Puligny-Montrachet

by Simon Loftus. Knopf $24.00. As a wine merchant and an author of wine catalogues, Mr. Loftus is not immune to the précieux jargon of his trade, but he is also a good writer and a careful observer. His account of life in a Burgundian village devoted to the production of ineffably superior wines covers the people, the methods, a decent amount of history, and the splendid, uproarious, drunken, pious, traditional, commercialized binge celebrating the final harvest. The book is informative and good reading, but it does provoke a thirst.