Entries from 2020

offer of the day – bruno clavelier’s 2018s

By billn on December 11, 2020 #the market

Hot off the presses…

Bruno Clavelier 2018:
With the last year’s prices for the 2017s & 2016s (from the same merchant) in brackets:

Bourgogne Passetoutgrains 2018 75cl 22.50* (22.50, —) (Swiss francs)

Vosne-Romanée La Combe Brûlée 2018 75cl 90.00 (80.00, 84.00)
Vosne-Romanée Les Hautes Maizières 2018 75cl 90.00 (80.00, 84.00)

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corbeaux 1er Cru 2018 75cl 135.00 (120.00, 123.00)
Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1er Cru 2018 75cl 150.00 (130.00, 137.00)
Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées 1er Cru 2018 75cl 150.00 (130.00, 137.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Combe d’Orveaux 1er Cru 2018 75cl 160.00 (140.00, 147.00)

Corton Le Rognet V.V. Grand Cru 2018 75cl 155.00 (135.00, 144.00)

These prices are not delivered but do include the Swiss 7.8% purchase tax.

After a year where the prices dropped, it seems that normal service has resumed!

Extreme Gevrey-Chambertin…

By billn on December 10, 2020 #travels in burgundy 2020


Lunchtime walking – taking advantage of the fading mist and nice sunshine. It will take you half an hour – maybe a little longer if you keep taking photos, like me!

From the foot of the Clos St.Jacques, you can follow a prepared walk (La Bossière) complete with its green way-markers and occasional info-plaques. There are two loops but I just took in the one that covers the Côte St.Jacques, cutting through Lavaux, through a central wooded part – en friche – then under Estournelles, Poissenot, Romanée – now above Varoilles and then curling your way back to the Clos St.Jacques.

This is ‘extreme Gevrey’ where the valley narrows to head up the Combe de Lavaux – here you will find less and less sunlight – parts of the vines in full-shade at midday in December. Let me tell you, leave the sunshine and it’s suddenly damn cold! It’s an area, in particular around Varoilles, that I find so atmospheric – especially with the cliffs of the Combe de Lavaux as a backdrop!

this week, so far…

By billn on December 09, 2020 #travels in burgundy 2020

None of the forecast snow, and hardly minus temperatures either – unlike last week – but a flash of sunshine has been a rare thing…

new reports for the next 4 weeks plus 3 weekend wines:

By billn on December 06, 2020 #degustation

weekend wines 6 dec 2020

It’s cold now and the roads are turning a little white – actually they will be very white when I reach my 1,000 metre peak in the Swiss Jura when heading to Beaune tonight!

This will be the starting point of my final week of tastings in ‘the Côtes‘ for this year. I will have managed to taste with roughly 145 domains – which is much more than anticipated when President Macron announced the imposition of a second French lockdown. I’ve had to be quite flexible with a few domaines cancelling at late notice due to ‘positives‘ within their teams, but I’ve still managed to revisit some of those towards the end of my tour. So it’s worth outlining how I’m hoping the subscriber reports will appear:

September Report:
Online later this week – 28 domaines from the Mâconnais, mainly 2019s. A look at 2018 Corton – 30 wines tasted blind. Lastly a look back at the 2020 growing season.
October Report:
Hopefully online before may Christmas lunch – the white vintage in 2019 & the mainly white domaines of the Côte d’Or and Chalonnais, vintage 2019 – about 43 domaines is my current count
November Report:
Between Christmas and the New Year – the red vintage in 2019 and the mainly red domaines of the Côte de Beaune and a little further south – 39 domaines, vintage 2019
December Report:
Hopefully before Monday 4th January – the Côte de Nuits domaines, about 32 of them at current count, vintage 2019. I say hopefully before 4th January, because I’m (still!) planning to start my January 2019 Chablis campaign of 55-60 domaines on that day with same in Beaujolais to follow in February!

Wish me luck 🙂 Note, the grey and wet of last week meant not so many ‘underwy’ photos, the forecast isn’t great for this coming week either – perhaps Monday will see a little blue sky – let’s see.

And to finish, here’s what kept the throat lubricated this weekend:

2016 Château Thivin, Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Godefroy
Plenty of colour – as you might expect. A deep nose, obviously fruited but with fine energy too – with air the fruit becoming more focused on cherry stones. Sumptuous in the mouth, with layers of dark-fruited flavour and the merest undertow of ripe tannin. The finish is rather smart, a more graphite-style minerality slowly coming to the centre-stage. Very fine, young Beaujolais – not a hint of maturity. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

1997 Jean-Marc Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er La Dominode
Having found a stash of the 99 of this wine, I though that I’d take my time and work up to it with a 1997 chaser! What an impressive nose! Absolutely ready – wide, full, beautifully clean and sweet with a wealth of underbrush and dried-leaf maturity – yes! Plenty of sweetness here on the palate too, even for someone currently tasting 2019s! Mouth-filling, though never too much. Actually, there’s still plenty of tannin at the base of this wine, but all is ripe and it’s not particularly grainy – call it an interesting bookmark. Wide in the finish and I really like the energy here, the flavour is supple and long. A wine that’s in a great place now – possibly the best since release and certainly there’s no rush to drink it up. Very yum indeed – proper older Burgundy with no faults!
Rebuy – Yes

2009 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Les Murgers des Dents du Chien
We are want to give extra praise to white wines just for having properly survived for 10 years, and that was the case for me here – at least to start with! The was nose full, round, with almost a little oaky reduction mixed with a sweetness of intermediately-aged flavours – ‘yes!’ I thought. Time in the glass and I started to focus a bit more on the forward sweetness, though the texture is good and the acidity does a good job of balancing the round, slightly fat flavour. There’s a certain minerality as you head towards the finish too – all good for the future. It has all that you could wish for in this vintage – except that it needs at least a couple more years of patience – it’s a far cry, for the moment, from the brilliance of the 2006 – but both 2006 and 2009 being sweeter, rounder, white-wine vintages, I retain plenty of hope!
Rebuy – Maybe

world heritage, with no world?

