Why Big Red Diary?

oof- what a dinner…


Homemade boeuf-bourguignone was on the menu along with a brilliant lineup of wines from me and others – not a bad collection for just four of us! I didn’t make notes during the evening, but did look again at the bottles that remained next day – all still full of vigour. Some were whisked away for further ‘testing’ by guests so I don’t have a full set of notes…

We started with a bottle Henri Chauvet’s NV Brut Reserve Champagne. The last bottle from a number that I bought at the domaine about 8 years ago. I have to say that it tasted pretty good with the gougères!

1996 Grivot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Roncières
Wide but very shy nose – not much to talk about. Good depth and still some velvet tannin. The acidity slowly comes centre-stage, but there’s a lovely high-toned fruit and good energy that comes with it. Overall, a little closed and a little hard. But good flavours

1976 Thomas-Bassot, Clos des Ruchottes-Chambertin
Medium, medium-pale colour. The nose has an airy, high-toned and quite beautiful red fruit – this is aromatically beguiling – the loveliest thing I’ve smelled (from a bottle!) this year. Width, density and still some tannin. The fruit is high-toned, and behind is a more earthy depth. Good mid-palate intensity and very long on a mineral note. Nothing like as elegant as the nose but a super wine.

1983 Jacques Prieur, Musigny
Hmm. The nose is very similar to that of the Thomas-Bassot, with an extra depth – still only the second-best wine I’ve smelled this year! The palate is rounder than the last wine, with more depth too, but has a little more (refined) tannin – that said it is still more suave. The acidity is more covered by extract, so offers a little less obvious energy than the Ruchottes, but it’s a tasty wine. A super bottle, but to be honest, I’ve a preference for the Ruchottes!

2004 Ponsot, Clos de la Roche
Browning, medium colour. The nose is rather bizarre; a sort-of green pea / malo aroma, but quite unlike anything I’ve smelled before – I won’t be unhappy if I don’t smell it again! In the mouth is good acidity, plenty of energy and some quite nice fruit – unfortunately it is tainted with whatever makes the nose smell. It has nothing to do with the classic 2004/2011 pyrazine aroma, but regardless, it’s not a wine to have a second glass of!

2006 Jerome Galeyrand, Bonnes-Mares
Medium-plus colour. Here is a rather intense floral perfume – not obviously showing any stem character – if I’m honest, it’s not particularly enticing, but it has quite some power. Round, concentrated and with growing intensity. This is a Bonnes-Mares of brutal intensity but with a lovely flavour running into, and through the finish – quite tasty! This is clearly a bit of a monster, yet it is not just full-packed, it’s also rather balanced. It’s like a 2005 with hairier forearms and dirty fingernails. Not particularly user-friendly today but has everything it needs to grow old – I’m not if it will ever grow old gracefully though.

1977 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Corton-Charlemagne
An intense yellow-fruit core, but otherwise the nose is rather narrow and direct. In the mouth it’s rather narrow and direct too – you start by thinking a little dilute but the intensity mounts and mounts, the flavour is more mineral than anything else. Just the merest hint of fruit in the long, mineral finish. This a wine that you could cut your tongue on. Very, very enjoyable, though a wine that begs food!

1981 Prosper-Maufoux, Montrachet
Deeper colour than the Charlemagne. The nose starts with just a faint whiff of oxidation, but it fades and fades until it’s gone. The aroma grows and grows until it more than fills the glass, overflowing with a creamy, lanolin, textured impression – lovely. Much more mineral, high-toned fruity and silky than the nose suggests, and with real reserves of flavour – such depth and finishing length, a length that has some sweet caramel attached to it. Here’s a wine that doesn’t need food – just the time to contemplate it.

2005 Prieur-Brunet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Embrazées
High tones with faint aniseed and a sweet but high-toned pear – unusual and far from typical Chassagne, but really appealing. There’s the power of the vintage but none of the bulkiness or lack of energy. The overall flavour profile is high-toned and energetic with a beautifully detailed and pretty finishing fruit – rather beguiling this wine – I absolutely love it.

I remember also:

2002 Nicolas Potel, Chambertin
Big wine but a little tight – was fuller and much more effusive next morning.

1999 Henri Gouges Nuits St.Georges 1er Les St.Georges
Whilst clearly still a baby, everyone remarked how open and enjoyable this wine was!

2011 Au Pied de Mont Chauve, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Demoiselles
Fresh, young, perhaps a little CO2 spoils perfect focus, but everyone was purring….

2007 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot Les Fairendes
Here was a wine with that perfect focus – everyone was wowed…

1992 lafon monthélie 1er duresses (encore)


Last tasted in April last year, and I’d say that this is a bit nicer bottle.

