Why Big Red Diary?

relocation, muscle ache and 99 volnay (as a starting point…)


It was a quiet week in this Diary – eh?

Not so for me, in general, the above was my transport for part of the week. Full-power house-moving this week, and the refrigerated truck was just for my wine relocation. Although all my wine would have (just about!) fit into the truck, apparently I was not allowed to fill it with more than 1.5 tonnes – so I had to split the journeys. One trip to Bern and another slightly bigger parcel for a trip the Beaune – and fortunately no complications by customs/douane/zoll along the way – phew!

Did I say phew? Maybe phew what a scorcher – and getting warmer every day. I did note one design fault on my truck – yes climate control for the load, but no air-conditioning in the cab – oh-well only 3+ hours to Beaune with a coffee stop!!!

I can honestly say that I had a few aches afterwards – one case at a time (I’m something of a weakling) up the stairs from the cellar, up the steps into the truck, then back down the stairs for the next. Then reversed for the offload – fortunately in Beaune, the ‘reception’ was a little more professional – two palets piled impressively high, wrapped in saran and then transported to the cellar by forklift followed by lift – I gave thanks…

Friday was about catching up with a the wall of email, and today, Saturday is a very relaxing day – almost without muscle pain! Tonight the there is there is the dinner of the ‘Elegance de Volnay‘ the weather is warm with a medium breeze, but fortunately, unlike last year, all is calm…

I’ve two 99s lined-up to take to the dinner, I’ve just opened them and they seem fine; Potel’s 99 Clos des Chênes and d’Angerville’s Clos des Ducs. I’m anticipating ‘YUM!’



Coming soon to a monopole vineyard near you (me!)….

你好 – こんにちは – bonjour…


Over 10 years ago, I had multiple language options as standard on these pages – but after a few alleged updates, they didn’t really work well. But after a long pause, there’s (potentially!) a more elegant solution, so…

Okay, it may be that the bottom of the page isn’t the first place that you’d look – I understand – but everywhere else looked just too scruffy to place the new ‘choose your language’ option. I’m happy to add other languages – as requested by you – but didn’t add German (so-far) as I find the translations pretty terrible. French looks not too bad to me, though don’t even bother asking me what I think of the accuracy of the (simplified) Chinese and Japanese translations 😉

The main problem with translation ‘engines’ for a wine site such as this, is that they also try to translate the vineyrad/wine/producer names – that will always be a bit of a mess, but:

这就是生活 / それが人生です / c’est la vie!

producer map of meursault-perrières…


I’m really happy to have my hands on a copy of this.

Two weeks ago (maybe 3…), Laurent Gotti made a presentation in Beaune of some of the producers’ wines and discussed a little of the complex terroirs of Meursault Perrières – illustrated with this new map. The syndicate of Meursault producers were very happy to help Laurent produce the map, as the only other maps of this style are for much lowlier wines; Montrachet and the Clos de Vougeot!

If you want a copy of the map, it will cost you €19.90 from @laurentgotti – it’s worth it. Now a trip to the picture-framers…

an evening in the clos vougeot with yo-yo ma?


That sounds good to me.

Here you can find the programme of ‘Musique et Vin’ at the Clos de Vougeot, starting with Yo-Yo next Sunday:


lundi – le grand deluge!

 Monday’s view down Chablis Les Clos

Well if Saturday was a perfect day, Sunday was fine until the evening, when the rain began. From then-on, it just got heavier and heavier – torrential was the only apt word for Monday morning – so yesterday I headed with my touring group for Chablis.

It was still raining in Chablis, but on a much more modest scale – in-line with a very modest, practically disappointing tasting at Le Chablisienne. Still, lunch and the service at Au fils du zinc was excellent, and with tear-inducing prices for those without private allocations of Dauvissat and Raveneau – here, their grand crus cost only €60 in the restaurant…!

A brilliant tasting of brilliant wines followed under the tutelage of Christian Moreau before a short window of rain-free wandering through Les Clos.

Despite the weather – a good day!

Lots of standing water in the lower vines of Beaune at the end of the day – and as a side note, this rain was perfectly timed, because the flowering was 99% finished. It would have been a different story if we’d had rain like this one week earlier…

saturday – such a perfect day in the vines…

Traveling with a family – on a Burgundy Report wine tour. We were so lucky with the weather…

the ‘not just’ la romanée tasting last friday…


Something of an honour; 72 wines from the domaine of Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, commemorating 200 years since the family established their presence in Burgundy. There was also a brilliant music concert in the evening (including a 302 year-old Stradivarius) followed by dinner, prepared by Pascal Barbot and his team from the 3-star restaurant in Paris, l’Astrance.

My tasting notes will be in my June report for subscribers, but a small flavour of the day can be seen in the photos below:

montrachet, clos des mouches

A couple of afternoon appointments afforded these views today – fully 33°C too!

last saturday’s blind burgundy extravaganza!

I get together with a couple of friends once every 6 months or-so, and last weekend we drank (blind) a lovely selection of wines – a modest 12 bottles with good food and good company!


