Why Big Red Diary?

the big site change – paid content – quelle horreur!!!

I know you’ve all (all 3 of you!) been waiting with trepidation to see how ‘no-score Nanson’ was going to ruin his site. Well, that time is drawing near! I’d planned to make the change last weekend, but a few technical issues still needed to be resolved, but really, I think that in the next 7-10 days it might really happen!

So, what won’t change?
Actually the majority of the site will be exactly as before, and I’ll still do a Spring, Summer & Autumn report in the format that you’ve become used to. New domaines will still be profiled in Burgundy Report.

So, what will change?
The tasting notes that were a significant chunk of previous reports will move to the ‘extra content’ area but Burgundy Report will remain a descriptive ‘title’ i.e. taking a more journalistic approach to what is published, including reportage articles. For domaines that have previously been profiled in these pages, all the reportage from those new visits will be in the ‘extra content’ area, including the winemakers’ commentary.

And of-course you won’t find scores! Let me expand on that: I simply don’t believe in the 100 point scale today – and what’s the point of having other scoring systems? – I was dubious about 100pts 20 years ago, but now I’m completely against it. Why?

A cursary glance of any publication dealing with good producers will show scores mainly in the 91-94 range – so everything is potentially the same! When Burghound published his first newsletter (1998/1999 vintages!) a score of 94 was a very rare thing indeed, despite a great vintage. It seems to me that today, and not just from Burghound, 94 is the new 90. But where Burghound brings massive value to his subscribers is his ‘sweet spot’ and ‘don’t miss’ selections. I intend to follow this path to enlightenment in my notes from domaine visits.

Burgundy Report has never been the place to come to for wall-to-wall fawning over Roumier, Rousseau, DRC etcetera – though they will obviously play supporting roles – but, put simply, their prices have doubled so-often that they have limited relevence to the the vast majority of Burgundy drinkers (& buyers) today – and I know that those producers are just as sad about this as we are are…

From a journalistic point of view, I consider that Chablis and the Côtes Chalonnaise and Maçonnais are significantly underserved – I intend to make some inroads into those gaps in the coming months and years – whilst, at the same time extending my coverage of the Côte d’Or itself. We all need good wine to drink that costs less than €15 – right?!

Of-course, asking for money will cause some people to become incandescent with rage because they have always paid nothing – others may applaud if there is value to be had. I hope to underscore the latter, and will, as best as possible, ignore the former.

I, Bill Nanson, remain the sole author of Burgundy Report, but (as always) I don’t preclude contributions from others – the difference is that I might now have to pay them! Let’s see ;-)

So, despite my site’s technical delay, the amount of new content is undiminished. From January and February I already have 26 domaines/maisons in the bag, nine of them new to Burgundy Report, and I head to Burgundy yet-again this week. For reference, I’ll be in Burgundy about 50% of the time, the most commitment of any English-language commentator that I know-of (yes, and before you say it, Clive is largely retired!) and I’m still the only one who triages the grapes, every year, at harvest-time.

To keep some ‘order’, I may arrange new content chronologically; January, February, March etcetera (I intend probably August and December to be content-free months ignoring ‘scoops’), but content will go online as it is completed, rather than waiting. I certainly won’t fill your inboxes with alerts, but new stuff will be announced via @billnanson on Twitter – follow if you wish. Failing that, you can just stop-by and see if there’s anything new ;-)

So, the $64,000 question?
I was going to charge €69 per 12 months – it sounded kinda sexy – but then reality bit and I have to work on the principle that I live in Switzerland; so a nice round 85 Swiss Francs it is (that’s US$96 or £58 today).

Even my optimistic target for subscribers won’t come close to my previous salary (and there are obvious extra costs of being in France so much of the time) so I will be writing for other publications, working on my project ‘Book 2,’ and will also offer my services as a tour-guide in Burgundy. With good content, and a fair wind, I think that this portfolio has the potential to add up to a real job – i.e. one with a real salary!

