in case you missed it

icymi – recent reading…

By billn on September 11, 2018 #in case you missed it#other sites

A few things I’ve read in the last days:

tinkering with the hierarchy of the climats?

By billn on July 25, 2018 #in case you missed it#other sites

The best thing I’ve read for a long time – it’s definitely worth broaching the second paragraph and more! Thank-you Andrew Jefford. Also a big thumbs up from me for the book he mentions; ‘Climats et Lieu-Dits des Grands Vignobles de Bourgogne‘ – it is my most-used reference – the book resides on my writing table…

[Edit:] Whilst the following ‘headline‘ is nothing more than clickbait hyperbole, it is related to the article of Jefford, and does at the very least beg the question as what types of wines will be being produced in Burgundy in another 20 years, climate change as we currently experience it, is probably more problematic for the chardonnay than the pinot…

hail nets are finally allowed – almost…

By billn on July 24, 2018 #in case you missed it

David Rossignol of Rossignol-Trapet, in his Gevrey 1er Combottes vines in May this year…

In case you missed it – because I did!

On June 20, 2018 the use of anti-hail nets was allowed by the INAO for vines producing AOC / AOP wines – but the word only started to drip out into the press this week.

The decision concerns “vertical single-row” nets that are placed on both sides of the vines. Such an approach was not just (previously) prohibited for wines of appellation, it was also criticized for its visual aspect or ‘lack of authenticity’ – there’s no denying the latter – but to have some grapes is better than to have none!

Following multiple vintages of heavy hail, the Confederation of Appellations and Winemakers of Burgundy (CAVB) obtained authorization in 2015 from the INAO to make a three-year study of anti-hail nets on thirty hectares of vines, dotted around Burgundy. The study of the INAO concluded that a net has “only a very limited influence on the mesoclimate of the vine and does not artificially or substantially modify the fundamental characteristics of the natural environment concerned – this type of equipment is therefore compatible with production in AOC.” There is one caveat; “the presence of the nets must be limited in time, so as to limit the effect of shading.

The results of this study showed that such nets did not affect the maturity of the grapes, the stages of development of the vine or the quality of the wines“, said Christine Monamy, of the Technical Bureau of the BIVB, which has participated in the experiment with the chambers of agriculture of the region.

The study done in Burgundy is valid for all appellations in France – so whilst each appellation can now use nets, each of the appellations must first apply to use nets – very French! Apparently some modifications to the nets have been requested by the INAO so it will take a little more time before you see a wider deployment.

icymi – ‘tca-less cork by 2020’ – so what?

By billn on July 16, 2018 #in case you missed it#seals (not the furry kind)#the market

“An oak barrel brings value to a wine, but cork is perceived as potentially causing a problem with your wine… – …why is that?”
Antonio Amorim – yes, that Amorim!

This was published on Friday when I was traveling – it mandated comment.

My first reaction was ‘Good!
My second reaction was ‘About Time!
My third reaction was ‘But really, why has this taken so long? And, and…

The more I think about this, the more that my thoughts move from positive to negative. Of-course I am jaded by the loss of so many precious bottles – over many years – not forgetting those bottles in my cellar that are still waiting to bring me the sharp pain of aromatic disappointment.

So this is no solution for me – why? Because, aged 56, I now buy almost nothing for my cellar – it is well-enough stocked for the next 20 years of drinking – because of that, many bottles that I own – particularly in those most horrible years of non-existant quality control (for TCA) between 1996 and 2000 – I expect to lose at least 10% to cork problems – and that’s only the reds…

Cork Problems? – yes it’s plural – it’s not just TCA. There are other unwanted aromas, plus the highly variable rates of oxygen transport – as legions of dead, oxidised whites will testify – it’s not simply about TCA, which empirically (for me) now hovers at ‘only’ about 2-3% – but as stated, for a wider range of cork-related issues, the amount of lost bottles is higher than that number.

DIAM has been a solution since 2004 – a solution that is 95% cork-based – thus protecting the livelihoods of cork producers. TCA-free cork that does not sufficiently address other off-compounds, or the outright non-protection of a majority of white wine, dead in 10 years or less, will be no solution. I would be much more interested in what Antonio has to say about subjects other than TCA.