1992 Comtes Lafon, Monthélie 1er Les Duresses
Medium, perhaps medium-plus red colour. The nose begins rather deeply; a baked dark-fruit that slowly becomes redder and redder and shows a subtle but interesting pyrazine note – not quite like a 2004/2011 though. To start with there’s good power and acidity but the impression is a little ‘lumpen’. This wine needs about 30 minutes the stretch its legs, showing much more aplomb – even if the grainy tannin refuses to put on a suave suite – still, there’s no astringency.
Rebuy – Yes

ops – silly me – was I supposed to publish something pink and lovey today…? Maybe I’ll find some pink kittens for you later today ;-)

michel lafarge’s 1993 volnay clos des chênes…


Despite their lofty reputation, and the undeniable brilliance of their wines when tasting from barrel, I’d yet to have a ‘wow’ moment with bottles from this domaine. That’s not to say that I haven’t drunk many very good bottles! Well, here’s a ‘wow’, indeed, in-fact here’s the best wine I’ve drunk this year, and that’s despite the Matrot 72 Santenots…

1993 Michel Lafarge, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
Still with a deep colour. The nose is dark, mineral and full of energy, some leaves and some blood – it’s so precise it seems to have been cut with a knife. The dark flavours are wide, fresh and they grow in intensity – super-focused again. This silky wine leaves a beautiful mouth-watering finish. Short and sweet (the note) but brilliant wine!
Rebuy – Yes

joseph matrot’s 1972 volnay-santenots


I was hunting around the cellar for some bottles for this weekend – a blind tasting with friends of ‘old stuff’ – at least I will be opening old stuff! I found the bottles I wanted under others. As I was replacing the ‘others’, this wine was in my hands, and I simply thought – why not? If my weekend wines are anything near as good, I’ll be very happy…

The cork had remained a faithful seal, but it was a pig to remove, indeed it ultimately disintegrated despite my best efforts, efforts that aimed to combine a screw-pull worm and an Ah-So. So this was filtered into a decanter through an un-perfumed kitchen towel.

1972 Joseph Matrot, Volnay-Santenots 1er Cru
Medium-pale colour, but bright and shiny. The nose is simply brilliant; powerful, deep, and with roast fruit notes blended with faint bacon and not so faint earth. Wait (at least) 90 minutes and there’s a big smoky whole-cluster element with a finer, more acid-raspberry note too. Fat-textured, round, yet swirling around your mouth shows freshness. The acidity peaks in the mid-palate but without ever becoming spiky, slowly mouth-watering into the sweet finish. The fruit, like the nose, is a little baked but tasty. I can’t get over how impressive and powerful the aromas are here – it’s a rare wine from the Côte de Nuits that could compare – a brilliant performance, chapeau!
Rebuy – No Chance

jean-noël gagnard’s 1999 chassagne caillerets


Actually, I drank this last week, but only now got around to typing the note. We started with two bottles, but the first showed a mild corkiness that was enough to spoil our enjoyment, particularly so, when we realised how good the second bottle was!

1999 Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er les Caillerets
Lemon yellow. The nose is open and fresh though seems to close a little – for just a short time. The flavours are wide and mineral and there is a lovely energy to this wine. The flavour just grows more and more intense as you head into the mid-palate. This is very ‘Caillerets’ in that it is mainly about energy, texture and intensity – there is little fruit to comment on. Super wine!
Rebuy – Yes

leflaive’s 2008 chevalier-montrachet


2008 Leflaive, Chevalier-Montrachet
Wow – this is showing its wares: Beautiful aromas of fresh citrus fruit, and there’s a really gorgeous depth too – this is just so ‘open’. Intense – I’ll say that again – intense, beautiful flavours and again it’s just so open. A core of agrume fruit – it’s like summer dish of grapefruit and mandarin oranges – oof! Given how sullen, massive, and basically ‘not very tasty’ the 2005 was at the same age, I’m simply amazed. Beautiful, beautiful wine!
Rebuy – Yes

welcome back: c marey & comte liger-belair…


Louis-Michel Liger-Belair has been a busy boy.

Not only has he been re-designing the family Audi A3*, but he has been remodelling his affairs in Vosne-Romanée too.

The name of the business C.Marey was first recorded in Nuits St.Georges in 1720. In 1852, Guillaume-Félix Marey, together with the Comte Liger-Belair joined their business together to form the company, C.Marey et Comte Liger-Belair. On the death of Guillaume-Félix in 1869, the company passed solely into the hands of the Liger-Belairs. In the first half of the 1900s this company name was sold, eventually ending up in the hands of Maison Boisset of Nuits St.Georges.

Louis-Michel has come to an agreement with Boisset to recover this old name connected to his family in Vosne-Romanée, and will use this as the vehicle for selling multiple lots of wines he has been buying at the Hospices de Beaune.

