Why Big Red Diary?

week 1 of bo-jo-lays visits…

A few faces from my first week of February visits in Beaujolais – and there are two more weeks to come.

I’m sure you noted how quiet it was here last week – the internet in my Beaujolais hotel is basically non-existent – pff! Not much I can do about that, and it won’t be any better in the two weeks to come, but occasional tweets via my phone still seem to escape the hills of Beaujolais…

last week’s wines…

A nice mix of bottles, drunk the week before I went to Beaujolais:

2013 Clothilde Davenne, Chablis Bougros
What a lovely, lovely wine. None of the overt botrytis apricot and fast development of a lot of Chablis in 2013 – yet – this was open and frankly delicious. Good scale and lots of sweet freshness. Super-easy to appreciate – which is anyway the vintage.
Rebuy – Yes

2015 des Malandes, Chablis 1er Vau de Vey
Ooh… That’s nice! There is a just a little richness of texture – and that’s exactly what the doctor ordered, because – this has such a brilliant line of pure minerality – there are accents of citrus, but this is a finely textured, linear, mineral wine with just enough ‘extra’ to avoid any suggestion of austerity. Excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

2011 Nicolas Rossignol, Volnay 1er Caillerets
Actually quite a big nose; round, fruited – not the clarity of a great year – but inviting, all the same. Broad, lovely texture and a good weight of flavour. tasty wine!
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Jean Raphet, Clos de Bèze
A lovely, complex nose to start – some early notes of maturity – tough eventually they hover very close to a hint of brett – never enough to put me off though 😉 In the mouth this is simply excellent – maybe it could have a little more weight, but this is beautiful over the palate, changing, complex flavour. Really super.
Rebuy – Yes

2000 Fougeray de Beauclair, Fixin Clos Marion
My last bottle from a case of 12; if I remember correctly, one was corked, the rest have all been lovely. This, the last, was really the best. In terms of ultimate deliciousness, it was even better than the Raphet, though less complex and mid-palate weight. Just a great bottle. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

And just to get me started for a week in Beaujolais…

2014 Clos de la Chapelle des Bois, Fleurie
Really a different aromatic register. full, open bright and floral red fruit. The texture is good, the concentration is good – everybody at the table said ‘yum!’ – You can’t ask for more for €10!
Rebuy – Yes

changes at domaine van berg

DSC06634One of the most iconoclastic of producers – Domaine Van Berg – in Meursault is about to undergo a sea-change.They are in discussions with potential successors, but, for the moment, they have no new names to announce…

“For 15 years I have had the singular purpose of offering a quality product without concession. To maintain this high level of quality has demanded unceasing attention as well as, at times, very physical work. I have to face the fact that, at my age, continuing this exacting work is no longer possible for me, and it would be out of the question for me to offer a lower level wine than what I have, up to this point, produced. Thus, I decided at the beginning of 2016 to reduce my land properties and to let go of two small plots of land situated in the municipality of Puligny-Montrachet; the vineyards where the cuvées of “Les Bergers” and “La Combe” are grown.

On April 27, a late frost came at the most delicate moment of the vegetative cycle of the vine, just as the buds emerged, and this annihilated thousands of hectares of vineyards in Burgundy.

Most of the wine growers of our area have a very small harvest this year, and this is also the case for other areas of France and Europe. For our Domain, the loss has been 90% and the 2017 harvest is already compromised because of the damage done to the vine. Thus, I cannot hope for a harvest before 2018, which clearly means there will be no wine to offer before 2019 or 2020.

At that time I will be more than 70 years old.

Because of this fact I have decided to stop my work and look for someone younger who could continue to produce “Le vin le plus simplement” with the same philosophy as ours.

It pulls at the heartstrings that the moment will soon come to thank you for having encouraged us throughout these years, with your enthusiasm, with the trust you have shown us, and – more than anything – with all of the wonderful moments of sharing and emotion.

A beautiful adventure will shortly ends but life continues…and moving closer to our children and grandchildren, who do not live in France, seems to us the most cheerful proposition.

