Wine writer Neal Martin is about to launch his first book, called Pomerol, which he has published himself after three year’s intensive research.
Pomerol by Neil Martin
Based entirely on the famous Right Bank Bordeaux commune, Martin told the drinks business that the book had proved a “gargantuan task”, and would be available to order in about 3-4 weeks.
Comprising three main parts, one aspect deals with the history of the commune, another contains winery profiles organised alphabetically, and a final considers every Pomerol cru ever made – as many as 400.
Martin decided to publish the book himself because, he said, “I’m stubborn and didn’t want to compromise – I felt there were parts an editor would take out.”
He also said that he wanted “to be part of every process, every detail, such as the colour of the paper.”
With almost 600 pages, the book promises to look at Pomerol in immense detail, particularly when it comes to the second part, which contains 43 winery profiles.
Giving a sense of the depth of content, he said, “Just Pétrus gets 14,000 words.”
Researching the tome was a difficult task however. Beginning in 2009, Martin said there are few archives, requiring him to gather historic information through lengthy interviews with the owners at the various Pomerol properties, yielding results which at times were conflicting.
As for the style of the book, it’s quirky, with anecdotes, no formal tasting notes and hand-drawn maps of the various properties by their owners.
“Because maps cost lots of money I bought a sketchbook and asked proprietors to draw them for me – they are not supposed to be accurate, but personal and artistic.”
Martin also commented, “The style of the profiles are very different, some are humorous, some are sad.”
Meanwhile the prologue is written like an imaginary conversation between the author and the reader.
Interestingly, the pictures are all black and white, and have been taken by a “Swedish friend and photographer” called Yohan Berglund.
Robert Parker has also contributed some words, although there is no foreword from the famous wine critic, and Martin stressed that the book was “completely independent to The Wine Advocate”.
Explaining his decision to choose Pomerol for his first book, Martin stated, “I’ve always loved the wines and it’s the last remaining appellation [in Bordeaux] where you can go to a château and the family are still there…. And I wanted the human aspect, a lot of the book is a conversation with the winemaker.”
As for the general approach, Martin pointed out that he was “inspired” by the way Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris was written, designed and marketed.
Finally, Martin admitted he might be tempted to publish another book should his first one prove successful.
“I’d like to do a compendium of things I’ve written over the last 10 years,” he told db.
For more information on Pomerol click here.
Martin said the book would cost £50 plus postage and packaging when it goes on sale next month.