Diary Dates

la romanée-a-go-go….

By billn on February 10, 2021 #diary dates#the market

Baghera-blog-main-image-Article- la romanee memories

Whilst I’ve had plenty of open questions for wines in multiple sales by this Swiss auction house, Baghera continues to push the boundaries as to what a great sale can be.

Irreproachable sales of the last bottles from the Engel and Jayer estates are now complemented, if not augmented, by this.

An online catalogue will be available on February 18, 2021 for the sale on Sunday 18 April, 2021 – I think that I will try to attend…

“On April 18, as part of its “La Romanée Memories” sale, Baghera/wines will have the immense honour of presenting a set of nearly 2,000 bottles from the cellars of the Maison Bouchard Père & Fils to the public. This extremely rare collection of 1,926 bottles, magnums and jeroboam contains wine in an irreproachable state of preservation withdrawn from a long rest in the Château de Beaune cellars.”

Quote and image above from Baghera

the covid-compatible stormclouds over Burgundy…

By billn on September 24, 2020 #diary dates#events

The storm clouds gather. Beaune yesterday
The storm clouds gather: Beaune yesterday…

It’s already a couple of weeks since we lost the 2021 St.Vincent, planned for Puligny-Montrachet, Blagny and Corpeau.

In our new reality it seems to be mainly the larger, event-style, tastings that are currently being cancelled. One major maison has cancelled it’s usual sit-down/tutored new vintage tasting and another, even larger event will not now take place – the Roi Chambertin. For the former, I have already been able to arrange a private visit but the Roi will be a loss to my calendar – it will also be an opportunity too.

An opportunity? Well, yes.

I wouldn’t have joined the tasting this year if they’d stuck to the usual format – over 120 bottles (in duplicate) in a cellar with over 100 tasters – in covid-time, no thanks. The opportunity for me will be to visit more Gevrey domaines in person – something that in recent years I had relatively restricted to domaines who didn’t show their wines at the Roi.

Of-course there are a few sought-after domaines that are also suggesting that tastings of their 2019s may be possible in Q1 next year but not in 2020 – or even not at all. Let’s see how that pans out too – there are always more domaines available than are possible to visit in the time available but some ‘losses’ seem inevitable this year, though for the moment I see only a modestly diminishing availability for my usual tastings.

There are other big events that are affected too: The wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune will have a much smaller tasting schedule – the buyers have to be included, of-course, but there will certainly be fewer spaces for journalists and other interested parties – including in the sale itself where they are planning alternate seating – occupied and not occupied. Outside of the sale-room, Beaune’s half-marathon (the same weekend) is currently still planned to happen, but with 3,000 participants versus the usual limit of 5,000. Then 2 days later there is the Paulée de Meursault; normally a gathering of over 700 souls in a place more comfortable for about 400! This year they plan just 250 places. Masks are mandatory for those serving their wines to the occupants of other tables – but if I know the people celebrating this event, maybe that detail will be forgotten after – hmm – maybe 15 minutes(?)

Nobody said that it would be easy, and of course, there are places that are much worse off. Indeed some of these truncated events may also be cancelled at short notice. Luckily for the region, what they are potentially losing in not getting their message out has been partially compensated for in 2020, mainly by the Brits – who are drinking more than ever of their stuff. Apparently they bought early and extra to get them through brexit, but given covid, they drank all that, so now need to replenish early 🙂

Postponed: the 2021 Saint-Vincent

By billn on September 11, 2020 #diary dates

Puligny 2021 Saint Vincent

The Saint-Vincent Tournante in Puligny, Blagny and Corpeau, slated for January 2021 has been rescheduled to 2022. It’s of no surprise that this is covid-related. Jean-Michel Chartron who is President of the Organising Committee would like to say:

We want that the Saint Vincent Tournante of Puligny Montrachet, Blagny and Corpeau should be festive and convivial – marked by sharing. This is why, with all the members of the Bureau, we have taken the decision to postpone it until January 29-30, 2022. Guaranteeing the health and safety of all remains our priority.

The Presidents’ Barrel for this years 160th Hospices de Beaune Auction

By billn on September 09, 2020 #annual laurels#diary dates

159th Hospices auctionWe may not know a lot about the covid-compatible arrangements for November’s 160th auction of the Hospices de Beaune wines, but we do now know that the Hospices de Beaune and the Château de Chambord are coming together to deliver the Pièce de Charité or Presidents’ Barrel for the auction on Sunday November 15, 2020.

We also know who the end recipients are for money for this special barrel: The profits from the sale of the Presidents’ Barrel will benefit the hospital workers of France via the Fédération Hospitalière de France (FHF) and the Management Committee of Social Works of Public Hospitals (CGOS) who will oversee the distribution of the donations to hospital staff and their families who have been affected by the covid epidemic.