The first wine was mine. The Jadot was a 2010 but already with oxidised notes – we cut it some slack, and it got better and better in the glass. Clearly still faulty (that’s 2 in a row now!) but as the ox fades, just a wonderful line of mouth-watering minerality – but certainly Rebuy – No!
The second was super; tense and intense though I didn’t find any pointers to Meursault. Really as good a 99 as you’re likely to drink! Rebuy – Yes
The Charlemagne was also mine, a 2007 and a real beauty of line and length with super-fine acidity. I loved it. Rebuy – Yes
Lastly the Vincent Dancer Chevalier! It was big, textured and clearly from a warm vintage, yet it had a really good balance and super length. I don’t remember what my guess was, but I thought it really super. Another Rebuy – Yes

My favourite of the flight: The Chandon 2007 Charlemagne!


The Roumier was the 2008, and for some reason had been decanted – I don’t know why. Anyway, it was transparent with a beautiful line of flavour. I easily guessed that it was from 2008, but I had the wrong côte – I guessed Volnay Caillerets. A beauty! Rebuy – Yes
The second wine was not my high-point in guessing! The fruit was big, warm but round and complex – like Clos St.Denis. I thought the acidity not bad either, so I guessed CSD 2010. Ouf! Beaune 2009! What a super wine! Rebuy – Yes
Okay, I couldn’t get the third wine wrong – it was mine! This Clos Ursules was the 1993 and the nose didn’t start as good as the Roumier but got better over time – but the palate was excellent in the best ’93 tradition; muscled yet direct and transparent with super acidity, energy and clarity. Wow wine.
Rebuy – Yes

My favourite of the flight: The Jadot 1993 Ursules!


Two wines here, purely by chance, both 90’s Echézeaux. The first I guessed to be a 98 wine of Vosne. The Gerard Mugneret Echézeaux turned out to be the 1995 and what a beautiful wine at that, complex Vosne aromatics and a tannin less overt than many from the vintage – simply a super wine. Rebuy – Yes
The Grivot was my wine. Entertaining aromatics, and plenty of weight and complexity – a much younger wine than the 95 was my impression. In isolation this would be very enjoyable, but really put into the shade by the Mugneret. Rebuy – Yes

My wine of the flight was very easily the Gerard Mugneret 1995 Echézeaux!


Well, what an interesting collection for the last three! The first was Ghislaine Barthod’s 1998 Chambolle 1er Charmes. A good wine both aromatically and from a flavour perspective – quite big and round, though the tannins not yet fully rounded. I liked it a lot. Rebuy – Yes
The first real, and quite major disappointment was the 96 Engel GE, my wine. It’s simply not that great – since I bought them about 2000 I kept telling myself that time will heal – well, so-far not. I’d expect more from a 96 Vosne villages. Rebuy – No
Our last wine was also something of a disappointment. For my palate this was broad and round, a little cushioned and silky, but sweet, dark oak notes clouded any sense of place or vintage for me – I really had no pointer. Simply a little soupy pinot. Shame. Rebuy – No

And my wine of the flight? Well, it didn’t really have any competition did it(?) The Barthod 1998 Chambolle Charmes!

nets! – a walk in volnay…


Walking around the southern side of Volnay on Wednesday, including high on the hill where the big plot of Ez Blanches has been replanted. I also spotted one of the trial patches of hail netting – 9 rows to be precise. Let’s hope that they don’t have the opportunity to be tested…

smash and grabs in chablis…

DSC05988Image: Julien Brocard, 29th January 2015.

The domaine of Jean-Marc Brocard was, last weekend, targeted by thieves, and not for the first time in recent days. In a ram-raid smash and grab (the domaine and its shop is remote from its home village of Préhy, about 7-8 minutes drive from Chablis town) about 600 bottles were stolen, and of-course only the best cuvées were stolen from their retail shop. The damage caused by the ram-raid is nearly comparable to the cost of the wine – so feel free to raise an eyebrow if you see some cheap JM Brocard in the next days; apparently the bottles are all numbered…

The weekend’s second smash and grab was much more corporate in nature: Late on Friday, Maison Albert Bichot put out a press-release before switching off the lights for the weekend. The have acquired the 33 hectare domaine of Pascal Bouchard in Chablis, or maybe it’s the maison part(?) – the press release is a little opaque in that matter. On Thursday I’ll get the infos from the horse’s mouth – but clearly that makes an interesting second brand from Bichot in Chablis and a nice big new cuverie on the otskirts of the town too…

More info when I have it!

It’s complicated, but Bichot have bought the winery where they will vinify all their purchased grapes – an equivalent volume to that produced by their Domaine Long-Depaquit – but it will only be half full to start with. The 40 hectares owned by the Bouchard family (2 domaines of 33 and 7 hectares) remain with the family but will still be vinified by Bichot for the first couple of years. As the Bouchard brothers establish new production facilities, the vines will revert back to them over a handful of years…
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