Oh, and I remain ever the egalitarian; once the paid content is over 18 months old – it will automatically become free content!

Feel free to discuss ;-)

jean-marc pillot’s 2011 montagny 1er


2011 Jean-Marc Pillot, Montagny 1er Les Gouresses
More of a tasting recollection as it was drunk early in the weekend, and here we are on Monday: Mineral, flinty, not with the comfortable padding of the recent JMP Chassagnes, nor quite the same sweetness of fruit either. Actually if you’d been told this was a decent Chablis you might have been taken in. Very good for its price-point I think.
Rebuy – Yes

rossignol-trapet’s 2011 savigny bas liards (take 2!)


Last time I tried this, there was something missing – actually there was quite a lot missing. This time there is a little more to see, and there’s definitely real interest in the glass this time – perhaps it was previously a faint cork issue.

2011 Rossignol-Trapet, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Bas Liards
Medium, medium-plus colour. Aromatically very shy, but over about 3 hours it fills out a little with some truffle and a sweet undercurrent – modest but inviting. It’s round in the mouth, with modest, but fine-grained tannin. The fruit is more up-front and obvious this time, with all the sweetness and friendliness of the vintage, and as far as I can see, none of the negatives. Very, tasty.
Rebuy – Yes

bruno clair’s 2009 chambolle veroilles


I recently tasted the 2012 of this, and it is one of the best villages I’ve tasted from Chambolle for quite some time. Despite that benchmark, this is pretty damn good too. I remember that Clair, together with Barthod really stood out in the Côte de Nuits for their relative freshness in this warm, ample-fruited 2009 vintage – I’m glad to see that carried through into the bottles too.

2009 Bruno Clair, Chambolle-Musigny Les Veroilles
Only medium colour. Airy, sweet but fresh red fruit – a sort of raspberry/strawberry hybrid – it’s faintly floral too. Very inviting. Just a little fat but fine enough acidity bubbles below the surface. Sweet and brilliantly pretty flavours play across the tongue, with just a faint oak-cream addition as you head into the finish. Sweet, very friendly but oh-so lucious. Simply, super-yum!
Rebuy – Yes

ilan’s 2010 morey 1er monts luisants


I waited a long time for these 2010s, mainly due to ‘Corbeaux-gate’ – such were some of the exaggerated complaints on wine-fora. For info, the Corbeaux didn’t start malo until 1 year late and our winemaker chose not to force it. It went through okay last year, was bottled and I picked up my selected 3 premier crus in January – simple. Late, but simple. It seems that some people didn’t like this non-interventionist approach, that being so, they probably shouldn’t have bought from this domaine in the first place!

I will eventually publish my note on the Corbeaux, but this, if you prepare it properly, this is rather nice.

2010 Maison Ilan, Morey St.Denis 1er Les Monts Luisants
The nose starts mainly with a toasted bread note and a faint reductive element at the core, but it’s also somehow sweet and welcoming. Ooof! Direct and intense attack, but maybe a little too much CO2 to start(?) I return my glass to the bottle and shake – several times. Actually, despite that slight rasp on the tongue, there’s not too much gas to release here. That prickle on the tongue aside, the wine begins very smoothly in the mouth – so, very intense and rather smooth – the balance is fine too. But whilst that reductive note hangs around, I also have the impression of something a little volatile in the flavours, yet there are impressive layers of flavour in the finish. I return after an hour: Still a faint toast on the nose but below is a width of warm, spiced fruit. This wine is still packing a punch but the palate is now more settled and round, no reduction, nothing volatile. The personality here is more a ‘soft and comforting’ wine than ‘laser-focused’ and it has good length. I’m really enjoying it now. If you have some to open, decant it and wait 30 minutes. Good wine.
Rebuy – Yes

jean-marc pillot’s 2011 chassagne les baudines – yum!