By billn on December 02, 2020 #warning - opinion!

Climats Association - UNESCO

I note, today, a press release from the association of climats – the body that was responsible for the work achieving UNESCO World Heritage Site status for much of the Côte d’Or. I understand their perspective but it still saddens me:

*The Association des Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne has alerted the State ‘services’ to the damage caused by the plans to install 18 wind turbines, 180 meters high, on and around the site listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and of its landscape preservation zone called the buffer zone. These projects threaten the authenticity of the landscapes of the World Heritage site, by making these wind turbines visible from the registered site. Certain villages of the Côte d’Or and emblematic panoramas such as the hill of Corton, the hill of the 3 crosses in Santenay or the cirque du bout du monde de Saint-Romain would be threatened. An impact that the World Heritage Committee could also take a dim view of…

*My translation…

It seems to me that this is blinkered in response and lacking nuance – or perhaps also understanding. Would they prefer that countries concentrate on fossil fuels in preference to renewables? Or is this simply ‘there are better places for this‘ ie not in my backyard? If the former, in the future we may no-longer have world heritage sites…

Of course, that’s entirely my own opinion and many will disagree with me…


By billn on November 30, 2020 #degustation

this weekend(ers)

Three great wines – we were lucky this weekend!

2016 Jules Desjourneys, Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes de la Côte
An extra-long, extra expensive looking cork.
A fresh and precise aroma that’s both inviting and intense too – an accent of fine herb frames this nose. So broad and mouth-filling. This is incredibly intense, direct wine – it attacks the palate yet is never sharp or hard. Finishing broad, like the nose, and lasting so long… A great wine that should last a good many years! Bravo.
Rebuy – Yes

2018 Roty, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Fontenys
Here’s an open and very deep nose. Wide and so fresh – such cool fruit, such minerality too – Ooh – the blacker fruit is completely secondary to the structure and style of this and I couldn’t care less, for this is great wine; academic, intellectual wine, such complex wine too. Persistent wine – the oak relegated to merely a spice component it seems. Great wine – again!
Rebuy – Yes

2009 Camille Giroud, Bourgogne Cuvée L
In 08 and 09 the winemaker of the time, David Croix, assembled the lees from all his cuvées at bottling time. This murky assembly was given an extra number of months to settle and produce a few cases more – a blöend from Bourgogne to Grand cru – so Chambertin and Cortons included. This 2009 was initially a bit surly and a long way behind the young brilliance of the same wine in 2008 – but today?
Ooh – that’s not a massive nose, but again a really great one of understated dried leaves, a sweetness of fruit then swooping in from above a beautiful violet-flower perfume – wow! In the mouth you taste the violets and the fat sweet fruit of the vintage. Right now this is brilliant – transformed from its sullen early days. Could the acid be finer – maybe – but I’m splitting hairs. I’m so happy that 4 more of these wait in the cellar!
Rebuy – Yes

Hoist with my own petard…

By billn on November 26, 2020 #travels in burgundy 2020

Clos des Lambrays
Exactly what it says!

Maybe you remember my recent image of a car that had been left too long under a Place Carnot tree full of roosting birds(?) Didn’t we laugh!

Well, given that said trees no-longer have any leaves, and are also full of Christmas lights, and that I’d successfully parked there a couple of times last week – you guessed it! This morning, Scooby was covered in shit! Oh well. To save considerable Subaru embarrassment, no pictures and a visit to the jet-wash!

Today another day of sun for visits in the Côte de Nuits. Given a covid-related cancellation for the first tasting after lunch, my extra long lunch-break (sandwiches in the car, as is the current necessity) allowed a decent lunchtime run. Starting in Chambolle, heading up a vertical track to a view above the vines, then onwards, on high, to Morey and then Gevrey before doing an about-turn and taking a vineyard route back – just over 10km – so I deserved my ham & cheese butties!

Mostly, these images were taken during the run:

the week so far, mainly in the côte de nuits…

By billn on November 25, 2020 #travels in burgundy 2020

Leroy's Romanée Saint Vivant...
Madame Leroy’s Romanée Saint Vivant…

The Scooby is limping this week – and that’s despite a service only two weeks ago. I spotted a small noise that’s now a big one – I think the servo on the power-steering – as turning a corner resembles a many-sided coin, rather than something round! Then there’s the suspension rattle that’s developed yesterday on the cobblestones of Beaune – at least it’s fine on the normal roads, for now…

Such is life with a 15+-year-old set of wheels – but it will be great again when those are fixed – hopefully for some days anyway 🙂

The light was super on Monday but yesterday delivered freezing fog for the whole day – so I chose not to freeze while getting changed to run at lunchtime. I think yesterday was fine for the whole day in the Hautes Côtes though. Today was sunny so I braved the jogging kit – but it’s been leggings since last week!

Then, of course, the lunchtime sandwiches in the car – like every day!

Some Côte de Nuits views from today:

Burgundy Report

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