Why Big Red Diary?

hong kong drinks it in…


“Hong Kong is now Burgundy’s fifth biggest market in terms of revenue and the 13th largest in terms of volume”

i.e. its not really the cheap stuff that they are buying!

Hong Kong is, it seems, doing a great job of mopping up top production from the Côte d’Or. It’s a relatively new market that has been less sensitive to price (probably because they largely never bought at 25% of the current pricing!) than more traditional markets. The open question, is whether they will still buy in less star-studded vintages(?) But for now, the producers and merchants make hay while the sun shines…

a little wine, weekend 8, 2017

2015 Château Thivin, Côte de Brouilly Clos Bertrand
A good, deep 2015 colour – though still transparent. Ooh… That’s a deep and ripe dark-red fruit – lots of freshness though. Oof! It’s really the same on the palate too; a super line of fresh, ripe, red-fruited flavour of width and dimension. Tons of complexity and simply brilliant, fresh, presentation. Personality personified – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Jean-Marc Pavelot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er La Dominode
This wine is still a very darkly coloured thing – just a little browner at the rim today. The nose really pulls you in with its mix of dark depth and freshness – accented with some sous bois complexity – simply great. In the mouth there is a ton of freshness and still plenty of structural tannin. This is still a young wine – at least 5 years from maturity I would think, and after the Thivin, clearly a lower order of sweetness. The flavour is complex and fun though – it’s just very young and less overtly delicious than the last wine – you will just have to keep patient!
Rebuy – Yes

enforcing the status quo?


I would say that here it is the ‘revitalising the region‘ comment that is up for interpretation – at least if we look at at past actions. Louis Latour, and I have to say Drouhin too, seem to approach the Beaujolais region purely as a source of ‘entry level wines.‘ Which (perhaps simplistically) could be viewed as trying to enforce the current status quo of the market. I would contrast that with the work of Bouchard Père at Château Poncié, or rather more successful, the work of Louis Jadot at Château des Jacques.

Beaujolais is only going to reap some reward for its action (where deserved) if those people who are deserving can monetise their efforts. Like Jadot, Lafarge-Vial and Thibault Liger-Belair are ‘externals’ who are successfully monetising good work, but for as long as major producers label a region only as the ‘entry level’ then that makes life difficult for all producers of a region, regardless of the quality that they can deliver.

Note: I was the very first writer to taste Louis Latour’s Pierre Dorée wine when bottled – last summer when visiting and profiling their Henry Fessy domaine/négoce/wines – and very good it is too. Here I only comment on my perception of the actual positioning of wine from Beaujolais by certain Burgundian ‘majors.’

week 3 of bo-jo-lays 2015 visits…

The last, lucky, producers who were unfortunate enough to host me to taste their 2015s!

There will be more visits/tastings to look at specific crus, but that’s enough for February’s report – now to finish January’s report – and that will be at least 5 days more work!

today, a beautful beaujolais day…

My first lizard of the year was seen last week, and today was my first butterfly and bee – all outside the home of Yvon Metras. Too much for February? Only time will tell…

Before midday there were some far-reaching views, but by lunchtime, all was a little cloudier. Still, as I ‘summit-ed’ the Col des Truges, there was a breath-taking view of Mont Blanc – and considering the tiny 35mm lens on my camera, I think the picture not too bad, but it really doesn’t compare with the real-life apparition!

Tomorrow is my last day of 3 weeks of visits in Beaujolais – 50 domaines – next week will be only typing – and even more typing!

maps and wine-sales…

A nice link to a Côte d’Or map from 1861, sent by a reader. It looks a lot like the colour map found in the original Lavalle book.

