this week in the côte – visits and (over?) large events

By billn on February 03, 2022 #events#reports

After three January weeks in Chablis, I made a short interlude in Beaune this week – so I’ll add these domaine reports to my (January) Chablis report which should be out in 2 weeks: That’s 64 Chablis domaines’ 2020s, plus the six domaines from the Côte d’Or that are pictured above.

In other news, various events have been postponed or ‘repositioned’ in Burgundy: For the second year in a row – due to covid reasons – the Chablis Saint Vincent (in Fleys) has been pushed back a year, and is now planned to take place 4 & 5 February 2023. Unlike their counterparts in Chablis, Puligny/Corpeau/Blagny are still planning to run their event this year at the repositioned timing of March 19th and 20th – this coincides with the auction of the Hospices de Nuits – which has many in that place grumbling that they will see fewer visitors due to this ‘competition’ for tourists. Additionally, the Grands Jours de Bourgogne are holding firm with their plan to run this year during 21-25 March.

As, amongst others, the UK and Switzerland put forward their plans for the loosening of covid-restriction I think there will be much more optimism in Beaune, Nuits and Puligny that their events will actually take place – despite high infection rates and little indication that France will be changing their covid-related rules – at least in the very short term. I can honestly say that such large gatherings remain off the table for me at this stage, though I’m happy to continue visiting vigneron(ne)s one-on-one across their tasting tables. Indeed next week I start my three week tour of Beaujolais 2020!

Wish me, continued, luck – ie to remain ‘negative!’

the côte de covid….

By billn on December 06, 2021 #events#warning - opinion!

There’s plenty of truth in the articles that have circulated in the last few days; here and here.

I have, personally, never engaged with the larger tastings and tasting dinners that have re-emerged in these (currently!) post-confinement times. I checked out the Roi Chambertin’s new premises – and it was better – but I still didn’t stay to taste. I do have occasional domaine visits where there are other tasters present – and I try to keep my distance – only fist bumping where necessary. Even that is fraught with difficulty; last week I received an email from an important domaine to let me know that a fellow taster had tested positive. Fortunately, me not in the 10 days that have followed the tasting, and now I’m boosted with my third jab too.

Returning the title and the linked articles; it comes as no surprise to me that a number of domaines are currently unavailable for the next 10 days for tastings – no more info given! I’ve not personally had any cancellations yet, but I know of plenty of people who have. Anyone who has seen some of the Instagram videos of the maskless partying at the Paulée de Meursault, and others, will understand that these were, to all intents and purposes, the perfect super-spreader events. Let’s not even think about the rumours of the falsified covid-certificates at some of the gatherings.

I chose to leave Beaune for Bern on the weekend of the Vent des Vins, returning to the quieter side of Beaune on the Tuesday that followed. The wine auction was well-organised and with good spacing between the participants – it’s the extra-curricular events that have been the issue – the Trois not so Glorieuses in 2021!

The 161st Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction…

By billn on November 22, 2021 #events#the market

Hospices - Sotheby'sThe 161st Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction took place on Sunday evening, November 21st 2021. This was the first of a series (a 10-year contract?) to be led by Sotheby’s.

When you consider the relatively small number of barrels available due to the frosts of 2021, the proceeds of the sale were quite exceptional – €11,678,000 for those 351.5 barrels – about 60% of the volume that was available in the previous sale – and not of the same quality either!

The bare facts are that prices increased by 100% for the whites and 60% for the reds when compared to the previous year. The special lot – the “Pièce des Présidents” – a barrel of Corton-Renardes Grand Cru reached an impressive new record price of €800,000 – thats nearly €2,700 per bottle without the costs of elevage. Looked at another way, that’s ‘only’ what you now pay for the grand crus from Domaine Leroy!

There is, indeed, a paucity of wine in the most recent vintages, though not to the level that could justify the prices paid at the weekend, though we can keep telling ourselves – ‘It’s just for charity!

once more, the return of the grands jours de bourgogne…

By billn on October 03, 2021 #events

Grands Jours de Bourgogne 2022The 15th edition of Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne, after its covid-cancellations, has been rescheduled to 21-25 March 2022.

A wine-trade fair for ‘professionals’ (described as sommeliers, restaurants, wine-stores, importers, wholesalers & sales agents…) plus journalists.