The wine itself will come from the Côte de Nuits – Clos de la Roche from vines planted between 1968 and 1972 – and the barrel will be made from oak from the Chambord forest of the Domaine de Chambord.

the saint-vincent 2021

By billn on September 03, 2020 #diary dates

2021 Saint-Vincent

The 77th edition of the Saint-Vincent Tournante will be hosted by Corpeau, Puligny-Montrachet & Blagny, January 30th and 31st, 2021. I’d love to go, but it’s always complicated by January being my 3-week-long project of Chablis tastings. Oh, and let’s not forget the concerns about viruses! Still, I hope to make it!

Their website is now open: www.saint-vincent-tournante-2021.com/

monday was opening night – chez faiveley…

By billn on June 19, 2018 #diary dates

Above (behind) the winery that, today, is the home of Faiveley in Nuits St.Georges.

I’ve shared a few images with you over the last year or-so, but on Monday evening the team at Faiveley made a reception to celebrate the completion of this mammoth renovation project. Monday it was a mere 200 clients (or-so) plus a few itinerant journos. On Wednesday night they will do it again with over 300 visitors, having invited all the local vignerons.

rootstock pommard

By billn on July 10, 2017 #diary dates

Rootstock‘ happened at the Château de Pommard this weekend.

Rootstock – Woodstock? Well, why not…

Of the two days possible to visit, we chose the Saturday to attend – it was hot despite plenty of cloud-cover – storms were forecast, but the weather-gods deemed that the storm should arrive only around 23h30 – I think the organisors would have accepted that. Sunday morning it was still showery-wet – we were under-way to Switzerland about midday – hopefully the weather improved for Rootstock’s Sunday-session – ‘acts’ having a start-time of 14h30.

Bus-shuttles were being run from a couple of places in Beaune – but I was too stupid to find the timetable, so I drove. For a first attempt, I would say that there were enough people there on the Saturday to bring some atmosphere for both the performers and attendees. Two favourites for me were a neo-Franzosich Ed Sheeran on the ‘acoustic stage’ and the pint-sized but brilliant Nina Attal on the main stage.

There were Champagne bars, cocktail bars, bar-bars, small bijou-food bars, ice-cream bars – the place just lacked a decent plate-full-of-food – bar so we left after about 4 hours – a little after 8pm – but hungry.

Good organisation and hopefully sufficiently well-recieved that they might do it again next year!

St.Vincent =2018= St.Véran

By billn on June 28, 2017 #diary dates

Yesterday evening, the venue was the the Château de Chasselas – it was a little party to celebrate St.Véran as the location of the 74th St.Vincent Tournante – 27-28 January 2018.

Of-course, St.Véran is actually an appellation, not a village, hence, the party was in Chasselas and location of the St.Vincent will be the in the neighbouring village of Prissé. It’s only the second time for a St.Vincent in the Mâconnais – and the (venue) planning is booked up until about 2030 – so a St.Vincent in Beaujolais will certainly have to wait…


The clouds were gathering as I approached Prissé – French radio warning of storms across many of France’s départements. I shoe-horned my Scooby (car) into a place by some vines and walked to the château – drops of rain heralding the storm to come – fortunately the weather kindly waited until 5 minutes after the 19h30 start-time before the wind, rain, thunder and lightning hit – it was only a problem for the late-comers! The weather proceeded to put on a modest show, but we were spared the full tempest!

Because my January usually consists of three weeks in Chablis, followed by a few days in the mountains, I so rarely get to the St.Vincents – though the location in Irancy (2016) worked very well! But on this evening I got to show solidarity with the launch ‘party’ in warmer if equally stormy (I’m looking at you Irancy!) fashion.

Leading up to the ‘talking section’ was a first-class guitarist-singer, who I assumed to be Michael Jones – apparently a well-know Franco-English performer who is the patron of this event. This was partly wasted on the crowd in his first session – great riffs even a few from AC-DC punctuating the ‘songs’ in the style of Muse…

Then, during a small interlude, it was fun seeing a (conservatively) 60 year-old vigneron, dressed in black with his (conservatively) 25 year-old companion in a very tight outfit. It really wasn’t necessary to watch her progress around the room, it was much more interesting to observe the looks that this ‘pair’ got from the (female) audience! The man in black later picked up a guitar and so did his companion – this was Michael Jones, not the first guy! All was now okay with the previously skeptical part of the night’s audience – there are different rules for musicians 🙂 The first guitarist was ‘Tof’ part of Michael’s band, and they belted out a great set of songs that had the (at least) 100-strong audience in raptures and singing along – bravo! And even better – Scooby was still parked where I left him when I decided it was time to head for Beaune!

So, get down to Prissé on the 27 and 28 January 2018! – If you can 🙂

Oh, and if you can’t wait to add one to your collection, you will be able to buy the St.Véran 2018 tasting glasses in the shop of the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot…

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