Why Big Red Diary?

offer of the day – old tarts…

A deluge of cheap wine from my usual Swiss source – at least cheap compared to last week’s Perrot-Minot!

La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2007 75cl 148.00* (Swiss Francs)
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2008 75cl 119.00
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2011 75cl 135.00
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2014 75cl 169.00
La Forge de Tart 1er Cru 2016 75cl 188.00

Clos de Tart Grand Cru (Library Release) 1996 75cl 498.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru (Library Release) 2001 75cl 498.00
Clos de Tart Grand Cru (Library Release) 2007 150cl 699.00

*Prices are ‘delivered’ but subject to 8% Swiss purchase tax.

domaine dublère – sold…

This afternoon, as I was leaving Beaune, I saw Blair Pethel – pictured doing what he loved – and he looked in good spirits. I stopped my car and we started to chat but then (of-course!) with no room to pass, other cars started to form a queue behind me – I quickly had to say ‘Ciao!’ – before we got into any nitty-gritty.

By the time I got home to Bern, Blair had sent me the following, which he, kindly, said that I could reproduce here. It’s a big surprise. I’ve visited Blair every year since his 2007 vintage – he’s always made great reds, typically in a, driving and intense, fresh style, but there were many vintages that I thought his whites extra special – a top 10 white wine domaine, hence, I included him in my book.

So extra luck to Fabrice and Sophie for what they will ‘inherit,’ and my thanks to Blair for the memories – I wonder (out loud) what he’s going to get up to now – he’s not one for sitting back.

I’d heard a few weeks back that ‘Domaine X‘ was for sale – but Blair’s is actually ‘Domaine Y,’ hence, a big surprise – so, it seems that such news will continue in 2019…

“To the clients and friends of Domaine Dublère,

It is with mixed emotions that I write to inform you of the sale of Domaine Dublère to Domaine Terres de Velle in Auxey-Duresses, effective May 10. I will be retiring from winegrowing on that date, and with the exception of a short period helping with the transition, will move on to new projects.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 16 years since my first vintage, and the time has certainly flown past. I appreciate beyond measure your support over the years, and your willingness to put your faith in an American winemaker in Burgundy, not the most commonplace of beasts. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know you all over the years, and have always enjoyed your visits and our conversations.

What this sale means is that there will be no 2017 Domaine Dublere wines offered. The managers of Domaine Terres de Velle, Fabrice and Sophie Laronze, are in the process of deciding which of my wines will be offered under their label. The same goes for the 2018s.

Fabrice and Sophie, aside from being my next-door neighbors, are also friends, and very talented and dedicated winegrowers who have an identical philosophy to me when it comes to work in the vines and the winery. I trust you will contact them not only to purchase my remaining wines, but to discover their range, which I am sure you will find remarkable. You can read more about them on their web site: https://www.terresdevelle.fr/en/, and you can contact them at info@terresdevelle.fr.

If you would like to order any of the remaining stocks of bottled Domaine Dublère wines, please let me know and I will send you availabilities – but we’ll have to hurry. Otherwise, I will just say again how grateful I am and always have been for your faithfulness and support over the past 16 years.

And now: Onwards and upwards!

Best regards,

Blair Pethel


a few views…

It started raining the moment I arrived in the Côte de Nuits yesterday – so my jogging stuff still wasn’t dry by the evening – but great news for dog fanciers – the Complexe Sportif (restaurant) in Gevrey has a friendly new puppy – much fun. The dog pictured was much older – from in my last visit of the day – but still something of an icon in Marsannay!

This morning – blue sky and sunshine – until 9:00am – when all was covered in the fine mist that you usually find in Autumn – perfect for jogging around Beaune!

some weekend wines – week 15 2019

2017 Alice & Olivier De Moor, Le Vendangeur Masque, Le Caravan
A mélange of different cepages from the south to north: clairette (Rhone), chardonnay (Ardeche), chardonnay and sauvignon gris from near Charolais, and pinot blanc and riesling from Alsace, and the aligoté from here. Lots of small cuvées assembled at the end.
A tight nose. There’s something of an apple freshness on the palate – nice zip to the attractive flavour and a silky texture. Super-tasty!
Rebuy Yes

