Why Big Red Diary?

herbicide – off-colour and off-limit…


You know I like to pepper these pages with pretty pictures taken along the road, but some of today’s pictures leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Actually, the fact that I find this more than a little disgusting, reflects well on the progress that has been made by vigneron/producers in the Côte d’Or. The palour of herbicide, today, stands obvious and sore against a backdrop of green grass, rock and perfectly ploughed furrows. It is exactly because it is becoming so rare in the Côte d’Or that it produces ever-more extreme emotion in me when I encounter it. You can double the shock when you know that the focus of my ire was 8-10, 100m rows, of Bâtard-Montrachet…

It is nothing more than laziness when you consider BM starts at about €120 per bottle.

I also saw another parcel below Puligny-Montrachet 1er La Garenne – I think Nosroyes, villages – treated in exactly the same way. I didn’t make a thorough study, but noting only two obvious parcels should be considered a thing of great progress. Who knows, maybe it was even the same producer…

It’s not fully about ‘who’ – that would be too easy to publish – rather that it becomes a more and more shameful thing to do – even villages Chablis at €12 a bottle is slowly turning against such practices. The Golden Slopes, of-course, have no tenable excuses. I also tweeted this, and almost regret properly positioning the parcel as opposite the Montrachet of Prieur (so those in the know would be extra sure) because lazy reading has caused people (so far) to assume I’m talking about Prieur, or the parcel of Montrachet next to Prieur – Thénard. Just for the record, neither have Bâtard – people should read properly before lynching…

There were also nice things today, including a very stupid but ultimately successful ascent of the road from Santenay-le-Haut/St.Jean up to the ‘Mountain of the 3 crosses’ and back down the other side into Maranges – in the car! 😉


Well, Tuesday may have started with frost and blue skies, but by late morning it was all gone. Similarly, Wednesday had a wintry, misty, darkness to it…

At lunchtime we heard of the atrocity in Paris – a lunch partner who likes a laugh became rather contemplative; “The thing is, for my generation, these people were our symbols of liberty in France…” he said…

not chablis…

Well, you didn’t think I’d turn up empty-handed did you?

2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Beaune 1er Montrevenots
When very young there was a gorgeous and piercing note of fruit that had irreproachable clarity. Sad to say that it has faded, but the wine overall is balanced and intense and for the vintage it’s rather friendly – though many show kinder faces now than when they were young. The fruit is dark red and has lots of energy and interest – lithe and flexible. It is still lovely.
Rebuy- Yes

2007 Camille-Giroud, Corton-Rognets
Oof – aromatically I would have guess Renardes – but the musky animale note slowly fades into a modest aromatic. In the mouth this is very good, with fruit of fine clarity and very good dimension. The structure is subsumed but the flavour not. Very tasty!
Rebuy- Yes

what a great start to 2015 – chablis…

I left home at first light – not that early at this time of year 😉 – and with a -5°C frost. It was wall-to-wall gorgeous views almost the whole way to Beaune – just some mist around Dôle.

A short stop to reboot my lack of festive season Patisserie visits and then onwards to Chablis for 2 weeks of tasting 2013s. Just two pm visits to get me in the right frame of tasting – oh, and to try and see if I can type my notes on an iPad – that should speed up the publishing process – if it works 😉

The view from Les Clos towards Chablis at 3pm:

year-end new articles…

Lots of news on Beaujolais and Jura to finish 2014, but I’ll try to keep my focus from Irancy to Saint Veran in 2015, starting on Monday with two weeks in Chablis…!

And a little champagne? That might be nice…

Oh, and do yourself a favour – if you’ve a cellar full of DRC – get a better door! I have noted some other ‘wits’ mentioning that the French Laundry’s $150 corkage fee should similarly be classed as robbery 😉 Anyway, imagine having to drink all that wine, just because the auction houses won’t touch it – some of them anyway 😉

Happy 2015…

It was a great day here in Switzerland – hopefully the snow will hang around a little longer…

My best wishes for 2015…

just a few year-end bottles:

2010 Rebourgeon-Mure Volnay 1er Santenots
Bright, with a pretty nose. Not a big burly Santenots, rather one of transparency, vibrancy and beautiful flavour – very yum!
Rebuy- Yes

1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay
Ouf! This smells gorgeous – just a little leaft development and a fine floral note. In the mouth too this is really exellent and has the density and complexity of a much more self-important label. The finishing structure is a hint strict – so it’s still young, but this was really excellent!
Rebuy- Yes

1998 Bruno Clair, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Dominode
Hmm – the nose is a bit bretty (it’s been in my cellar only 12 years but I can’t account for it’s first couple) so not really to my taste, but not enough to stop me taking a sip. Yum! Get past the nose and this is very tasty indeed – half of a very good wine.
Rebuy- No

