Why Big Red Diary?

2hl/ha? it ain’t half hot mum!

 Beaune, 21h00 tonight

This morning really reminded me of 2015 – getting the gardening done before 10am – before the temperatures got too high.

Late afternoon Beaune sweltered in 37°C – long live aircon I say, having travelled 4 hours from Bern!

Despite this week’s similarity to 2015, this time last year the Côte d’Or whites had already been largely harvested, fewer growers were in the reds, but the equivalent of next week was (red) D-Day for most producers. This year, I don’t expect much to happen before the 20th September, maybe closer to the 26th…

But what are they going to pick? The Côte de Nuits is not THAT bad, but I spoke to David Croix today, who this week was back from two weeks of holiday. “Well, we did quite the most thorough evaluation of the grapes in the Domaine des Croix vineyards that I’ve ever done, it it doesn’t look good. The average was less than one cluster per vine – about 2-3 hectolitres per hectare. I might be a little out and could be surprised and get 5 – but I won’t be getting 15. And we thought that 2012-2015 was bad! Okay this year we pruned late and had a lot of weeds in the vines – that seemed to exacerbate the effect of the frost. I might make 10 barrels this year” How many do you usually make? – was the obvious question – “oh, about 100…”

On that note, maybe it’s better to concentrate on the pretty sky this evening!

a mid-week pair, gueguen and bichot…


Two lovely mid-week wines, both eminently ‘recommendable’ but the Gueguen comes first on a scale of absolute deliciousness!

2014 Gueguen, Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Chardonnay
A pale lemon-yellow colour. It’s a fresh nose, and honestly, if I told you it was a nice crisp Chablis with a hint of salinity and some citrus fruit – you would believe me. Bright, pretty citrus, mouth-watering with that sweetness and (in this case a modest) minerality that I associate with Chablis. Modest in length but so über-tasty. Deliciously perfect Summer wine – really!
Rebuy – Yes

2006 Albert Bichot, Beaune 1er Champimonts
Cold from the fridge, there’s more than a suggestion of vanilla to these aromatics, but as it warms, those barrel notes disappear completely – what remains is a lovely, dark, sour-cherry impression, padded with faint violet notes – nice! This rolls over the tongue in fine fashion – like the nose, the fruit offers an attractive sour-cherry character, freshness and a nicely delivered acidity that welds flavour to your gums in the finish. Really tasty and really attractive wine as it comes to its 10th birthday – no rush either, this is still a baby! Excellent.
Rebuy – Yes

offer of the day – henri boillot 2014s…

Don’t ask me what happened to the 2013s – I’ve seen nothing from this merchant since the 2012s – but suddenly, they are back in action! But it’s a good look at the pricing history in Switzerland, even if the 13s are missing!

In brackets, you will see the equivalent prices from the 2012 offer, the 2011 offer and then the 2010 offer, in the format; 2014 chf (2012 2011 2010):

BOURGOGNE Chardonnay 75cl 22.00 (22.00 20.00 20.00) Swiss francs
MEURSAULT 75cl 44.00 (44.00 39.00 39.00)
Saint Aubin 75 cl 32.00
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 75cl 48.00 (48.00 42.00 42.00)

MEURSAULT Les Genevrières 75cl 79.50 (89.50 79.00 68.00)
MEURSAULT Les Perrières 75cl 89.50 (98.00 79.00 69.00)
Puligny Les Perrières 75 cl 79.50
Puligny Les Combettes 75 cl 89.50
Puligny Les Folatières 75 cl 89.50
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Clos de La Mouchère 75cl not offered (89.50 72.00 68.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Pucelles 75cl not offered (98.00 78.00 72.00)

CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 75cl 139.00 (138.00 99.50 98.00)
CRIOTS BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 249.00 (249.00 168.00 159.00)
BIENVENUES BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 319.00 (319.00 189.00 178.00)
BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 389.00 (399.00 249.00 235.00)
MONTRACHET 75cl not offered (599.00 448.00 399.00)

VOLNAY 37.5cl 24.00
VOLNAY 75cl not offered (44.00 39.00 39.00)
Volnay Les Chevrets 75 cl 73.00
VOLNAY Les Caillerets 75cl 79.50 (85.00 69.00 66.00)
POMMARD Les Rugiens 75cl 85.00 (89.00 69.00 69.00)

CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 129.00 (139.00 105.00 98.00)
Bonnes-Mares 75cl 229.00

Largely the same or a little less than in 2012 – I guess that’s the strength of the Swiss Franc talking…

mikulski, red meursault caillerets 1er cru


2010 François Mikulski, Meursault 1er Caillerets
I was quite surprised when I opened this, there was a toasty oak note on the nose – it was on the palate too. I went back to check my note from the domaine, there was no oaky reference – though the wine was tight. On the positive side it had lovely energy and indeed vivacity coupled to fine fruit. Day 2 after spending the night in the fridge – almost zero oak – and what a gorgeous nose! Fresh, mouth-watering flavour and a fine weight of mid-palate concentration. The wine lingers, indeed almost dances, on a fine, mouth-watering note. A very fine pinot indeed – I have no reference points for it, but it brought far more enjoyment on day two. I would say decant a couple of hours before drinking if you want to open today. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

week 33, weekend wines: 1985,1991,2012…


2012 Camille Giroud, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peuillets
This is a cuvée that I love – I think I have a few bottles from every vintage since 2005, but judging by this performance it is a cuvée that shines with a little bottle age – or more age than I gave this, anyway. This is a fresh wine with good intensity – a young wine – but a wine with remarkably little to discuss – it’s tasty but just a little anonymous today. I need to pull an older one out of the cellar. There are no faults, but today, this is simply ‘okay.’
Rebuy – Maybe

1985 Pontbriand, Gevrey-Chambertin
Hmm – this smells rather good – a melange of maturity and sweet fruits. In the mouth too, perhaps with a hint of spice, this is caressing and very tasty. A contemplative wine – but that’s how the ’85 vintage usually is. Tasty with good complexity – very good!
Rebuy – Yes

1991 Savour Club, Chapelle-Chambertin
I somehow ended up with 7 or 8 of these. The first two were off-the-scale fabulous, the third was corked. This wine is very fine, and in pretty much every dimension it’s fine, but it rarely touches the concept of ‘fabulous.’ Easily the tastiest of these three wines, mind. Bottle variation or just going downhill since last tasted over 5 years ago? Maybe I should open another to see!
Rebuy – Yes

there, but for the grace, and projecting a harvest date…

hailTruly awful hail hit southern France on Wednesday afternoon – there were similar storms in Switzerland too where the ground turned green-white – a mix of shredded foliage and hailstones. Over 1,000 hectares were ‘touched’ in the Languedoc-Roussillon, including most of Pic Saint-Loup. Judging by some of the images, there may not be anything to properly prune for 2017 – i.e. there may also be no grapes next year!

This time, at-least, greater Burgundy was spared, though anything can still happen between now and harvest time. Talking of harvest time, and based on the current state of veraison, it looks like the reds may be ready for picking from the 26 September – of-course some producers habitually wait longer. Usually the whites are picked 7-10 days before the reds, but there are some indications that this year it may only be 1-3 days before the reds. Let’s see!

Yesterday I did a little tour in Beaujolais. The big hail event for them was largely in the crus, little in the south of Beaujolais was touched; Mainly it was the area between Morgon and Fleurie, plus Chiroubles and some Juliennas. These vines were largely stripped of all growth in late May, but the rain that came with the hail was so hard, that afterwards, there was no shredded vegetation to be seen on the slopes – it had all been washed down the drains. Today they have recovered well and look quite healthy, despite being only half the size of usual for the time of year – but, unsurprisingly, I spotted only one bunch of grapes per 8 or 9 vines. It was also easy to see the impact of large hail projectiles on all the hard-wood parts of the vines!!

a great story…

this afternoon a little fixin and gevrey…

modest monday drinking…


Friends ‘came to tea’ and given that it was over 30°C outside, it seemed that cassoulet was the order of the day 🙂

One of the beautiful things about burgundy wine, is that when you line up 2 or 3 bottles, there’s virtually zero chance of anyone else in the world is drinking the same as you – I’m pretty confident that it was the case for these three…

