Picture Gallery

Both pictures and explanations!

By billn on January 22, 2023 #ladypyrazines#picture gallery#site updates#travels in burgundy 2023

Vaudesir to the left, Vaudesir & Moutonne to the right...
Vaudesir to the left, Vaudesir & Moutonne to the right…

A chilly week in Chablis and the Côte d’Or too this week and weekend – I offer you a small gallery of the sights.

But first, a couple of readers have asked some questions and also for some help in deciphering some of the ‘codes’ that I use in my descriptions and reports. These are things that have built up over the years, or are shorthand when taking notes that I don’t always remember to return to ‘long-hand!’ But every now and then it’s worth a little explanation because not everyone has been coming here for years and years 🙂

Agrumes: I had always assumed that agrume was also an English-language word but it seems I may have been mistaken and that it is predominantly found in the Latin tongues. Simply put, it is citrus but it actually covers the whole family of citrus fruits. For this reason, I may sometimes refer to more green-shaded agrumes (lots of lime or lime skin) or orange/mandarin but the effect can also be shaded more to grapefruit or even some complexity of all. The Latin languages have definitions that are more open to ‘interpretation’ than the Germanic-derived ones 🙂 Some white vintages are marked by ‘agrume bitters‘, so without extra info, you can translate that ‘simply’ as a zesty, citrus-skin type of bitterness.

Do you ever feel that a bit of oak can contribute to the overall ‘quality’ of a wine? Or are you averse to all manifestations of oak?” That’s a great question! We all have our own preferences, and whilst I would always prefer to taste the wine, rather than the containers in which it has been raised (elevage,) some aspects that come from the oak distract me less than others. Oak with a strong toast is much rarer than was once the case – overt vanilla too – which is good for me – I don’t want either of those in my glass. The more creamy accents that can come from the barrel distract me much less and I can say the same – within limits – for those spicy notes that you more often find with reds. I do believe that the barrels contribute to more impressive wines of additional longevity – but a deft hand that can expertly meld the aromas and flavours of the wood would always be my preference. It’s not just the organoleptic (smell-flavour) aspects of the wines that are altered by the barrels though – it is the shape and texture of the wines too… But a strongly oaked wine that I wouldn’t want to drink young (because of that strong aroma or flavour) can still be a very great wine if you have sufficient patience. You need a reviewer that can put ‘the now’ to one side and still be able to say that they think that a particular wine will still be great.

Do ‘the greens’ that you have found so often in 2020 white Burgundies ever go away or is it a mark that always persists?” To offer a little more focus – I have found these pyrazines in the wines of the Côtes d’Auxere – including Chablis – so some red to go with a lot of white. There were occasional reds in both Beaujolais and the Côte d’Or too – but relatively rare – I did not note these greens in whites from any other region. If the reds of 2004 and 2011 are to be used as benchmarks, then the pyrazine notes that I am sensitive to, are stable. The 2020 Chablis that I have re-tasted in the last two weeks are worse – more overt – than was the case one year ago.

You cite the common reaction to them as occurring in 80% of tasters – do the remaining 20% have no adverse effects whatsoever & should they all rush out & buy up the 2020 vintage Chablis?” You got that ‘back-to-front’ – it’s only about 10% of tasters that are sensitive – anecdotally, more often, it is women that have this extra sensitivity. The rest can and should rush out to buy what is otherwise a well-constructed, fine vintage for Chablis.

Gothic & WC: WC is a shorthand that I often use interchangeably for whole-clusters or whole-bunches or ‘stems.’ I sometimes refer to the effect of wc on the wine being a little gothic. By that I mean, darker, more structural – indeed a bit austere too – so in this case it means with some herbal aspects and more drying tannin. This was visible in the 2021 wines at a few important domaines – but far from all – some domaines made gorgeously perfumed wines even with 100% use of whole clusters…

Okay a few images from the last 6-7 days, enjoy:

at last…

By billn on June 20, 2020 #degustation#picture gallery#reports#travels in burgundy 2020

domaines week number 21 2020

I’ve only missed 12 weeks of being able to visit producers, but to be honest, it has seemed longer.

My thanks – of course – to the domaines that had the time to see me this week – they will all be in my June report. I’m planning to be ‘en place‘ for a few days every other week, and there are always many more people worth paying a visit to!

onward and upwards – les duresses

By billn on March 14, 2019 #picture gallery#warning - opinion!


June 2018.

It can be complicated – there are three interested parties here – not including the ones actually doing the work!

As you can see from the sunny pictures, taken last June, this beautiful corner of Auxey-Duresses, sitting on a corner that looks towards both the Moulin des Moines and Monthèlie, was more than a little run-down. You see this, or much worse, across most of the vineyards of Burgundy, but since achieving UNESCO World Heritage status, there are certain grants available to those people who (correctly) want to shore-up the basis of their livelihoods – the vineyards. It’s important for the tourists too!

