Entries from 2020

actively auctioneering…

By billn on June 04, 2020 #the market

des Ch茅zeauxIf there’s one part of the wine industry that seems very active during lockdown – at-least, judging by my inbox – then it’s wine auctions.

Sotheby’s are hammering it with practically simultaneous auctions in London, New York and Hong Kong; it’s the former with all those rather rare Domaine des Ch茅zeaux bottles and magnums that I’ll be following the most – The Cointreau Collection – not least because I have quite a bit of those wines myself!

But their other auctions remain far from academic despite wall-to-wall DRC and Roumier in New York, and with so many magnums too, though I particularly loved the juxtaposition of lots 325 and 326 – bottles of Faiveley’s Musigny, next to Drouhin’s C么te de Nuits Villages 馃檪

As for Sotheby’s Hong Kong ‘Summit‘ sale, many of the DRC, Rousseau and Dujac bottles are so large, and relatively young, that I seriously doubt that they were ever bought for drinking – and that’s sad.

Of course, it’s not just Sotheby’s and their clients; witness Australian author and critic James Halliday selling off (some/all?) of his collection of DRC. At 80-years-old and a couple of years senior to Aubert de Villaine of the that Vosne-Roman茅e domaine, this seems nothing more than sense. I just hope that a) I’m still around and b) can still, unaided, operate a corkscrew at the same age!

Enjoy your auction lots!

The 2020 vintage: now in the lead by a length…

By billn on June 04, 2020 #vintage 2020

2020 vintage update
Chambre d’Agriculture de C么te-d鈥橭r

As you can see from the graphic above, compared to recent years, 2020 now leads the pack in ‘precocity’ – I may have made that word up(!) – and this ‘horse’ has begun to pull away from 2007, 2011 and the rest of the field.

The average temperature in May 2020 was only marginally higher than the average for that month, and rainfall a little lower, but there was about 70 more hours of sunshine than the average – and the vines clearly like their sunlight!

Only the Hautes C么tes has not completed its flowering, though most of the test areas used by the BIVB are between 50% and 100% complete. For the moment there is practically no o茂dium worry and no mildew worry.

Despite no rain in the Burgundy vineyards in the last week, we are now entering a cool and wet period for the vines; hardly 20掳C and it could last for a week – so this race is far from over. The weather has some storm warnings too. In farming, it’s never over until it’s over!

May 2020 Burgundy Report

By billn on June 03, 2020 #reports

May 2020 Burgundy Report… is online for subscribers.

This ‘lockdown’ report concentrates on the value propositions for 2018 Burgundy:

  • Where the real value lies in ‘2018 Bourgogne’
  • Very fine and well price 2018 Chablis 1er Vaillons
  • Super and ageworth Pouilly-Fuiss茅
  • 28 wines with unreserved recommendadtions from many more tasted


jean-marc & hughes pavelot鈥檚 2000 savigny dominode

By billn on May 27, 2020 #degustation

A wine that reached a brilliant peak – for the vintage – at around 7-10-years-old. Since then, slowly downhill – but I really wasn’t expecting this…

2000 Jean-Marc & Hughes Pavelot, Savigny-l猫s-Beaune 1er Dominode
A full colour, now starting to show a little age. The nose is big and punchy – but really not very nice – full of old pyrazine. I would have bet a lot (and lost!) that this was a ‘classically mature 2004.’ The palate is also shot-through with this flavour. I have no idea where it has come from as I have never previously noted any hint of such a smell and taste in this wine. A wine with zero pleasure for me – such a shame. I let it stand overnight, stoppered, in the fridge. On day 2 there is no relenting of the aroma and flavour, and with no beef bourguignon on the horizon, this was unceremoniously dumped…
Rebuy – No

But this was a very worthy replacement – it will be in my April report, online in the next few days…

chateau de laborde herve kerlan

an eery hop to Beaune…

By billn on May 26, 2020 #vintage 2020


I truly hope that in 4 or 5 years time, the 2020 vintage will be remembered for its wines, rather than Covid-19.

Sunday-Monday I made a short excursion to Beaune – 16.5 hours in total.

It wasn’t entirely clear whether the Swiss would let me leave Switzerland, but they quizzed my reasons and then waved me on; having been away from my apartment for 12 weeks, I really wanted to check that all was well – and fortunately, it was. So I came back home to Bern as no-one is open for visits. The border officially opens 16 June – let’s see if any domaines will be open to visits then!

It was sobering to take a short walk around Beaune – Monday lunchtime but with practically nowhere to lunch – apart from a couple of sandwicheries all was closed. Not a single cafe in Place Carnot was open – but then there were also no people to be seen. Actually, far fewer people and less places open than in mid-January.