Celine et Laurent Tripoz, Cremant de Bourgogne – Prestige
From magnum – and a heavy one at that! Golden colour. The nose has an impressively concentrated core of ripe fruit – it starts a little in the direction of apricot but slowly seems more like a salt-edged ripe lemon. With the bubbles – modestly fine beaded – this is of-course mouth-filling. Fresh and mouth-watering with an innate sweetness to the ripe fruit but a line of salinity from the mid-palate into the finish. Despite the ripeness this has an engaging fresh vivacity that keeps bringing your lips back to the bottle – Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Testut, Chablis 1er Les Forêts
High grade packaging here – creamy-white wax-topped – and a wine with elevage in 100% new acacia-wood barrels no-less!
Although I didn’t note it at the domaine, here I do have an oak (acacia!) impression on the nose, but a relatively modest one – overall a wine with a big core of aroma, though just a little tight, reluctantly allowing a little smoky ripe lemon to escape the confines of the glass. Very wide in the mouth with a growing volume of flavour and certainly a wine that gains in intensity. The flavour has the requisite salinity and, if anything, seems constructed like a grand cru – but I’ve been a bad boy and really opened this far too soon. Time in the glass does allow it to relax a little and the texture becomes more and more silky, the wine offering a very nice, glossy citrus flavour. Decant or wait 5 years, but good stuff!
Rebuy – Yes

2012 Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée
This is a case of wine that I’m a little disappointed with, and I’m sure that I’m the one to blame – and that’s because I forgot about the case! When I first moved into the apartment in Beaune, I used one bedroom to store a couple of cases of wine – that was okay to start with, because it was winter! After 3 weeks of 35°C+ in 2015 I suddenly remembered the case – the bedroom was 28°C. The case was rescued and has averaged 13-16° since then, but I’ve retained a nagging doubt about every bottle – all have an aroma and flavour note that I’ve never found in another vintage from Louis-Michel. It’s a little like a firework-style reduction – I even had one bottle that was just not good.
This is quite good aromatically and absolutely lovely in the mouth – almost filigree. It’s a thing of beauty but with that modest reductive thing as an ever-present. Maybe it’s just me and they are all like this, but this was a very enjoyable bottle all the same…
Rebuy – Yes

weekend wines – week 32 – 3 from 3 were winners…


Back in Beaune this weekend – and it was a warm one – 33°C on Sunday! The wines had a good showing – 3 from 3 were winners

2013 Chezeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Chezeaux
Amélie Berthaut’s first vintage in the cellar, and this is a very nice wine indeed. The red fruit is just a little powdery, but it also has the impression of raspberry intensity and fresh crunchiness. Showcasing the best of 2013 with plenty of acidity but really an alive impression to the flavour. Only the faintest drag to the tannin. A bottle that drains very quickly – delicious wine!
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Nathalie & Gilles Fevre, Chablis 1er Vaulorent
Pale lemon yellow. A really inviting, fresh, salty seashore with a tang of lemon – hmm – already mouth-watering! Quite large in the mouth, but fabulously complex, with mouth-watering sweetly acid flavours – still with a good weight of flavour in the mid-palate. Just a gorgeous wine, it’s as tasty as the fabulous 14 Gueguen Vaucopins with a little extra richness of texture.
Rebuy – Yes

2012 Dublère, Beaune 1er Blanches Fleurs
My second of these in the last month, but what an inspired pairing to go with (Beaune market) prawns, cooked with tomatoes and a little white wine. It’s the oak that I previously commented on, that rounds out the palate, a palate that remains absolutely juicy and fresh. The nose retains a smooth red fruit, hardly extravagant, but not timid either. Plush, fresh and and waves of barrel-inflected flavours from the mid-palate into the finish. Absolutely yum!
Rebuy – Yes

saturday / sunday in the côtes…

chambertin…. (1998 – camus)


Camus have long been an easy target for the pooh-poohers, but this is really on another level vs the Lambrays of yesterday, for less money…

1998 Camus, Chambertin
The nose takes just a little while to take its coat off, but it has a real floral perfume – and quite a rare one – lavender mixes with the silky red-brown fruit impression. It’s very inviting indeed. Mouthfilling, fresh, lots of intensity and even more complexity. I’m simply enjoying this wine profusely. Good length and it has a certain distinction…
Rebuy – Yes

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