Making maps of Burgundy’s vineyards can be very time consuming, as the number of details is endless.
When I make maps, it is to illustrate a story – or perhaps several stories – about wines and producers. A map without a story is like a GPS without a vehicle: It will not take you very far.
We stand on the shoulders of great men
I would love to take the credit for some of the vineyard maps I have made, but let’s face it, many have possibly been made before by previous or current generations of cartographers and/or wine journalists. Credit to them all.
While it’s sometimes difficult to establish who made the first effort, it is clear that we will see more and more going forward, as new details are discovered on well-known maps.
That being said, I want to mention one Renaissance man in particular who made detailed maps of many of the grands crus some 30 years ago: Jean–François Bazin (1942-2020) who sadly passed away on April 17.
Jean-François Bazin: a man of many talents
When I started the Winehog blog I had the pleasure of getting valuable help and information from Jean-François Bazin.
Clearly he was one of the great Burgundy writers, although he had many talents and did expand his career into both politics and novels.
To compare Jean-François Bazin to the last of the classic Burgundy writers – Camille Rodier – is tempting. But I find it preferable to say that Bazin was a Rodier for modern times. He will be missed by all who love Burgundy wines.
Clive Coates – Burgundy in detail
Clive Coates also created wonderful insights and sometimes even maps, and his book “Côte d’Or: A Celebration of the Great Wines of Burgundy” (1997) is in my view the most comprehensive and detailed guide to the region’s landscape.
Another reason to honour Clive Coates: He inspired me to start the Winehog when I met him at a tasting at Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair in the summer of 2011.
We are many who embrace the task
Many people stand on the shoulders of Coates and Bazin. To mention just a few – Jasper Morris, for carrying on Clive’s tradition with his great book “Inside Burgundy” (2010); and of course Allen Meadows for his Burghound report and his splendid book about Vosne-Romanée.
Finally, on the map side, Laurent Gotti, who made some fine maps of Chambertin and a few other top vineyards. Great work!
We all should cheer and salute Clive Coates and the memory of Jean-François Bazin. We all make our maps thanks to knowledge we got from you.
How I make maps
As is explained at the beginning of this article, I make maps to support and tell a story or to explain history.
It is therefore imperative that the details of the map are correct. Rather than publishing a map with incorrect or incomplete information, I prefer to wait and verify the details before I publish. In some cases I will publish details on the plot of a particular grower about whom I am currently writing, while waiting to fill in the rest of the growers and plots as the data are found and verified. We all make mistakes from time to time, but we certainly don´t need to seek them out.
To make a map of a vineyard like Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots is extremely tiresome and will take a great deal of research, especially if one wants to see the full picture including negociants and the relatively unknown growers who sell to the negociant trade.
Making accurate maps takes time!