This one is more complicated because the owner is not the exploiter – it’s one of the Meursault Bouzereau’s who works the vines in this particular plot, but on a fermage basis. So you have the winemakers, the owners and the UNESCO foundation who are all contributing to this work.

Here there’s a house that stands alone, a house that I’ve always admired but has always seemed to be empty – probably due to the 80 km/h (++!) road that’s directly in front – there’s no sign, but the locals call it Maison des Duresses – but it has seen much updating in the last 12 months. Likewise for the last few months a fine piece of renovation can be seen to the wall that extends from the house in the direction of Monthèlie, and includes these beautiful pillars with a stairway. The guy doing the work told me that he’s not usually alone doing this – but he was yesterday afternoon – but that he’d also worked a little on the stones so that the name of the old owners would be more legible.

A lovely piece of work!
 

a little swiss cow action!

By billn on September 24, 2017 #picture gallery#travel pics

In Switzerland, like everywhere else, what goes up, must come down – but particularly in Switzerland, because that also includes the cows!

At the beginning of June the cows are walked up the hikers’ paths to the higher pastures of the Alps, and in September they are walked back down – before the weather changes. The journey’s are celebrated and the farmers and their family dress-up in their traditional costumes – but the cows are dressed-up too, with floral headresses and there are even cow ‘beauty contests’ – taken very seriously by the local folk.

It was a sunny day, so we took a trip out to the Freiburger-Alps and the nearby towns of Charmey and Gruyère for some cow action!
 


And then onto Gruyère – very pretty indeed!
 

a few swiss days…

By billn on May 08, 2016 #picture gallery#travel pics

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The last days in Switzerland have been quite nice – but oday there’s rain in Beaune. Back to the typing!
 

Irancy 2016…

By billn on January 31, 2016 #picture gallery#travels in burgundy 2016

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Well, all week the armchair forecasters were saying nice on Saturday, terrible on Sunday – the weather that was! As it was, the rain and wind arrived early – midday on Saturday. This was one day where everyone was happy that it was 8°C and not 1°C!

The Irancy Saint Vincent parade started in the dark of the early morning, from high on the hill above Irancy into the town below – by torchlight and with handy flames by the side of the the route; representatives from all over Burgundy with their own ‘Saint Vincent’ statues.

Still, for the first 5 hours or so everybody stayed dry, if still a little wind-swept! By mid-morning there was a 2km line of slowly moving cars to the parking areas – in fields. I really don’t want to think what the parking was like on the Sunday after plenty of rain. Le Bien Public put Saturday’s visitor numbers anywhere between 15 and 20 thousand – well done Irancy!

The town was well decked-out and with multiple tasting venues – though to be honest, there were so many people at each ‘tasting station’ we preferred to walk the town and enjoy the atmosphere – and it was a lovely atmosphere. For lunch we queued almost 30 minutes for what turned out to be the last of the ‘parmentiers de canard’ – French shepherd’s pie made with duck! – but it was hot and tasty – luckily-so, as it was now raining as well as windy. The glühwein never looked more attractive, particularly as we had to walk back up the hill (to the parking) in the wind and rain!

I hope the weather (and the muddy fields) wasn’t too bad on Sunday – we were already back in Beaune by Saturday evening.

a viennese weekend…

By billn on October 05, 2015 #degustation#events#picture gallery

All quiet here over the weekend, but that was because I had to see some horses, some blue sky and a brilliant range of 1985 (mainly) grand crus.
Cheers! 😉
 

the ins and outs of being very silly…

By billn on July 25, 2014 #picture gallery#travel#travel pics

The weather is vacillating. One moment picturesque, the next, very damp.

Tomorrow I should take-part in my first marathon – it just so happens it’s the ‘highest in Europe’ – a mere 2,739m at the 25km point. I suppose it’s all downhill from there! Oh well, shame about the weather forecast too…

sun, ski and amiot’s 2006 morey les ruchots

By billn on April 10, 2014 #degustation#picture gallery#vintage 2014

Hard to believe, but the lull here was due to skiing, curtailed today by too much snow! Back home this afternoon, it was 22°C in the garden, no-wonder:

But following my evening jog – replacing one kind of (leg) ache with another – time for a little MSD 1er Cru action!

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2006 Pierre Amiot, Morey St.Denis 1er Les Rochots
Medium, medium-plus colour. It starts modestly, but it’s still a nose to sink into; a classic Morey nose of herbs, backed with dark fruit and maybe a little blood-iron for good measure too. Just an ounce of padding below the silky texture and flavours that are detailed, fresh and focused. Not a powerful wine this – you will find a number of villages wines with the same heft – but long and very interesting. And note, it costs less than most ‘name’ Vosne villages these days! Very tasty!
Rebuy – Yes

And a little Austrian action too:

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