Practically, for many ‘older’ buyers – only better is no solution at all…

this week’s icymi…

By billn on July 04, 2018 #in case you missed it#other sites#the market

I’ve been saving a few up for you – here’s about 2 week’s worth:

  • Jefford on Monday: The Chablis difference
    Short but punchy. An unusual presentational approach to Chablis – I would say reasonably successful too – well-done Andrew. There’s been a sad (relative) absence of Burgundy content in Decanter since Tim Atkin was made ‘Burgundy critic’ and contributing editor – for instance their very late copy on the Jayer auction (not from Tim) that sounded just like a re-hash of the PR that was mailed afterwards by the auction house. Tim is filling the hole left after William Kelly’s short tenure – though William was still there for longer than me 🙂 – hopefully we will see more from this platform soon.
  • One in ten vines are diseased:’
    (In French) A short piece that emphasises the issues affecting the cultivation of vines – globally too. 2016 was particularly bad in Burgundy due to the incredibly difficult first half of the growing season – much higher mortality was seen – particularly from ESCA – some areas peaking at 10% losses. The calmer growing season of 2017 and 2018 (so far) has seen lower mortality – at least from casual observation…
  • Double Robots – you were warned!
    (In French) Two reports looking at the future of vineyard management. One with a general purpose rechargeable robot – the Bakus – and another design for doing the weeding. I think a machine with more relevance to Burgundy’s small plots would probably have to be smaller, and it will be a while before there are Tesla-style charging points at the entrance to vineyards – they are the future – but then so, maybe, will be tractor hacking!
  • Beaujolais to be part of a united ‘Great Burgundy?’
    An interesting piece from Harpers. I have no doubt that, within a certain time horizon, this will happen – but today is too early. I discussed with an insider and they had an interesting observation; “Our experience concerning marriages between different regions is that tie-ups between two partners don’t work if one partner is dominant.” Let me put more meat on that bone for you; a marriage of equals works best. Burgundy is at a peak in their commercial cycle – prices at never seen before levels, mainly driven by demand-supply imbalances despite great quality. It’s also true that Beaujolais is the most dynamic of regions right now, but coming from a deep low in their economic cycle – and they have much more work to do. Effectively, a ‘marriage’ such of this is going to need a little more time for equality – a success-factor that’s been noted by both parties.
  • Alternatives to Burgundy, from Burgundy:
    The Los Angeles Times with that perennial opportunity to talk about relative values in Burgundy. There’s much (deserved) emphasis on the aligoté grape and (less deserved) on Passetoutgrains – there are super examples of the latter, but usually in very small quantities – at least from great producers like d’Angerville – and yes, that was a tip 🙂
  • Burgundian Graphic Novels?
    I include this one, purely for the nice portrait of Emmanuel Guillot – I still regret not having my camera to hand when we were discussing in his kitchen, and he was drinking tea from his Star Wars mug!


By billn on March 04, 2018 #in case you missed it

  • The weather of last week – i.e. the -12°C – was seemingly insufficient the freeze the opened bottles of wine that stood outside my kitchen window. Still, that was one chilly drop of wine…
  • Talking of the weather – my long-weekend visit to the Côtes was called off – more due to ice rain than the snow – so despite the all-round prowess of the scooby, it was to be a weekend at home, rescheduling some domaine visits.
  • Typing my visit to Franck Large of Domaine du Breuil in Salles-Arbuissonnas-en-Beaujolais. Franck noted that from 2017 he can include the name of his village on his Beaujolais Villages label. I told him that the name of his village isn’t easy for an English speaker to say – Franck joked ‘It’s not easy for the French either!
  • It was a short-term laugh, but following Google’s update to it’s search engine ‘to make it harder for people to buy guns(?)’ we also lost for a while the ability to buy bur-gun-dy. They fixed it in a couple of days, but it took longer still to recover the back-catalogue of the Sex Pistols!
  • Light afternoon reading… silver-tongues-ray-walker-hong-kong-and-the-rules-of-the-game/

icymi – erwan’s changes, ‘remarkable’ & hopefully no white elephants

By billn on January 25, 2018 #in case you missed it

Three things have caught my eye in the last days:

  1. My father favours wines that are big, tannic and my direction is the opposite– Erwan Faiveley
  2. Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti has said the 2015 vintage ranks as perhaps the most remarkable of his half a century long career” which makes an interesting counterpoint to some of his words when I tasted at the domaine in December 2016. But ‘remarkable’ is not automatically the same as ‘great’ – eh? – link
  3. Finally: In association with the work for ‘Climats / UNESCO World Heritage’ there is finally news that the signatures are in place for the project to build “Cité des Vins dedicated to the region’s wines and Climats.” The local representatives look happy in the picture above, courtesy the BIVB. The plan is to build close to the centre of Beaune, the Cité to be constructed near the Palais des Congrès, part of a 10-hectare complex including a five-star hotel, two restaurants, a shopping mall and reception centre. The plan is “to create the entertaining, educational, and cultural structures this project represents.
    The plan is that this should be opening to the public in early 2021 and represents an investment of €16.6 million coming from Chablis, Mâcon and roughly two-thirds of the cash from Beaune. I honestly see this project, at a time of unsustainable wine pricing, having the potential to be a huge, not to mention expensive, white elephant. But I will be very, very happy to be proved an old pessimist 🙂

icymi – a lot of ow loeb, and quite a lot of whole clusters…

By billn on January 19, 2018 #in case you missed it

Starting with a cutting reportage – but no hatchet job – I know producers that haven’t been paid for their wine:

Burgundy Report

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