Vendange Press

About the Book

About the Author

The Back Cover


The Preface

Sample Pages


Critical praise for What Price Bordeaux?

This Master of Wine peels back the secrecy and mystique obscuring the reality of Bordeaux, one of the world's most iconic wine regions. What he finds is troubling: prices and reputations that are based on a ranking dating to 1855; changes in winemaking designed to get good scores from critics but which may result in shorter-lived, less ambitious wines; court battles; fraud; cash-strapped chateaux. Elegantly written and liberally sprinkled with photographs and charts, the book shrewdly reveals the sobering truth behind the legendary and extraordinarily priced wines of Bordeaux. The book is a must for serious wine lovers and well-heeled collectors of Bordeaux, Chicago Tribune.

There’s something retro about this book, in the best sense. It reads more like something from Hugh Johnson or André Simon than a slapdash quickie from today. Authoritative, classic in structure, elegant and complex, like a Classified Growth itself. Lewin asks questions that are as fundamental as any that may be posed concerning wine, and it’s amazingly odd how little consensus there is concerning their answers, even going on the Classification’s 154th anniversary. These are brave questions to ask, and they ought to be asked. There are so many fertile areas to explore and discuss, one hardly knows where to begin; I could blog on these quotes alone for the next year, Steve Heimoff.

An excellent new book, What Price Bordeaux?, reminds me to turn my attention to red Bordeaux vintages and how ready those in your cellar may be to drink. Its author – fellow Master of Wine Benjamin Lewin – was the founding editor of the biology journal Cell and his previous hardcover titles are Genes, Essential Genes and, most recently, Cells. But this is not to imply that the writing is dry. Far from it. The text is eminently lucid and readable. The book offers bordeauxphiles a 292-page wallow in the world’s dominant, and certainly most mercantile, fine wine region, however difficult the Bordelais have found it to sell their 2007s and 2008s, Jancis Robinson, Financial Times.

It’s extremely rare - dare I say even unique? - for a distinguished scientist previously unconnected with vines or wines to be let loose on the history of Bordeaux. It helps that he is sure to conduct his research with a rigor not generally found among wine writers, to ask awkward questions, and not to be put off with the many answers that don’t satisfy his standards. Moreover, the scientist involved, Dr Benjamin Lewin, cannot be accused of ignorance about wines - he’s a Master of Wine. As a result of his background, What Price Bordeaux? ranges far wider and deeper than the title would suggest, covering most of the major elements in Bordeaux’s fascinating history and curious ways. Nicholas Faith, World of Fine Wine.

Lewin's sharp mind cuts to the chase on such vexed issues as second wines, and how the 1855 classification, which began life as a hastily assembled survey of brokers' based almost entirely on wine prices at the time, mysteriously segued into French law... Most of this information is fascinating, and even readers steeped in Bordeaux culture will learn a great deal... Anyone with a close interest in Bordeaux will find the book invaluable. Stephen Brook, Decanter.

This is fascinating reading for any serious student of Bordeaux... The journey is both enlightening and entertaining, Thomas Matthew, Wine Spectator.