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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 aligotĂ© 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!

icymi from last week (plus…)

By billn on May 28, 2018 #other sites

A little too much that’s related to auctions – but such is writing today – I hesitate to include it, as it makes me just an unpaid marketing extension of the wine-pricing bubble… Still, there’s quite an interesting range of things:

  • Honestly, despite doing quite a piece last year (the year before?) on the relative merits of pinot or gamay rosĂ©s, and actually enjoying the wines very much, it seems they are also quite forgettable, hence, I forget them! Some reading here though.
  • (Auction-related) An interview with Emmanuel Rouget. He doesn’t give many interviews as he’s a private individual, so it’s a shame that this is largely just sales puff, material for marketing the upcoming Henri Jayer auction – but I do plan to visit the auction to get an idea of the event…
  • A long but interesting piece in, of all places, the Guardian newspaper, asking ‘Has wine gone bad?
  • White Burgundies worth waiting for? From Jancis. Much more on that from me in the April Burgundy Report – online in the next couple of days…
  • (Auction-related) Ponsot and MĂ©o now in the big-time?
  • Chardonnay RosĂ© – anybody?
  • (Auction-related) Dream burgundy? More interesting for me is that Hong Kong seems to be the location du jour for expensive sales and that so much of the top wines end up there today – 15 years ago it was such a tiny market. Probably, and unfortunately for the wine in question, a large percentage of that wine has travelled the world, chasing the most speculative prices…
  • 89 is a tombstone score

this week’s icymi…

By billn on April 28, 2018 #other sites


henri jayer – the last hurrah?

By billn on April 16, 2018 #events#other sites#the market

Auction catalogue screenshot 12 April 2018

On June 17 2018, there will be an auction of burgundy wines that has very little (recent) equal. It will take place in Geneva under the auspices of Baghera Wines.

Whilst incredulous of a number of lots in this auction house’s first couple of auctions – how could they possibly be legitimate? – the catalogues were certainly sumptuous, fabulous things – keepsakes. The auction in June has, however, a provenance that seems irrefutable:

“855 bottles and 209 magnums! That’s how many bottles there were in Domaine Henri Jayer’s cellar. A handful of people knew of the treasures that were lying dormant at the Domaine, even though many bottles had been opened and shared these past few years. The anecdote about one last Richebourg 1959 opened by the family last Christmas shows how much Henri Jayer’s descendants enjoy tasting their father and grandfather’s wine.”
Baghera Wines

Whilst I like Burgundy Report to be inclusive, indeed egalitarian, sometimes you cannot escape from the rarest of the rare – and today that’s unquestionably Henri Jayer. Domaines RomanĂ©e-Conti and Leroy command similar prices, but their supplies are replenished with a new vintage each year – but for the wines of Henri Jayer that’s not the case – and it’s no joke that more wines bearing his label have already been drunk, than he ever produced – and yet ever-more come to the market.

Henri, born in 1922, died in 2006. I never met him, though I have (allegedly) had his wine in my glass twice – once it was an awful, bretty abomination and probably not genuine, the other time it hinted at the sublime and was maybe genuine – both were villages wines of the 1980s, drunk in the early 2000s.

Jayer was the vigneron(ne)s’ vigneron, working his vines for upwards of 60 years and his influence on the region is as strong as that from today’s benchmarks like the aforementioned Domaine de la RomanĂ©e-Conti and Domaine Leroy – but he took a different path – decrying the use of whole clusters, choosing to destem all his grapes. Even when faced with great wines made with their stems, he remained resolute in his conviction. His wines remain highly sought-after, the problem is that his labels are also the most falsified and fabricated that you could imagine.

History is sometimes told with rose-tinted spectacles; it is said that Jayer was one of the first to reject fertilisers and reduce yields, but he began cultivation in the war years – there were no chemicals available so yields were inevitably low, though it’s true that, later, he never resorted to chemistry even when could – he used only his hands and his horse for his hard labour. And much hard labour was indeed required for his most famous of crus – Vosne-RomanĂ©e 1er Cros Parentoux – so small at 1.01 hectares that it is completely ignored in RenĂ© Engel’s book Vosne-RomanĂ©e despite its position on the border of Richebourg and Petits Monts. When Jayer began his work, the whole of this unplanted plot was owned by Madame Noirot-Camuzet. Rented by Jayer, planting, dynamiting and even growing vegetables in the plot, he became not just the largest owner, after the family sold him 0.72 hectares in 1957, he continued to farm the vines retained by the Camuzet family. So Cros Parentoux, for so long bottled only as a villages wine, became for a time his monopole – though it was only in in 1978, that Jayer marketed Cros Parentoux for the first time under his own label.

In 1995, having officially retired, Jayer passed the management of 0.43 hectares of Cros to his nephew, Emmanuel Rouget, but he retained the balance of these vines as he ‘hobby vinified’ until the end of 2001 – from 2002 all of his vines were entrusted to Rouget.

The ‘Cros’ is by a long way the most populous wine in this sale and whilst, at first, it’s amazing that so many bottles remained at the domaine, given my recent experience of moving 800 bottles of my own wine, such a number can fit in a relatively small space, indeed could almost be lost in a, once, functioning cuverie. Once more the catalogue is a wonderful thing and full of detail – where else will you learn and see pictures of Jayer with his trusty horse Pilote and read the commentaries of Aubert de Villaine and Emmanuel Rouget?

We might not be able to afford such bottles, but we can always learn from them

[EDIT]: Here’s the PressRelease-Bagherawines-ENG-20180417

last week’s icymi

By billn on April 03, 2018 #other sites

A few interesting things I spotted of the course of last week:

  1. Domaine Olivier Merlin: Corinne and Olivier Merlin’s 15 hectare domaine with vines in the Mâconnais and Moulin Ă  Vent has new personnel. Sons Paul and Theo Merlin, both winemakers, have joined their parents – their first vintage will be 2018.
  2. Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux: By Jamie Goode. I might already say ‘risen’ rather than rising, but all good(e)!
  3. Domaine François Gaunoux: By Ed Zimmerman (in Forbes). Really an iconoclastic domaine with very impressive wines – despite zero oak – just let them breathe. Profiled in these pages last year.
  4. When London goes mad – Burgundy Week: By Jancis Robinson.



By billn on March 21, 2018 #other sites

It may not look like much, but this is Clos de Vougeot ‘Musigni’ – pictured last week…

Just a few things collected in the last days:

(the organic) gevrey wine club…

By billn on November 21, 2016 #other sites#the market

No afilliation (et-cetera), but this looks potentially quite interesting, and it’s connected to the people who own/run the (very comfortable) Les Deux Chevres hotel in Gevery-Chambertin.


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