Why Big Red Diary?

week 2 of 3 in the beaujolais

Above the ‘lucky’ winemakers I visited on week 2 of my oddessy in Beaujolais – okay not so much of an oddessy – due to a couple of hitches I won’t quite reach a total of 50 domaines – but almost. I’m back for just two days of visits next week to sign-off on this month’s Beaujolais visits.

A week of practically perfect weather – frost in the night but finishing the week with 16°C in the afternoons – the butterfies are already on the wing – the forecast is for consistent weather for at least the next 10 days. Vigneron(ne)s are loving it – they can get into the vines and plough or prune, but the overnight frosts, despite the warmth of the afternoons, means that the vines are not yet stirring or currently weeping when pruned – the melting of the frost and then the re-freezing also helps to break-up and aerate the ground – particularly where there’s appreciable clay.

Anyway a few views from the end of this week, plus a quick visit to the foot of the Eiger, yesterday:

2017 Chablis – report now online…

[For Subscribers]

62 domaines, over 50 2017 Petit Chablis – blind, and my vintage summary and highlights. Including a bunch of new names. 625 wines, even including some (shock) already bottled from from 2018!

That’s 2,425 wines in the vintage reports to-date. Plus notes from each producer on their 2017 and 2018 campaigns. As always, those extra-special wines are highlighted. You know it makes sense:

A Burgundy Report EXTRA! subscription costs 85 Swiss Francs per year.


Well, that was my day…

bj so far this eventful week

Back to Beaujolais this week – a modest 21 domaine visits.

Of-course it started in a less than optimal fashion; Storms, high winds and snow were forecast for Sunday evening and early morning on Monday – so it seemed better to head to Beaune on Sunday evening, and onwards to St.Amour on Monday. The forecast was, indeed, correct and much snow arrived chez-moi, en Suisse, overnight Sunday-Monday.

So I had a good plan, but what wasn’t planned was running over an object on the Autoroute that within 200 metres had sucked the air out of one of my tyres – oups! There followed 3 hours of slow-paced driving to Beaune between 20-23h00 on what the French would call a ‘galette’ – my space-saving spare wheel. Early on Monday my usual tyre-garage in Beaune said ‘not repairable, we can order new but they won’t be here until Thursday’ – to which I said a polite ‘no’ – mainly for the pain of having to return to Beaune from Beaujolais midweek – so decided to find another ‘tyre-merchant’ in Mâcon-Beaujolais. Of-course that meant another slow drive – this time to Beaujolais!

Cutting a long story, short. The next garage I stopped at turned out to be Subaru enthusiasts and ‘of-course’ could fix the tyre, and for a mere €25 too! The extra hour of slow driving saved me €300!

Anyway – still some cold mornings this week, but getting warmer every day – ‘teens’ degrees are forecast for Beaujolais on Friday/the weekend – today started misty, but the last half of the afternoon had a lovely light:

some weekend bottles, week 06 2019

First-up the 2017 Seguinot-Bordet, Chablis 1er Fourchaume. Drive, fresh, pure – a sleek line of flavour that whisks you into a delicious, and saline-inflected, mineral finish. At it’s best cold – and at its best, it doesn’t last long! – An easy Rebuy – Yes!

Second, another white, and one that underlines why I like this producer so much: 2014 Nicolas Maillet, Mâcon-Verzé – a little fuller, riper, more yellow citrus nose. Riper and fuller flavoured too – but with great drive and energy from its acidity. Oh yum – my slight preference from these two – and another easy Rebuy – Yes!

Lastly the 2016 Piguet-Chouet, Auxey-Duresses Les Heptures Cuvée Mathis – how’s that for an off-putting mouthful of a name(?) A wine that on one hand is ripe, round, concentrated, nicely textured and with good balancing freshness – and on the other hand is choc full of vanilla oak – as such, not for me! More white Vicar?
Rebuy – No

the auction market according to…

Well, according to Sotheby’s:

Here are our highlights from 2018, a record breaking year:

– Annual wine and spirits sales exceed $100 million for first time

– Sotheby’s has achieved over $1.1 billion in wine auction sales worldwide since 1995

– Auction sales surged over 50%

– #1 worldwide in live Auction sales, and #1 overall in Asia

– World’s most expensive bottle of wine sold at $558,000

– Highest price for any spirit in the Americas at $843,200

– Burgundy represented 42% of sales

– Asian buyers represented 63% of sales

– #1 Wine producer is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at $24 million / 21% of sales

– Retail has highest level of sales ever, in both Asia and New York

– Highest value single retail transaction at US$1.5 Million

It’s probably good that I’m enjoying some Beaujolais this week, if DRC is now 24 million a bottle (give it time!)….

week 1 of 3 in the beaujolais

The ‘lucky’ vignerons I visited last week, including ‘Fedora’ – le chien de Lapierre!

I write this whilst trying to work out where the odd sock has disappeared too – it’s already time to pack my bag for week 2 in Beaujolais!

Week 1 was such a change from the weather at home and most of the three weeks in Chablis too – they have been characterised by rain, mist, snow, and often sub-zero temperatures. There was a little of the latter in Beaujolais too, just one day of rain, but plenty of clear skies. Some fast jogging times for my Strava too – I’m much slower back home this weekend, it’s poor under foot – icy, from not completely melted snow and plenty of standing water – ho-hum!

And don’t forget – next weekend my Chablis 2017 report is online – 64 separate articles!

Anyway a few views from this week:

offer of the day – william fevre 2017

Hot from my inbox this morning from my usual Swiss importer source. The prices of the 2016s and 2015s are in brackets for you to compare. My full report on the 2017s will be online in 10 days, but for any subscriber desperate for info on these, feel free to send me a note:

CHABLIS Village 75cl 22.00 (22.00, 19.00) Swiss Francs*
CHABLIS Montée de Tonnerre 75cl 48.00 (45.00, 42.00)
CHABLIS Vaulorent 75cl 54.00 (—)
CHABLIS Preuses 75cl 78.00 (75.00, 65.00)
CHABLIS Bougros Côtes de Bouquerots 75cl 79.50 (79.00, 65.00)
CHABLIS Les Clos 75cl 89.00 (89.00, 75.00)

No surprise that there has been no relaxation of most prices – only the volumes of villages Chablis recovered, some, in 2017. For the others the frost was often worse than in 2016…
*The prices are ‘delivered’ but will attract another 8% Swiss purchase tax.

a little màv in the morning…

Lovely light in Beaujolais this morning – but becoming cloudier in the pm. Still, the weather looks nice for the next two days. Following just a few pics from today – all around Moulin à Vent, except where noted elsewhere – usually Fleurie in that case…

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