*Nobody was seriously injured, but Louis-Michel’s wife, Constance, has a painful broken bone.

offer of the day – henri boillot 2012s…

In brackets, you will see the equivalent prices from the 2011 offer and then the 2010 offer:

BOURGOGNE Chardonnay 75cl 22.00 (20.00 20.00) Swiss francs
MEURSAULT 75cl 44.00 (39.00 39.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 75cl 48.00 (42.00 42.00)

MEURSAULT Les Genevrières 75cl 89.50 (79.00 68.00)
MEURSAULT Les Perrières 75cl 98.00 (79.00 69.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Clos de La Mouchère 75cl 89.50 (72.00 68.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Pucelles 75cl 98.00 (78.00 72.00)

CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 75cl 138.00 (99.50 98.00)
CRIOTS BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 249.00 (168.00 159.00)
BIENVENUES BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 319.00 (189.00 178.00)
BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 399.00 (249.00 235.00)
MONTRACHET 75cl 599.00 (448.00 399.00)

VOLNAY 75cl 44.00 (39.00 39.00)
VOLNAY Les Caillerets 75cl 85.00 (69.00 66.00)
POMMARD Les Rugiens 75cl 89.00 (69.00 69.00)

CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 139.00 (105.00 98.00)

A slightly reduced range on offer for 2012. Villages aside, that’s a very impressive run of pricing no…(?)

maison clavelier’s 2010 villages nuits st.georges…


You may remember, that I was more than just pleasantly surprised how good the wines from this ‘maison’ could be. I don’t hold out the same level of hope for some of the grander wines, as clearly Clavelier will have less and less input into the final product, but this is a simply brilliant villages. I think I may have given the ‘Villages Nuits of the Year’ to Potel’s Domaine de Bellene in 2010 and 2011, but this wine would be an interesting competitor for that 2010. It’s excellent.


2010 Maison Clavelier et Fils, Nuits St.Georges
Medium, medium-plus colour. Fresh, mineral width with a more modest but glossy dark-red fruit is also in attendance. Hmmm, this is really silky and fresh, and shows a brilliant depth of dark-fruited flavour – slowly becoming higher-toned and ever-more impressive. There are a few added barrel flavours for complexity too – they take about 30 minutes to fade into the background – long, long, long. This wine is more pleasurable and interesting than about 50% of all the Nuits 1er Crus I’ve tasted in the vintage – and you know how good a vintage it is! Still, at about €30, it is not much cheaper than some of those – you sometimes get what you pay for. Class!
Rebuy – Yes

louis max’s 2010 savigny 1er fourneaux


I guess this could have turned out to be a faux-pas: I know that I consider the winemaking here to be very good, but I should probably have drunk this one before the excellent wine of Nico Rossignol – but c’est la vie! Mind-you, it’s good test!

2010 Louis Max, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Fourneaux
Here the colour is a shade paler than the Rossignol, but still medium, medium-plus. The nose is higher toned at the outset but has a beautiful and clean dark-red fruit note – this is very pretty wine too! Less padded that the last wine and perhaps with just a hint more acidity and a similar hint less tannin, but I also find real depth and concentration to the flavour. Here lies the travesty of points for wines: I would probably have to score this wine one point less than the Rossignol, but there is no gap in pleasure. Another great Fourneaux in 2010!
Rebuy – Yes

nico rossignol’s 2010 savigny 1er fourneaux


2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Fourneaux
Medium-plus colour. The nose starts and ends with faintly toasted bread, but in the middle is dark-red fruit with a faint spice element – it begs you to take a sip. Here is an uncommon density and padded texture for a Savigny, but with quite enough freshness. There is tannin, it brings a slightly velvet-texture, but you will have to search it out. Mouth-watering and red-fruited, perhaps faintly plummy flavours. Just a very, very, very tasty wine. Excellent Savigny…
Rebuy – Yes

françois mikulski’s 2010 meursault perrières


Although you (I) might expect this to have been the best wine in the cellar chez Mikulski, it wasn’t quite on the same level as François’ other premier crus when I tasted the 10s at the domaine – afterwards he explained to me why: To complete his range, he actually buys these grapes. Still, as part of a mixed case that I bought, and without other ‘benchmarks’ to compare it to, this tastes damn fine today…

2010 François Mikulski, Meursault 1er Perrières
Medium-pale, lemon-yellow colour. The nose has impressive depth, there’s some minerality for sure, and the fruit that shows itself is yellow and citrusy. In the mouth there’s a faint suggestion of tannin, width and a fine depth of mineral / ripe lemon flavour. A good extra dimension of flavour forms a reprise in the finish too. It perhaps could be improved by a hint more acidity to sharpen its focus, but not being picky, this is very tasty indeed. I am savouring it!
Rebuy – Yes

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