2016 Vocoret, Chablis 1er Vaillons Vieilles-Vignes
A little greenery in the aromas – herb/lime. There is certainly concentration and intensity here though – a wine you can almost chew. I can see that I’m drinking it a little on the young side but the concentration and the mineral-lime-fruited hybrid of flavour works for me. A concentrated wine of some impact – don’t come for flowers or elegance!
Rebuy – Maybe

2017 Yvone et Laurent Vocoret, Chablis
Compared to the first Vocoret – chalk and cheese. Here’s a nose of width, of elegance and fresh yellow citrus. On the palate, open, sweetly mineral and citrus – decent concentration though less than the Vaillons. Just an easy, delicious, wine. Excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

2008 L et A Lignier, Charmes-Chambertin
Since I junked Facebook at least 2 years ago, I’ve no idea how Lucie, Auguste and of-course Kellen Lignier are doing – I hope they are well in the US. Anyway, I’ve some of their wine from about 06-08, so having come across this 2008 I though ‘Why not!’ Of-course it is Laurent Lignier who has been exploiting the domaine wines here since about 2009/2010…
This is a completely front-loaded wine – the nose attacks with pungent, old oak – a fecund mix of forward and quite attractive aroma if the dirty old oak doesn’t put you off! Given time the nose has a little spice and balsamic too. In the mouth this starts big but narrows into a modest, acid-led, finish. The acidity of 2008 without anything terribly out of balance or any spikyness. The finish is fading and is very modest in amplitude. Versus most villages wines today, from 2014-2017, this is essentially a bit thin – but the forward energy and some maturity make it very tasty. In the context of current grand cru pricing this would be a bad joke, but it’s delicious wine if you ignore that GC label…
Rebuy – No

Delicious as it may be, I see not a lot of upside in waiting further for this Charmes – based on that, I think the 2008 Clos de la Roche, that I found in the same carton, is another candidate for this year.

1996 Thomas-Moillard, Corton Clos du Roi
I tasted one of these in early 2000 and liked it enough that a dozen were purchased for a good price – perhaps less than €25 each, even much less. The first bottles had a certain flamboyance – if caged with a little 1996 acidic rigour – and I quite like a bit of acidic rigour! Thereafter, the wines slowly grew in rigour and became less flamboyant! It’s now a few years since the last one, so…
Ooh – still a deep, deep colour. The nose, unlike many of the domaine’s wines from Vosne, has a pure, clean attack – zero brett – under there’s dark but ripe fruit of sweeping fresh lines. In the the mouth intensity, concentration, and of-course plenty of acidity. Here are small waves of successive finishing flavour – layers of flavour. There’s still a little suggestion of bitter tannin in the finish as there’s also (clearly!) not much in the way of voluptuous padding. That said, that’s about as tasty and clean a performance as I can remember from this wine since, circa, 2003. Good wine, maybe even fine wine given the purchase price, but I’m pretty sure that it’s never going to be great wine. Today I enjoyed it though!
Rebuy – Maybe

frostwatch – 3

The Côte d’Or was in full, frost-battling, swing over the weekend – like I’ve never seen before – in fact, possibly like never before – the whole of the region currently smells of smouldering straw! I’ll link the most impressive view of the action which came courtesy Vincent Dancer of Chassagne.

Let’s not forget the work in Chablis too – they have been fighting the frost now for 5 nights – including the last 4 in a row (versus mainly just 2 in the Côte d’Or). There is certainly some localised damage, though not yet on the scale of 2016 or 2017 as the frost is a couple of weeks earlier than in those two vintages. The cold has, so-far, been dry in Chablis – which reduces the frost’s impact – unless you have vines next to the water-sprays – but no sprays for yourself – then things look less good!

Tonight is the last possible night of frost in the current weather cycle, warmer temperatures are forecast for at least the following 10 days. Fingers crossed!

View this post on Instagram

Fighting the frost again 💪🏻💪🏻#vincentdancer #alltogether

A post shared by Vincent Dancer (@vincentdancer_chassagne) on

côte d’or – the truth!

Or today’s truth anyway 🙂

I have often previously written that I was personally of the view that name Côte d’Or was derived from ‘east-facing’ – mainly given the number of old maps inscribed with côte d’orient – this, as opposed to the view that the name was derived from golden slope – something which lasts no-more than a couple of weeks – and not every year. Well, this month, the BIVB have weighed in with their own, currently, definitive version:

“Did you know?

