Why Big Red Diary?

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!

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

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