2007 Camille Giroud, Gevery-Chambertin 1er Les Cazetiers
Good clarity on the nose if rather tight. The palate has very nice depth of flavour and quite good energy too. Not a wine you’d take (blind) to be an 07 – another very tasty wine.
Rebuy- Yes

1985 Clos Frantin, Richebourg
You have to take bottles like this with a pinch of salt; having bought at auction, you’ve never an idea if it will be super, average or terrible – this, though, was was much better than super! Round, complex, inviting nose. Big in the mouth but with all the sweetness and friendliness of 1985 as coating to serious complexity. A wow wine – really something…
Rebuy- No chance!

2002 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée 1er Petits Monts
A very junior version of the Richebourg but tasty enough. The last 1/3rd of the bottle was left in the fridge overnight – it was a shadow of itself on day two…
Rebuy- Maybe

1994 de Vogüé, Bonnes-Mares (Mag)
Quite a herbal nose – not really great, but the palate was excellent with a little fat and a lot of weight and flavour dimension. Really enjoyed!
Rebuy- Yes

2000 Bruno Clavelier, Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Brûlées
A round and pretty aromatic, though without great weight. The palate is also a middle-weight but with very fine transparency and a gorgously sweet acidity as the glue. Super!
Rebuy- Yes

2000 Thomas-Moillard, Bonnes-Mares
First evening this is the standard semi-brutal, gravelly, T-M nose – simply, not special. Big in the mouth but lacking any finesse. Next day (overnight in the fridge) and the nose is really a lot finer and very interesting – the palate likewise has intensity and (unbelievably!) clarity plus real GC dimension – this drinks superbly on day 2. Very yum!
Rebuy- Yes

2011 Nicolas Rossignol, Volnay 1er Santenots
Here is a lovely nose with a nice floral component. The mouth is middle-weight tastiness. Balanced though with no obvious structure. Tasty yet complex. An easier drink than Santenots should be at this age, but that’s the vintage. Yum!
Rebuy- Yes

‘museum-ification of wine’

“Have ultrahigh prices distorted our understanding and enjoyment of wine?”

Well, have they?

I think so. I didn’t used to think and then re-think whether to open a bottle from, for instance, DRC 10-15 years ago. Today it is hard, because it’s not just great wine, it’s a new garage door or a fancy new refrigerator – or in some cases, even a new kitchen.

Good writing, and more importantly, thought-provoking writing, from Matt Kramer – he still has it



A funny kind of day – we had an interested furry audience for the tasting this afternoon!

interesting stuff…


A well-written and thought-provoking piece. There are many viewpoints of-course, and it is really no different a complaint to that of people lamenting the high-price purchases of ‘outsiders’ in Burgundy i.e. LMVH, Château Latour and/or whoever is eventually going to stump up the cash for Pousse d’Or (I don’t see anyone stumping up the cash for Rebourseau!).

The argument cuts in all directions; Guillaume d’Angerville himself, hardly happy about a ‘negociant from Nuits’ having bought a sizable chunk of villages Volnay, when he would have preferred the vines to have stayed in ‘Volnay hands.’

It’s sometimes described as progress – it’s always transient – but change is inevitable…

cold but no chill…

After the virtually non-existent winter of 2013-2014, the winemakers are getting impatient for the chill of winter – especially those hoping to ski at Christmas 😉

There’s no chill yet, temperatures hardly dropping below 5°C overnight – still, that’s close to perfect if you don’t want to melt while jogging!

offer of the day – Leflaive 2013…

DOMAINE LEFLAIVE 2013 – Puligny-Montrachet (En Primeur)
Just for reflection, you will see the same offer prices of their 2012s in the brackets. Oh, and can anyone tell me if Montrachet was really included for the first time? I remember seeing a price but was temporarily blinded!

Bourgogne 2012 75cl 35.00 Swiss Francs (35.00)
Puligny-Montrachet 2012 75cl 65.00 (65.00)

Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 75cl 88.00 (85.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 150cl 186.00
Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 300cl 412.00
Meursault Sous Le Dos d’Âne 75cl 99.00 (96.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 75cl 148.00 (139.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 75cl 159.00 (149.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 75cl 175.00 (175.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 150cl 360.00 (355.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 300cl 760.00

Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 319.00 (289.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 355.00 (310.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet 75cl 450.00 (395.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet 75cl 150cl 910.00

Montrachet 75cl 4,850

I guess that last bottle will be 3x the price of DRC’s label then – at least the 1st tier DRC pricing – here’s mud in your eye 😉

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