Why Big Red Diary?

the contenders start their harvests…

Almost, but not quite, the last of the bottles drunk with Team NZ in Switzerland.

Jasper has a few of the starters:

Amongst others, also starting Wednesday (today!) is Jean-Marc Roulot and Vougeraie in their white grand crus.
Thursday there’s Domaine des Croix and Dubreuil-Fontaine
Friday it’s JF Fichet, Benjamin Leroux (whites) + + +
Domaine Dublère and Camille Giroud start at the weekend and Bonneau du Martray next week, as do the first of the Côte de Nuits – but some of those Côte de Nuits domaines have no plans to start before the 20th.

There’s been a little rain yesterday and overnight, but the sun is out this afternoon – let’s hope there’s nothing to cajoule the botrytis into action!

getting ready for the harvest blastoff….

A few more from the weekend…

The outriders this week will be the Mâconnais – they will will probably be first in the vines. Later this week, probably from Wednesday onwards, the first of the Côte de Beaune whites will be harvested, though a significant proportion of that will also wait for the weekend or even Monday. Reds will really start from Monday onwards, for 10 days, or even more. Chablis will also largely harvest between 15-20th September – so it looks like I’ll be too busing in Beaune to pay them a visit…

The weather changed last week in the Côtes; July and August were cool and often wet, but almost always with a steady (cold feeling!) breeze – this wind has been reason we’ve seen no rot, only an occasional bout of oïdium in the whites. Last week the breeze stopped and the sun shone – Friday was a perfect 28°C day and so was the weekend that followed. The threat of botrytis still lies within every bunch – but only of we suddenly get rain together with high temperatures. We are currently set fair for the next week, though with temperatures more modestly around 22°C. It looks like we should do well – though triage will be taxing for the hail-hit vines…

I’ll be making daily harvest reports from Monday 15th, here – naturally ;-)

Last Friday in the Côtes:


A common business finance route – though rather rarer for wine producers…

offer of the day – domaine raveneau 2012…


CHABLIS 75cl 49.50 Swiss Francs

CHABLIS 1er Cru Montée-de-Tonnerre 75cl 98.00
CHABLIS 1er Cru Butteaux 75cl 98.00

CHABLIS Grand Cru Valmur 75cl 198.00
CHABLIS Grand Cru Le Clos 75cl Price on application!

Hmm. Chablis the poorer cousin of the Côte d’Or? Not here.

more bottles, more hills…


One advantage of having a house full of Kiwis – pre vintage – is that there are plenty of bottles to be opened and sights to see.

summer holidays are over…


I had a few nice wines whilst in the mountains last week, but it seems that the holidays are now over. I’ve a snowball of articles to publish over the next six weeks – oh, and there’s a harvest coming too! It seems that a number of domaines will be be starting with their whites around the 10th September, but reds won’t really start, in earnest, until the 15th. The weather is warming after a cool, often wet, August – hopefully this weather will stay around for the harvest…

fizzy chablis and fine volnay for the weekend…


I really can’t recommend Collet’s first vintage of Cremant de Bourgogne enough. Romain Collet made this from ‘Petit Chablis’ grapes, noting “We don’t have a lot of Petit Chablis, and we like bubbles!”. The clincher is that you can buy it from the domaine, including tax for just €8.40! It’s very yum!

Then onto this. I don’t know much about this domaine, but the few examples I’ve tasted from them have been very good:

2006 Poulleau Père et Fils, Volnay 1er Cru
Good depth of colour. The nose starts a little brusque, but aeration brings a smoother impression, and in short-order there’s a really gorgeous red-fruited aroma that’s completely captivating. In the mouth it changes very little; it’s concentrated, smooth, well-balanced but just a little tight. The flavour is fine and you have the impression of density, but it’s not yet at the stage where the experience is ‘involving.’ Still, this is pretty impressive wine…
Rebuy – Yes

bart’s 2006 marsannay les champs salomon


2006 Domaine Bart, Marsannay Les Champs Salomon
The nose was a little unappetising to start – oldish toasty oak – it took over an hour, but the aromatics slowly cleared and became more attractive: Very pretty red fruit, dark-shaded with a nice acid bite – I like! Wide, with good acidity this wine attaches lots of flavour to your gums. Still some tannin and it’s also a little unruly – but it’s also lots of fun. I’m very much enjoying this now – it was just the first hour that wasn’t so yum…
Rebuy – Yes

two brilliant, bargain, weekend wines…


2012 Antoine Olivier, Santenay Bievaux ‘L’Air de Rien’
2012 Marchand-Tawse, Côte de Nuits Villages

The first is almost identikit (good) Meursault, the second a wine with a super perfume and no lack of ripe, mid-palate width. A brilliant combination…
Both, Rebuy – Yes


faiveley et billaud-simon…

Here is the press-release for the new acquisition of Faiveley which hit Twitter yesterday evening.

I’m not going to complain about the concentration of domaines in fewer hands, because, let’s be honest, this has been happening for a long time. It is currently the way the industry operates. Faiveley make super wines and we can be 100% sure that these Chablis vines are in great hands.

More interesting are the machinations that go on behind the scenes.

This Chablis domaine has finally been sold after years of ‘difficulties’ between the families that owned the domaine. Let’s also be clear, Faiveley was clearly not the only suitor – indeed, another well-known Beaune name, thought they’d bought Billaud-Simon over two months ago – even before I tasted the wines for my Chablis Report. Unfortunately this particular Beaune-based producer shook hands with the part of the family that owned only 1/3 of the domaine. The part of the family that owned 2/3rds, meanwhile, were talking to Faiveley…

Such is the way the cookie crumbles – or put another way, that’s business! I hope all parties make good from this deal, even the disappointed ones!

a great crop in fixin – of cut flowers…

A great crop – of cut flowers – in Fixin…

Except for the cars, a little Côte de Nuits action from this morning:

jadot 1993 beaune 1er boucherottes

DSC04785Ah, that marathon. I’m (semi) ashamed to say I didn’t take part. I waited at the start line, in the pouring rain with even worse weather forecast to come. The hilltops were lost in the cloud and I was supposed to run up to 2,739 metres. It didn’t seem worth it, wet, can’t see and slippy rocks. Next year perhaps – or maybe the easy and flat, by comparison, Beaune half-marathon in November…

Anyway, a little something to warm me up:

1993 Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Boucherottes
The colour is showing a little browning. The first note seems a bit corky, but it fades into something more leafy that’s backed by acid cherry/redcurrants – it just keeps getting better and better in the glass. In the mouth, it’s fresh but perfectly balanced with a delicacy that has me purring – the dog might give me a funny look! Clean, fresh and with good length – there’s no single thing outstanding – okay, maybe the nose – but it’s the overall package that is so intensely captivating. Really super!
Rebuy – Yes

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