There will be the usual 12 walk around tastings from Chablis to the Côte Chalonnaise via the Mâconnais the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune, representing 1,000 winegrowers and merchants plus 6,000 different Burgundy wines.

For more information:

The date on the following video may not have changed, but the logos above have!

La Fête des Vins de Chablis – 2021

By billn on September 30, 2021 #events

Fete des vins Chablis - 2021

I’m still crowd-phobic in the post(?)-covid times, so I won’t make the trip myself, but if you are out and about on the 23-24th October this year, I’m sure you will be made very welcome and can taste lots and lots of Chablis, Irancy, Epineuil – etcetera!

More info here.

an open day – château moulin à vent

By billn on June 14, 2021 #events

Chateau moulin a vent open day 2021

New in my inbox today.

I guess that this is the covid-successor to the last few years’ Jazz à Moulin à Vent – also held at the château. I can’t make it as I have a new kitten to collect that day(!) but feel free to head along yourself!

See Here.

Baghera & Bouchard’s La Romanée – the results…

By billn on April 19, 2021 #events

Well, actually more the highlights:

The sale, as usual for this auction house, was in Geneva but because of covid restrictions in Switzerland there was a live stream available for following the bidding but no bidders or spectators were allowed in the room. The staff of the auction house (Baghera) were in telephone contact with bidders in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore – but I recollect no mention of a location in North America – though online bidders eventually accounted for 52% of the sales. A successful bidder on many lots was Ma Cuisine in Singapore. These were only bidders referred to by name rather than their paddle number – though whether they were buying for their restaurant, or other buyers, or a blend of the two, is only conjecture.

It all started in a rather steady fashion – the wines barely creeping up to mid-estimates – though to be fair, the estimates were not so low! From another perspective, the wines of the first few hundred lots were no more expensive than most of those sold at the René Engel auction two years ago by the same auction house. Perhaps it was the lack of participants in the room or many bottles of modest vintages – such as 1987/86/84 etcetera – but we were well into the auction before pre-sale estimates were finally ripped up and thrown out of the window.

The 1985s kindled much more interest but the fire really started with the wines of the 1980 vintage – I can only assume based on the positive recent article about the vintage by William Kelly in the Wine Advocate – but then bidding became even more impressive for the 1978s.

The sale was now clearly underway.

1906 La Romanée
Image courtesy Baghera

Wines from 1906 did very well – 6 bottles taking a hammer price of 185,000 francs – but the real fireworks were reserved for the wines of the 1865 and 1862 vintages. The better-known of the two is 1865 and it showed in the bidding; the first bottle sold for 165,000 Swiss francs, the buyer accepting the option of also taking the next 4 bottles at the same price per bottle – plus, not forgetting, the 22% buyer’s commission! This was the highest per bottle price of the auction; three subsequent lots of 6 bottles and then a case of 12 1865s – what a cellar chez Bouchard Père et Fils! – all receding a little in terms of the average bottle price, though that last case of 12 was the highest single bid of the auction – 1.6 million Swiss francs the hammer price or 1.952 million with the commission – or, if you prefer, 2.133 million US dollars.

The prices of the 1862s were, by comparison, modest – only 55-60,000 Swiss francs per bottle! 332 lots were offered and 332 lots were sold for a bid total of around 9.6 million francs. I assume Baghera and Bouchard Père et Fils will be very happy with the day and the results.

The swiss sale of La Romanée back to the 1862 vintage…

By billn on April 16, 2021 #events

For the safety of their international customers, Baghera/wines has chosen to organise a dynamic online sale, auctioning the 332 lots in live-streaming from “Club 1865 by Baghera” and on the Baghera/wines website.

la romanee memories
Image and video from Baghera

I’d planned to attend Sunday’s auction but there you go – it won’t be possible – one day later and such gatherings would be allowed in Switzerland. I note that you had to register your details at least 72 hours ahead of time if you want to bid online – it seems that’s already too late for you now, if not already done.

It’s still possible to follow the sale, live online if you are interested though. Maybe I may glance at my laptop whilst otherwise watching Max Verstappen and Louis Hamilton and co on Sunday – as I won’t now be going to Geneva…

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