the magic of the45th parallel

The Ideal Latitude fort the World's Great Wines

Olivier Bernard & Thierry Dussard
Preface by Jean-Paul Kauffmann


A magic band surrounds our planet between the 40th and 50th parallels of the northern hemisphere. Within this mysterious space, wine finds the ideal conditions for revealing the true expression of the soil and climate in its fruit and the imprint of each successful vintage.
The 45th latitude, mid-way between the North Pole and the Equator, is the dividing line for wine, most white grapes being grown north of it and red grapes south of it. It thus represents a balancing point and a high-tension wire. This is the foundation from which Olivier Bernard has drawn the theorem of the 45th parallel.
After thirty years of tastings, travel and encounters, Bernard who heads the famous DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER in the Graves region of Bordeaux, wanted to jot down a few words about this magical line, where the climatic ideal for the great vintages is to be found. This was the starting point for the book he has written with Thierry Dussard, and to which twenty-six major witnesses have contributed their expertise.
From Haut-Brion to Romanée-Conti, from Portugal to Italy, does this theorem become universally applicable? It is indeed confirmed in the Caucasus, China and California, even if, in some cases, altitude becomes a substitute for latitude. But is it just as applicable to the same latitude in the southern hemisphere?
The wine luminaries who have contributed to this book, and who are among the most highly respected in the world, specify the influence of the 45th parallel in the creation of great wines suitable for long keeping. The vine-grower carefully chooses the varietals and density of planting, to which the slow and patient work of time is added, resulting in what is crucial in their eyes – balance.
The 45th parallel has become for wine what the Greenwich meridian represents to sailors, a point of reference for all lovers of great wines.

Olivier Bernard

was born in 1960. He is the owner of the Domaine de Chevalier, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, the family estate of the Bernard group. Bernard is a member of the French Wine Academy and vice-chancellor of the Bordeaux Wine Academy, and since 2012 he has been president of the Bordeaux Union of Grands Crus.

Jean-Paul Kauffmann

was born in 1944. He is the founder of L’Amateur de Cigare and the author of many books that have been translated into English, including The Black Room at Longwood: Napoleon's Exile on Saint Helena, (Da Capo Press) 2000; Voyage to Desolation Island (The Harvill Press), 2001; The Struggle with the Angel: Delacroix, Jacob, and the God of Good and Evil (Four Walls Eight Windows) 2002; The Angel of the Left Bank: The Secrets of Delacroix's Parisian Masterpiece, (Random House) 2004; A Journey to Nowhere (MacLehose Press), 2013.

Chantal Cazin

was born in 1955. She studied at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs and works now as an illustrator. She has illustrated several books for children and she painted the portraits of prominent men and women in the wine sector, although she only drinks white wine.

Thierry Dussard

was born in 1953. He was a journalist working for the news magazine Le Point then Capital and writes about wine and gastronomy, including in L’Amateur de Cigare, Le Télégramme and Vigneron. He is the author of many books such as Killy (Lattès), Dans le sillage de Gauguin, et Faim de mer with Patrick Jeffroy (Glénat).

26 Big Witnesses

- Paolo Basso
- Simon Berry
- Michel Bettane
- Véronique Boss-Drouhin
- Jean-Louis Chave
- Jean-Michel Deiss
- Jean-Philippe Delmas
- Stéphane Derenoncourt
- Paul Draper
- Alain Dutournier
- Frédéric Engerer
- Bill Harlan
- Olivier Humbrecht
- Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta
- Pierre Lurton
- Ghislain de Montgolfier
- Egon Müller
- Jean-Pierre Perrin
- Jean-Robert Pitte
- Ch'ng Poh Tiong
- Jancis Robinson
- Michel Serres
- Serena Sutcliffe
- Dominic Symington
- Shinya Tasaki
- Aubert de Villaine

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