Why Big Red Diary?

nicolas potel 1997 volnay

nicolas potel 1997 volnay

My last Potel (99 Volnay 1er Mitans) was horribly corked so it would be hard not to improve! Very highly rated by Perry Mason from barrel, this is a wine that has been sullen virtually since release – every couple of years I pull one out for a test, the last was about the best showing. So…
1997 Nicolas Potel, Volnay try to find this wine...
Quite deeply coloured ruby-red and starting to gain a shade of amber at the rim. Wide, slightly ethereal aromatics with a submerged but dense core of darker fruit – very interesting. The full palate shows plenty of fine background tannin that’s edged with a little bitterness. There’s just enough acidity and the flavour lingers very well, hinting to cream – there was a slightly green cedary phase but then it was gone. A very fine 97 and a better drink than the d’Angerville 99 from yesterday.
Rebuy – Yes (at 97 prices!)

d’angerville 1999 volnay 1er fremiet

marquis d'angerville 1999 volnay fremiet

1999 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Fremiet try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red core. The nose is dense, and just now will win no prizes for elegance – heavy plum notes dominate a nice dark confiture. Intense and nicely fresh, more mature flavours and a lingering liquid length. Tannin is only found if you roll the wine around in your mouth – it has some grain, but it’s rather anonymous. I finished every drop, but it’s far from in a lovable place today.
Rebuy – Maybe

…probably not dishwasher friendly…

Young London-based designer Kacper Hamilton has created a set of seven wine glasses inspired by the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

Brilliant stuff – but probably not dishwasher friendly!!!

greed !!!

2005 heresztyn, gevrey-chambertin vieilles vignes

heresztyn gevrey chambertin

2005 Heresztyn, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. Width and dark cherry fruit with faint white pepper and a softer, warmer core. The palate has a soft texture, currently rather bright acidity but a very nice depth of fruit in the mid-palate and finish. It’s another 2005 that’s not an easy drink right now, but the quality behind will eventually repay the wait – though I expect it won’t be short wait.
Rebuy – Yes

the billionaire’s vinegar, benjamin wallace (2008)

1787 - the billionaire's vinegarBillionaire’s Vinegar is first and foremost a book that I really enjoyed – in the manner of well-researched fiction – perhaps not a thriller, but certainly a who-dunnit.  Secondly, it’s a book from which you can learn much of the auction market machinations and importantly if you are tempted to buy old wine, it will ensure that those rose-tinted spectacles will be left at home – oh and we are supposed to believe that it’s all true!

For those that may have lived in a cupboard for the last year or so, it is a story that starts with a bottle of wine with the initials Th.J. dated 1787.  Actually there may have been as many as 30 “Thomas Jefferson” bottles purportedly found in a Paris cellar, the first of which being famously sold by Christies for a world record price.

Despite multiple pages of reference and source materials, Christies (Decanter) claim there to be many ‘inaccuracies’ in the book, though as Mandy Rice-Davies would say – ‘they would say that wouldn’t they’. Of course Christies were not the source of those bottles, one Hardy Rodenstock is the primary target of the book, though from the narrative it’s clear that the author sees Christies in general and Christies’ Maître dit Michael Broadbent in particular as willing dupes at best.

Despite some of those bottles clearly containing excellent old wine, they were faked – analysis showed one of them to contain wine from 1962 – as they all came from the same cellar, undisturbed for maybe 100 years or more, if one falls they all fall.

I highly recommended this well-written book, but one thing disappoints; it’s still only a partly told story. Hardy Rodenstock is still being pursued, both by private detectives and through the courts – mainly by one very deep-pocketed owner of a number of questionable bottles, some with the initials Th.J.  Rodenstock’s hunter is playing a long game which the hunter appears to be both enjoying and expects to win. Perhaps the author of this book also felt hunted and needed to be sure hist book was published first. I expect the second or third edition may have one or two more chapters and a real conclusion.

a busy week…

Art Basel 39It’s been a long week – it stated with a 4:45am taxi on Monday morning and a flight to Zürich.  Despite the hour, the lake of Zürich looked stunning with its green-shaded water as we headed in to land.  No time to wait, straight onto another plane for Manchester…

A couple of hours working from a Macclesfield ‘hot-desk’ before visiting a customer.  The evening was spent in a hotel next to one of the UK’s major shrines to commercialism – the Trafford Centre – the ‘Brazilian’ restaurant was not so bad though!

A day and a half followed in north Yorkshire’s Harrogate – a very wet Harrogate at that – for the first day anyway, but it was a hint more sultry on the Wednesday before heading back to Manchester airport and home.

Yesterday I had the chance to take in some of the Art Basel 39 exhibition (left).  Even in 4 hours you will see only a fraction of what’s on display/offer.  Francis Bacon seemed to be in vogue, but I didn’t really feel quite the same level of wow-factor as in many years – and that was compounded by a corked bottle of Potel’s 99 Volnay 1er Mitans when I got home – grrr.

Still, now we head into a weekend where the Swiss will be going into overdrive for the European Championship 2008 (Trademark) – everything seems to be sporting a ‘TM’ – perhaps I’m not even allowed to write ‘Euro 2008′ – who knows (cares!).

recent articles…

Two articles from Mr Asimov:

And one more from the NYTimes

la-lignier 2005 morey st.denis

lucie auguste lignier 2005 morey st.denis

Another Lignier, this time more differentiated by it’s label. I also see there’s a new website from this team.
2005 Lucie et Auguste Lignier, Morey St.Denis try to find this wine...
Deep cherry-red colour, almost a little purple. Wide aromatics with slight white-pepper spice over a deeper but reticent black cherry. Excellent intensity of black cherry fruit, super acidity to balance and tannin that is submerged in the extract. It’s a powerful combination for a villages wine, a little mineral too but it’s also very linear and obviously closing-in on itself – faint black chocolate shows on the finish. Super villages but be prepared to wait.
Rebuy – Yes

hubert lignier 04 morey st.denis

hubert lignier 2004 morey st.denis

2004 Hubert Lignier, Morey St.Denis try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour still with some cherry-red colour. Deep aromatics, with dense darker cherry fruit thats not perfectly fine but has a lovely faint mocha halo. Mouth-filling, well balanced acidity and tannin that comes through on the mid-palate but has already faded before the finish. Actually the finish is rather good with small after-shocks of creamy flavour. Today the mid-palate flavours have a bitter edge that contasts well with the sweet fruit but was just on a little too high level to start – after an hour and with food I’d rather say bitter chocolate – nothing left for tomorrow, very nice.
Rebuy – Maybe

2004 sérafin gevrey-chambertin

2004 Sérafin Père et Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour, only just retaining a hint of cherry-red colour. The nose starts with full-on oak toast which slowly, slowly recedes to reveal black-shaded cherry, faint coffee and even some higher floral notes. Good texture and an ever-increasing intensity as you head for the mid-palate – the acidity seems not perfectly integrated though. Long, with creamy elements. Overall it is rather too oaky for my palate (to enjoy) and there’s eventually a suggestion of ash on the nose, but it’s certainly a good effort with no green.
Rebuy – Maybe – but too oaky for me…

news of the day…

Maison Albert Bichot’s forecast seems a little glum(?)

I also bring you the curious tale of underwater storage….


website snap

Ultimately meaningless, but I rather like the interpretation of this webpage as a graph!

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