Bernard and Judith “

offer of the day – thibault liger-belair 2015s

DOMAINE Thibault Liger-Belair 2015 EP/Pre-Arrivals

NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES La Charmotte 75cl 49.50* (47.50) (Swiss Francs)
VOSNE-ROMANEE Aux Réas 75cl 69.50 (66.00)
NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES Les Saint-Georges 75cl 109.00 (85.00)
CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 158.00 (109.00)
RICHEBOURG 75cl 395.00 (259.00)

The last EP offer I could find with the same merchant/producer combination was quite some time ago – the 2007 vintage – which I still include for reference above (in brackets), as it puts in quite stark terms the extra advancement of the more sought-after crus vs the ‘junior’ wines. Even for such a relatively sought-after producer, the market is still quite a polarised one.

A shame that this merchant doesn’t list the Beaujolais wine of TLB…

*As always, these wines are without the 8% Swiss purchase tax, but include the cost of delivery…

snow – a ‘burns’ weekend in graubunden…

A bad Scottish accent was de-rigeur, fortunately a kilt, not!
It was either this, or Mercurey… 🙂

to plough or to mulch…

Another interesting lactuduvin article – here on Pousse d’Or and the art of mulching.

Or, if you prefer, a google translation.


A sleeping giant awakens!

I sent Ray Walker my article for his ‘right of response’ a few hours before I publicly linked it by publishing my September 2016 Report:
Today a response, which I offer for transparency:


On 26 January 2017 at 09:23, Ray Walker wrote:

you will have my response shortly. For now, feel free to use the blog post that I made as a first instalment.
[my edit] link [end of my edit]
In short, your facts are not straight.


On 26 January 2017 at 09:46, Ray Walker wrote:

And Bill
I hope you have a great lawyer.


Of-course, Ray’s response is only in the spirit of “doing things in the right way

a little wine, weekend 3, 2017

Well, I’ve seen less lucky people with 2005/2007 wines, but this 1996 was simply as perfect a wine as anyone could wish for – sublime…

2008 Agrapart, Mineral
This is a beautiful wine – I’m not a big fan of oxidised styles, or overly malic wines – this is more in the vein of vintage Pol Rogers – perfect balance, fine complexity, and simply delicious flavour. Despite what was waiting, I felt no rush to depart for the next wine while any was left from this one !

1996 Roulot, Meursault Les Luchets
Beautiful mature notes rise from the glass – freshness, depth and just a wonderful invitation to drink. Also beautiful across the palate – plenty of maturity, white chocolate and lanolin mid-palate complexity, yet it is the beautiful line of silken freshness that makes this wine utterly compelling – even another level after the Agrapart – but they have one thing in common; there will be no moving onto the next bottle before this one is finished 🙂
Rebuy – No Chance

this week’s chablis crew…

This week’s unlucky Chablis recipients of Burgundy-Report – not all smelled the same!

no smoke-trails in the vines!

A large part of France has an air pollution problem at the moment; whilst the cold weather is greatly appreciated in the vines, the first real winter for 4 years, the stable high pressure over France means that the air pollution simply doesn’t dissipate.

There is a new ‘prefectural decree‘ which now prohibits vineyard workers, among others, from burning “green waste in the open air” – so no more smoking wheelbarrows in the vines – a source of much comfort for people working in the sub-zero temperatures.

Apparently, this decree is valid as long as the concentration of particles in the air remains above a certain level. The growers have never had such a mandate before! You are also not allowed to throw another log on your fire in the house too as this is not classed as an ‘indispensable source of heating!

For the same reason, there is a mandatory 20km per hour speed reduction on the French Autoroute – I drove 355km back to my home in Switzerland yesterday evening – the trucks and cars were ignoring this, but only by a margin of 99.9%…

the new, older, generation…


Of-course none of these will be new to regular readers, but this is a nice piece, with some lovely portraits by Jon Wyand. Though for a ‘new generation’ this group is becoming ‘rather mature!’ – I profiled most in these pages more than a dozen years ago 🙂

And as a digestif, why not a little Chablis from Bruce?

offer of the day – clos des lambrays – 2014 vs 2015

Both arrived together in the inbox today – interestingly Allen Meadows is 94 points on the 2014, and ‘only’ 92-95 on the 2015. You could end up paying more for the one with the lowest points 🙂

2014 Clos des Lambrays
75cl 159.00 (Swiss francs)
150cl 323.00

2015 Clos des Lambrays
75cl 199.00
150cl 403.00
300cl 856.00

8% Purchase tax to be added, but these are delivered prices…

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