Two uses and two origins for a single name!

Winegrowers chose the name of the Bourgogne Côte d’Or appellation as a reference to the orientation of the winegrowing hillsides. The Côte d’Or in this case represents a contraction of “Côte d’Orient”, meaning oriented to the east. A symbol of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, this favorable aspect goes a long way to explain the excellence of its wines, which benefit from the warming rays of the rising sun.

The Côte-d’Or département (with a hyphen), for its part, was named by the National Assembly in the 19th century for a much more bucolic reason. The name refers to the magnificent golden color that cloaks the vines just after the harvests.”

Or maybe they are just referring to the new appellation of Bourgogne Côte d’Or – watch this space…

offer of the day – Christophe Perrot-Minot 2017…

No lagging in the price department – I wonder (out loud!) who are the clientelle here. Of-course if Bernstein and Le Moine can reach these sort of levels, why not the person who owns the land and the vines and works those vines?

As usual, the prices are delivered in Switzerland – but here, include purchase tax. Note that these were special introductory prices – the price goes up at the end of the offer 🙂
In the brackets – 2016 prices:

Morey Saint-Denis La Rue de Vergy 2017 75cl 120.60 (94.50) (*Swiss Francs)
Gevrey-Chambertin Justice des Seuvrées 2017 75cl 120.60 (94.50)
Nuits St-Georges 1er ‘Les Murgers des Cras’ 2017 75cl 120.60 (100.80)
Chambolle-Musigny Orveaux des Bussières 2017 75cl 138.60
Vosne-Romanée Ormes des Chalendins 2017 75cl 138.60
Vosne-Romanée Les Champs Perdrix Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 156.60 (128.70)
Morey Saint-Denis 1er Cru La Riotte Vieilles Vignes 2017 75 cl 174.60 (163.80)
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 249.00 (193.50)
Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru La Richemone “Ultra” Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 389.00 (385.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Combe d’Orveau 1er Cru “Ultra” Vieilles-Vignes 2017 75cl 389.00
Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 444.00 (420.00)
Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 444.00 (420.00)
Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 444.00 (420.00)
Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 1,059.00 (840.00)
Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2017 75cl 1,059.00 (840.00)


*As noted, these are delivered prices, but this email offer is discounted – whatever is sold from their normal catalogue is at a higher price!

frostwatch – 2

Last week I reported on this year’s first ‘stabs’ of frost in Burgundy – and it seemed that from Chablis to Beaujolais everyone expected some modest losses from the year’s first wave of frost – except the few vignerons that I spoke to in the Côte de Nuits – they lead a charmed life!

Yesterday, as I was preparing to leave Beaune for a long weekend, the Côte de Beaune was once-more preparing themselves with many large bales of straw to be seen punctuating the flat-land vines of Aloxe and Chorey – the forecast was for about -1°C this morning – but seemingly that was not enough to prompt the bales being lit. Last night in Chablis, however, saw temperatures of -4°C and those with recourse to protection used it. Nathalie Fevre notes that ‘It was a proper Spring frost – frost collecting at the bottom of the hills, so on the higher slopes we had no problems.

It seems that for the next 2-3 days there will be a lack of sleep for many vignerons as they watch the mercury – the temperatures are currently set to rise from Sunday onwards, though…

some mid-weekers…

Another from my 6-pack of Ramonet Mâcon-Péronne – super – you can find a proper note on that one in the last few days entries…

2012 François Buisson, Meursault 1er Genevrières
A name that I don’t know too much about – a cousin of Michel Buisson – from Buisson-Charles.
Ooh – this starts very 2012 – a little tight in the aroma and a wine of drive and line – fresh, intense, but not a wine that melts over the palate. My first impression was Chablis-esque. The second half of the bottle was drunk on day too – by now the aromas had relaxed and opened some, likewise there was a little more fat on the palate – the wine was now recognisably Meursault, but still with a beautiful line – always with great texture. Pure, delicious and showing the vintage more than the vineyard, I think. Worth learning more about this domaine…
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Château Ravatys, Côte de Brouilly Réserve
Deep colour – but what a wine. Just a trace of the spiced fruit of 2015 – of-course plenty of ripeness of fruit too. In the mouth, this is a dream – really! 2015 Beaujolais really doesn’t get better than this – depth of flavour, fabulous texture – gorgeous flavour. A wine that, right now, has everything – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

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