Before returning, I took a jog around some Meursault vineyards – an easy 7km photo tour – I knew you wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t get the obligatory ‘vines in flower’ image! According to the Chambre d’Agriculture, the C么te de Beaune & and C么te de Nuits chardonnay has finished its flowering, and the pinot noir is at the mid-flowering stage. The Hautes C么tes have only their first flowers. Despite some cool weather, the strong sun has pushed the growth forward – roughly equal to, or up to two days behind, the same stage of growth as in 2007 and 2011 – so still one of the earliest vintages on record – more than a week ahead of 2015, 2017 & 2018 and an almost unbelievable 24 days ahead of 2019 – though the heat of June and July accelerated 2019 in the mid-season.

There was plenty of wind, despite the sunshine, above the level of wind allowed for treating (with sprays) so some domaines were already giving their vines a haircut. Certainly, I saw more people in the vines than in Beaune!

the recent corkscrew action…

By billn on May 25, 2020 #degustation

Well, it was Chardonnay Day – that was my excuse. A great series of wines…

2018 S茅guinot-Bordet, Chablis 1er Fourchaume
A big, chunky Trescases cork.
There’s freshness but also a ripeness of fruit – at this stage I wouldn’t guess ‘Chablis’ from the nose. The palate is another matter; correct, nicely driving and with a lovely citrus energy. Mineral, faintly sweetly finishing. This is a delicious glass from a bottle that empties rather more quickly than bargained for!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Yvon et Laurent Vorcoret, Chablis 1er Homme Mort
This neighbour, also with a Trescases cork.
Also fresh, more weight and minerality to the aroma too – here is Chablis. A wine of more weight and impact – it’s the vintage – pure, saline and completely delicious. The more classic of these two wines today. And drinking beautifully already!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Jacques Prieur, Montrachet
As I said – Chardonnay day! Here with a robust DIAM Origine.
A nose of depth and complexity – wow! Direct, immensely flavoured compared to the Chablis. Still, the wine opens further, almost tannic in texture, then wider too – wow – again! The oak is visible but not distracting. With this seal a wine for the ages – so hauntingly long. No ifs or buts, Grand Vin.
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Fran莽ois Gay, Ladoix
This, most likely, my last one of these – not tasted for a few years – but all that went before were fabulous. The cork is wine-soaked through 80% of its length but has the integrity to easily extract in one piece.
Still deeply coloured. The nose starts with a little funk – it needs 5 minutes in the glass to clear – and then we have it – beautifully pure, precise, red berry fruit of no particular age – just invitation! The palate reflects the nose – a purity of red fruity and here it is borne on beautiful acidity. There’s a little frisson of energy here that just multiplies the deliciousness of this wine. Not old, not young but 脿 point. Fabulous…
Rebuy – Yes

2000 Thomas-Moillard, Roman茅e St.Vivant
I think for a moment that the cork has cracked, but no, it extracts in one piece.
Plenty of colour – those boys knew how to extract! Hmm – now that’s an impressive nose – the first time I’ve noted any semblance of maturity from this wine – there is still hope for my 1999s – but still not for 10 years! The first impression in the mouth is the weight of concentration, depth and width of flavour – this is properly grand cru – complex too. It is also a wine that tightens after 20 minutes-or-so. It remains eminently drinkable and without the coarser, harder, edges of the 1999 (for example) but it remains an adolescent wine of very good parts though lacking coherence for now. In those days cheaper than many villages wines today – in that context, a worthy buy and with more potential down the road.
Rebuy – Probably Yes

Flowering? The 2020 vintage growth update…

By billn on May 21, 2020 #vintage 2020

May weather in Vosne-Roman茅e

Anyone tuning into social media right now will fall under a deluge of images of vines in flower.

The outliners – almost always the young vines – have already flowered. As a true(r!) measure, the BIVB has the concept of mid-flowering where a date is assigned to this point in time and, hence, a reference or comparison to other vintages is available. The mid-point of flowering in 2020 has not yet been achieved – or at least communicated – but we are close!

To compare:

Dates ex-BIVB and assembled by the Chambre d’Agriculture de C么te-d鈥橭r

As you may note, these dates come from reference parcels of C么te de Nuits Pinot, C么te de Beaune Pinot and C么te de Beaune Chardonnay. In recent years (this is not an old measure) 2011 leads the pack with 2007 in second place.

2020 is regaining its vigour after 10 cooler and wetter days, but looks like it may be just behind, or even closely match, 2007. Otherwise, disease pressure remains low and the work – even with social-distancing – remains easy due to the benevolence of the weather. Even the Saturday market in Beaune has now re-opened, but in the vines, the rain of the last couple of weeks may be a more crucial factor if the summer of 2020 compares to the dryness of those in 2015-2019…

tonights’ work…

By billn on May 19, 2020 #degustation

Burgundy Report

Translate 禄

You are using an outdated browser. Please update your browser to view this website correctly: https://browsehappy.com/;