Plus two articles in the mailbox today:

sheep, felines & sausages…

It’s really just another day in Beaujolais!

a little wine, weekend 7, 2017

2001 Albert Bichot, Vosne-Romanée
This was actually the wine the ‘turned me on’ to Albert Bichot as a producer – bought in 2003 – this could also be my last bottle of those 2001s – but what a bottle to finish on! It has simply a beautifully aromatic, and is beautifully complex, gorgeously tasty wine – no villages from Engel, that I’ve had, has been particularly better. Actually this wine has lasted much better than some I can mention from 2001 – here’s looking at you, 2001 Mugneret-Gibourg! Actually that MG was last drunk over 3 years ago – maybe it’s filled out again(?) – I should check that out, I’m sure I’ve at least one more. But, back to this one: modest colour, everything else is on a level that you’d assume you were drinking a 15 year-old 1er cru, not a villages. Bravo! Do you still remember being able to buy Villages Vosne for €22?
Rebuy – I wish!

1976 Reserves des Dieux, Richebourg
The cork looked like it would be welded into the neck, but with only the slightest touch with the end of the corkscrew it started to slip down the neck – there would be no saving this one – prepare the funnel and decanter, and push the cork all the way in!
This is my second (and last) of these bottles – and both showed remarkably similarly despite about 4 years separating their consumption. This is only very modestly coloured, but with a real core of red colour – not brown. The nose is round, sweet, and still quite toasty – there’s a suggestion of brett, but it’s the tiniest accent and it never gets bigger. It’s an interesting if not completely gorgeous nose. The palate has volume and a weight of sweet flavour – more than the colour would suggest. There’s still a little oomph and some latent tannin in the finish, though clearly much of the original tannin now adheres to the inside of the bottle. Always interesting, never great, but very easy to finish!
Rebuy – No

2008 Prince Florent de Merode, Corton Clos du Roi
Assuming the worst for the previous bottle, this was already waiting in the wings…
Deeper colour than the Richebourg, but still not much more than medium colour. Bright red berry freshness, and a faint herb too – but not much depth of aroma. Fresh in attack – really much more acidity and less sweetness than the Richebourg. This takes two sips to accustomise, then all is well. Still the fresh palate, despite very nice depth of flavour, has just a little less/under-ripe finishing herb about it. A very drinkable wine, though not great, even in a Corton context.
Rebuy – No

week 2 of bo-jo-lays visits…

The poor, unlucky group of producers that had to put up with me this week 🙂

the view from côte du py this evening…

It was just a shame about the electricity cables!

well that was a quick change!

Last month in Chablis, my visits were largely in a window of -3°C to -12°C.

This week in Beaujolais, Monday/Tuesday p.m. temperatures were about 12°C, and I’ll admit to having used the aircon in the car at one, seemingly, stressful point as I struggled to find a domaine – often an address in no more than a ‘lieu-dit’ in Beaujolais! But this afternoon, we hit 17°C – that’s summer in the UK! Fortunately, at least today, I knew where I was going 🙂

A few pics from the last couple of days:

a little wine, weekend 6, 2017

A very modest selection last weekend, but in their own way, all delicious.

2009 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er En Créot
Red St.Aubin. I bought this in what I thought would be a very handy size – 500ml! Actually, it seems that they just empty faster – at least in this delicious case. Domestic management helped more than usual, as she thought it delicious too! Red fruited, and the freshness of St.Aubin dovetailing beautifully with the vintage – still a little richness of flavour but balanced until it was gone!
Rebuy – Yes

2010 Jean-Marc Bouley, Volnay 1er Les Carelles
What a big fruit bomb this currently is! The texture is great and there is much richness of fruit-forward flavour – it’s delicious – though today watch out for a sneaky vanilla aromatic which is at best distracting. Otherwise simply a great thing!
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Clos de la Chapelle des Bois, Fleurie
Just like last week, to prepare my for the week ahead – but here an early 2015. What a luscious and deeply flavoured wine – layered and absolutely delicious (again – 3 from 3 this weekend!) wine. 2015 is about separating out the hard to drink (just now) from the far too easy to drink – and this is in that latter category!
Rebuy – Yes

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