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Wine Books: Clive Coates

Clive Coates writes with authority on many regions, but especially Burgundy. He was once very popular with UK-based drinkers in particular, providing an alternative voice to more strident critics with his regular newsletter, The Vine. Sadly that publication ceased to be, and Clive has now largely retired, but some of his texts still hold much value as works of reference.

Clive CoatesCôte d'Or - The Great Wines of Burgundy (1997)
Clive Coates
University of California Press
Available from Amazon (UK) and Amazon (USA)
ISBN-13: 978-0520212510

Although Coates has written on regions other than Burgundy, I feel it is here that he has really excelled. This book concerns itself with only the most significant regions of Burgundy, the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, together known as the Côte d'Or, or 'golden slope'. Like Parker's Bordeaux it is a huge tome, with over 1000 pages but, unlike that book, it has a high quality, glossy feel, making this a much more pleasant book for browsing. Particularly as Coates gives a very detailed rundown of 60 or so of the top Burgundy domains, which makes for fascinating reading. He makes further producer recommendations, together with a huge selection of tasting notes. I like Coates' ranking system, describing wines as very fine, fine, good, etc. rather than awarding scores - this is, after all, wine rather than science. In summary, as well as being very easy on the eye, this book was an invaluable reference source during my early explorations through the wines of Burgundy.