By far France''s largest fine-wine region, Bordeaux is also
arguably its greatest, and perhaps the greatest in the world.
Grands Vins is the most comprehensive survey of these
wines ever published. Following an introduction detailing the
history, the geography, the grape varieties, and other regional
wine-making idiosyncrasies, Clive Coates--who is reputed to know
more about the estates and their wines than the owners
themselves--profiles the leading châteaux and assesses their top
red and white wines. He discusses the respective qualities, taste
characteristics and merits of just about every fine Bordeaux wine
made in the last thirty years and more, listing its state of
maturity and optimum drinking periods in succinct and accessible
Since the publication of Clive Coates''s Claret in 1982,
the Bordeaux region has seen many changes. There has been a run of
bumper, successful red-wine harvests unparalleled in recent times.
Perfectionist control of the viticultural process is now
commonplace not just at the top of the hierarchy but right down to
cru bourgeois level, and the vineyards planted following the great
February 1956 frost have reached full maturity, producing a quality
and consistency that Bordeaux has until now never enjoyed.
Moreover, a revival in the fortunes of Sauternes and a revolution
in the techniques of dry-white wine making means that the quality
of these wines matches that of the reds. For the historian, too,
there is far more documentation available about the illustrious
pasts of many Bordeaux châteaux than a decade ago; many estates
have initiated long-overdue research into their archives, and
scarce nineteenth-century books have been reprinted in
Essential reading for anyone who has cellared or intends to buy
Bordeaux wines, Grands Vins is a lucid voyage through the
histories of the leading estates, a convivial encounter with their
personalities, a fascinating lesson in contemporary wine-making
techniques, and above all a celebration of preeminent wines.