Hmm – didn’t this domaine do just great things in the last couple of vintages, and maybe longer…(?) The 2010 Fairendes was brilliant at the weekend, and now this. I’ve also got a 2011 Montagny somewhere, I hope it’s as good as this! ;-)

2011 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Baudines
Medium-pale lemon yellow. Fresh, high-toned blossom/fruit – it has a certain depth and weight about it too. Lovely freshness (you wouldn’t blink if told it was a 2010) width and weight. There’s a creamy extra dimension in the mid-palate flavour too. Truth be told, maybe there’s not quite the focus of this domaines’ 2010s, maybe… Lovely depth, layers of fresh but weighty flavours. I seem to have drunk rather more than a taster’s sip!
Rebuy – Yes

the EG affair…

cite: http://blogreignac.blogspot.frI try not to follow crowds when writing about ‘stuff’, but I felt that I should make a few notes on this subject here, and not just because the story is now in the news mainstream. I’ve been asked by email and in other fora for my opinion on what’s happening in the Emmanuel Giboulot affair. Mainly I’m writing this, because I was a little surprised to see the content of my emails published online – not because I don’t stand behind what I said, but because the person that asked the question never mentioned that they would be published.

So, adding to what I wrote last year, and whatever else might be attributed to me, here’s what I published elsewhere last week:

People should also note that nobody knows where this (FD) will end-up. Has it the potential to be Phylloxera 2.0? or an unwanted cost equivalent to replacing 5-10% of the vines every year? – nobody can answer…

Re Emmanuel Giboulot, as Keith notes, he chose to do publicly what a significant number of people did privately, so in-effect chose his own fate. His actions are of-course being hijacked by ‘über-organic factions’ aligned against anything ‘pesticide’ and there is even a march about this in Paris this weekend I think.

Only to note, that the pesticide in question, is fully allowed by Organic / Bio certification bodies (I’m not sure about Biodynamic as I get different answers from different people), and let’s not forget, 130 years ago many refused to treat their vines (to be clear, it wouldn’t have worked anyway!) against phylloxera, saying ‘my vines don’t have it..’ Weren’t those exactly EG’s words?

Always at least two sides to each discussion…

So, there are never any easy answers, and please, let’s not be mealy-mouthed about this, we are talking about a pesticide – something designed to kill a pest – it’s not simply ‘a treatment’ – so it is important that this isn’t being taken lightly!

Despite the quality of both the wines and the man in question – a man who will face the courts at 13:30 hrs today – and also in spite of online petitions in support of him that now approach half a million ‘signatures’, I have to say that one person, or better said, one ideology, shouldn’t be allowed to jeopardise the livelihood and culture of a whole region.

What price UNESCO if there are no vines in 15 years?

nicolas rossignol 2010 pommard les vignots


2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Pommard Les Vignots
Deeply coloured. The nose is wide, dark and slightly glossy. The palate has plenty of width too, the black-cherry fruit is perhaps less dark than the nose – and supported by a ripe, faintly grained tannin. The mid-palate fruit is very lovely – super energy. This wine clearly has a little dissolved gas as it really benefits from a couple of hours open. A dark, and almost obvious Pommard personality but with real brio. Super!
Rebuy – Yes

just a little meursault to start the day…

picture-perfect volnay…


It was already cloudy by about 10:30 today, but what a beautiful start we had.

Growers remain concerned that the buds on some south-facing vines are starting to swell a little, and there is no end in sight to the mild weather (10°C and sun at 10am!), though we are still just behind the precocious beginning to 2007.

Anyway, enjoy…

more old beaune…

No Pommard today, and not so much blue sky either, but a cancelled appointment left time to walk the remparts of Beaune – I haven’t done that for years!

monday in beaune and pommard…

There were occasional patches of mist but as the sun came through the ploughed rows of vines began steaming – looked rather cool! A perfect Spring day with 12-15°C. A shame its February and the wines should be completely dormant. Everyone is hoping for a nice steady 2-3 weeks of -5°C or-so to kill off all that’s nasty and keep the vines from getting excited too early.

Nobody can afford them to be frosted this year!

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