be here much longer after I have gone. The vineyards will always be more important than any wine maker.
This book is also a first edition, just like the 1855 Jules Lavalle book I picked up during harvest 2009. I wish you could find some of these writings easily in a book store. It would make things a lot easier to search out. The difference is the condition on this book is quite exceptional, seeming only 20 years old if just looking at the page quality. There is also binding which helps protect the delicate pages which are just under 120 years old. This makes it all very easy to just pick up and read it as was intended.
Last thing. When I’ve thought about ‘why Burgundy’, the answer has never been a simple,’to make great pinot noir’. The answer lies largely in the living history of the region. To read about people who made wine from the same vineyards, walked the same paths, and dealt with the same struggles as I am is truly inspiring. I know, sounds like a broken record. Sure. Yet every time I encounter something such as this book, it really closes the gap between history and today. Truly inspiring.