Why Big Red Diary?


What about the weather: Around the 20th of February I saw lizards basking in the sun as I jogged by the Rhine, frogs and butterflies, likewise, were to be seen long before their usual ‘arrival time’. I was in Burgundy during the last week of February and was amazed to see trees in full blossom. It was said that the vegetative cycle was about 3 weeks ahead of normal – doesn’t sound too much – but then the year was only 8 weeks old! Of course, today (March23rd) I have 10cm of snow at home! It’s this type of weather that’s likely to cause a lot of stress and (maybe) premature baldness in the French wine-growing regions; it will only take one night at -7°C (or so) in late April or early May and 70%+ of the year’s potential harvest will be lost. It’s even worse for the Chablis growers as it’s almost the end of May before they can stop worrying about the chance of frost. This climate change – if that’s what we’re experiencing – has brought consistently saleable wine at a hit-rate undreamed of only one generation ago, but with it comes a knife-edge start to the vintage – it’s all or nothing, maybe…

My mailbag (okay ‘Inbox’ – some delusions of grandieur there!), without prompting from myself has recieved about half a dozen mails in the last 2 months on this single subject – the effect of global warming. As the scientific community now seems to accept some kind of effect (funny how that aligns with the waxing and waning of a Presidential lifespan) what is the effect for wineproducers? At this stage you have to conclude it’s been no negative for Burgundy; largely it is the difference between chaptalising – which everyone did – or not needing to, as has been the case for the majority over the last 10 years or so. True, from time to time there is a miss-match – ripe fruit, borderline ripe tannin as the ripening time was insufficient – like 1997 or 2003 – it’s up to the individual to decide if that’s worth more than simply under-ripe! Clearly a continuation of this trend for the next 40 years might mean Chablis making Volnay and Meursault clones, Champagne making Chablis clones and (horreur!) the UK being the ‘Champagne’ capital of the world.

Talking of vintages: The 2004 whites that were so good last summer are tightening – but just in time the fleshy, rich 2005’s will be arriving for the ‘early adopters’. The 2005 reds are also going down a storm, my only criticism here (outside some silly prices in certain markets) is that some growers have fashioned rather ripe ‘confiture’ wines – so sweet is the effect that I’m often left looking for some cream to add to these deserts. It’s a minor gripe though as such ripe concentration coupled to such acidity is a rarity indead. The only disappointment I have today is the number of rather herbal 2004’s – a post-bottling phenomenon of uncertain resolution.

Even newer vintages: Yesterday I recieved my first pre-offer (or en-primeur) for the 2006 vintage. The prices are largely stable versus 2003, 2004 and 2005. Note that if 2005 was a ‘gift from god’ for the reds, watch out for the same leitmotif for the 2006 whites!

Closures: It’s a small start, but the quaility cuvées of JC Boisset are now partly available with a screw-cap. Here and now should start some meaningful progression to cork-taint free wines – even if it simply pushes the cork suppliers to improve their game. This is an approach to watch very carefully.

Interactive Pages: Thanks for your mails on the subject of the recent design modification – all positive so far – hence their retention!

6 responses to “Editorial”

  1. Lars Rosenberg

    Regarding your puzzle among the alas only 9 pictures: Might it be towards Beaune’s northern negociant-based outskirts with the rolling hills of Chalonnaise in the background?

    BTW: Corton les Fietres – are you kidding? ;D – A very small parcel closest to the village at the curly D115d almost vis-á-vis Latours “la Vigne au Saint” and next to the more known les Perrieres.

    Thank you so much for a most competent work – I’m counting down in eager expectation each and every time…

    All the best – Lars Rosenberg, Denmark

  2. Lars Rosenberg

    Well, don’t exactly stumble over these products from 1,1 ha every day ;D, but tasted one sound if not super bottle 1992 from Voarick many years ago actually and have SEEN one from Michel Picard!!!
    Have you BTW asked your fellow countryman Robert Morris from Aspen, Colorado?
    Kindest regards,

  3. Lars Rosenberg

    What a blunder towards a Yorkshire-man :-c!!! Calls for hara-kiri in an overchaptalized “Bourgogne Petit Ordinaire”… Almost as grave as the fact that I was once offered a white Mazis-Chambertin by Drouhin!!! Have a nice skiing…

  4. Dan

    Thanks for sharing and contributing. An excellent read. Love your pictures and photos!

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