Wine is at the center of this intriguing study of a rural French village. For some 700 years, we are told, work, family life and society in PulignyMontrachet have revolved around the production of its noble white burgundies. Loftus, a British wine merchant and writer ( Anatomy of the Wine Trade ), demonstrates an intimate knowledge of Puligny's history, people, vines, soils, climates, crus, grandes domaines and various plagues that have decimated its vineyards. He also supplies authoritative descriptions of the celebrations, feuds and despairs of the vintners. Although Loftus fortifies his discussion with much technical wine talk, there is nothing technical about his love for the village and its vines. He writes feelingly about the infinitesimal climatic shifts that can make the difference between a great burgundy and a poor one; about the beauty of an 18th-century land-register that details exactly the houses, trees, vineyard subdivisions and ownership of each fraction of land; and about his own passion for ``the scent of those white burgundies (a mixture of fresh straw and ripe peaches . . . suggestions of woodsmoke, of honey and of freshly sawn oak).'' Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Loftus, a wine merchant and author of articles on wine, writes about the world's most celebrated dry white wine and the people of the tiny village where it is produced. There is some history here, but Loftus takes us through a year in the village and introduces us to many of the vintners and other people there. We learn of some of the problems of winemaking and the rivalries in the village. It helps if one is interested in wine and in particular the wines of Burgundy, but the characters in the village are fascinating in themselves. There are 34 photographs by the author and appendixes of the wine appellations, vintages, tastings, and producers. Recommended for general collections and special collections on wine.-- George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, Pa.