Why Big Red Diary?

now online: the unashamedly chablis – subscriber issue

Can be found here.

Those included:

the first flowers of 2014…


Some of the first, anyway!

Once a week, the breakfast at Hotel Montrachet is my treat. Today, on the way back to Beaune, Clouseau-like, I poked around a few vineyards with my camera – today Puligny La Garenne and Meursault Les Perrières. In general the chardonnay of the Côte de Beaune seems a little in advance of the pinot noir, likewise, find a a nice big south-facing wall and those vines that nestle against it – facing south – are even further in advance. Here you will find an occasional vine that is already flowering. It’s an outrider If you like, but my first sight…

Just outside the south-facing wall of the Clos des Perrières:

A little more Meursault Perrières:

A few pics from Puligny Garenne too:

frédéric magnien 2008 gevrey vv

Post-parties, something a little more modest to drink whilst typing:

2008 Frédéric Magnien, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
The nose is rather tight. Quite full in the mouth, it’s muscled and shows good energy – good flavour too. Clearly a little rustic but tasty and quite fun to drink.
Rebuy – Maybe

on the subject of ‘normality’

The vines are settling into a more ‘normal’ rhythm too.

Following the warm March and April, it’s certainly been much cooler since then; consequently, the vines have slowed down their rate of growth – they are still a little ahead of the average, but not 3-4 weeks in advance of it like 1 month ago.

Burgundians (with holiday plans!) are now happier to be penciling-in mid-September as a more-likely harvest-time – versus late August only 1 month ago. Of-course it goes without saying that all are praying calm and dry conditions as soon as the flowers open…

A little tour, in and around Beaune today:

returning to ‘normality’


Sunday was a special day for many Burgundians with a (rather large) party to celebrate 35 years together for Becky and Russell Hone and their Le Serbet business. Maybe there have never been so many Burgundians and honorary Burgundians enjoying a day together like this. It was a little like a Paulée, but with more camaraderie, joviality and less competition. It was just friends.

I cannot lie, however, Ibuprofen was required on Monday morning after the ‘continuation’ of the celebration at the Bar du Square on Sunday evening!

Monday kicked-off well too, with visits to Grivot, Mugnier, Dr.Mugneret-Gibourg and Denis Bachelet. Today I’m trying to return to the keyboard as there have been so many distractions the last two weeks! Hopefully more of the same tomorrow, before attacking the Mâconnais on Thursday.


just a perfect day…

Except that the Bar du Square is still to follow!

my favourite article of the few last days

Slowly catching-up after a week away…


a few holdiay snaps

From ‘another place’ (shock…). Now back home for more typing…

azaleas, rain and dodgy packaging…


Just a little cooler in Chablis today. Eventually, about 17h30 some rain forced its way through the leaden sky – but it wasn’t particularly hard or long, as the actress noted. Of-course it waited for me to go jogging about 21h30 before it started to rain again! Still with hardly any rain for the last month – just 3mm last weekend – Chablis will be hoping for something a little less negligible.

Quite a long day; the last tasting finished at 19h20. The first tomorrow is at 09h00 – so it’s almost time for me to retire for the day.

As for the pics that follow, some unfortunately named Chablis packaging for younger, cool dudes – the Hipster! – and a couple of pics from the Portlandian of Lignorelles…

adieu benjamin leroux…


Hi Bill,
Just a quick note to inform you that I will leave the Domaine Comte Armand by the end of July this year. Paul Zinetti who worked with me for the last 4 years will take over my position. I will be still act as a consultant, if need be, but I truly want 2014 to be his first vintage.
I have made 15 vintages over here, and the recent purchase of 3,5 Ha in Meursault (including some Genevrières) has made my decision much easier.
A bientôt,

Benjamin Leroux

This was a staple of the rumour-mill for the last (almost) six months, but good-luck to Benjamin as he concentrates on his own domaine, based in Beaune.

back in france…


Having published the March-EXTRA! report in the early hours, I’m now back in Burgundy to complete my visits for April!

A brilliant visit to start the day, at Jean Fournier in Marsannay – wines certainly on a similar quality-level to Pataille’s, and the first Marsannay whites that I really like! (Shock…). Interesting that the locals are already pointing to plots of Marsannay vines and saying ‘but that’s only villages.’ ;-) Lunch was a rag-tag, but tasty, collection of things bought in the Boulangerie on the RN974 in Gevrey, then eating said items while wandering through the earthworks of Bertagna, checking-out at the bedrock of Amoureuses, and looking back towards the Clos de Vougeot.

Despite a little rain in the last days, the vineyards are dry, dry dry – really low rainfall this year – so far! A quick detour into Aloxe-Corton gives the impression that a battle has taken place there – the roads are simply awful just now – new drains but no new road surface – so far!

Bedtime in Chablis. Two full days of domaine visits await. It’s funny how I get to drink less wine while I’m in wineland – so far! ;-)

March Issue of Burgundy Report EXTRA!

03-2014-motifIs now online for subscribers.

  • The first of three parts beginning my exploration of Chablis; starting with the town itself and a view on the wines of 2012. Its Grand Cru vineyards, its producers – there are already 20 domaines lined up – and even Petit Chablis will come under scrutiny in part.2, in the April-EXTRA!
  • Then there are few domaines visited – more 2012s.
  • Finally, a round-up of the tastings I made during the Grands Jours de Bourgogne; over-whelmingly focused on the latest vintage, 2012.
  • Well-over 300 wines tasted on your behalf ;-)

Enjoy – HERE.

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