Why Big Red Diary?

a little morning puligny?

After Le Montrachet’s breakfast, of-course!

a little walk around ladoix today

Well, nobody else was doing it!

It’s been a pretty rainy week – there was a little this morning too, but mostly just cloud after about 10h00. Indeed we’ve had more than 60mm in the last week, which is such a contrast to basically nothing in July! It’s been hard for the young vines – you can see some with yellowing leaves, but nothing (yet!) like the vines stripped of leaves that we saw in 2003 when in certain vineyards the roots couldn’t go deep enough to slake their thirst – Beaune Clos du Roi springs readily to mind.

May 2015 started cool and wet and ended up almost 30°C. June had 2-3 days of heavy rain, July, depending on where you were in the Côtes had 1mm to 10mm – but only on the one day. The vineyards largely looked in super condition before this August rain, despite the dry weather, but the recent rain has eased vigneron’s concerns considerably.

As you can see (below) veraison is not yet finished in this part of the Côte de Beaune – we have potential alcohols of about 8-9% at the moment. So-far in August, despite the odd spike approaching 40°C it’s been relatively cool versus July. As veraison is not yet, or only just, finished and the weather is now more changeable, it’s still much too early to conclude anything meaningful on the character of the wines that will come – but in about 3 weeks we’ll be harvesting and all will become clearer. So-far, and as you can see, the berry size is rather small – like 2010 or less – and the sanitary conditions look very clean indeed. Let’s see how the weather progresses and whether it will stay this way, or if the grapes will get the chance to suck up a little water…

laurent ponsot’s new ‘shop’ in beaune…


I thought this might be of interest to anyone in Beaune/Burgundy/France – it’s (to my knowledge) Laurent Ponsot’s’ first official ‘outlet.’

Attached to the Hotel de Beaune and the Bistro de l’Hôtel is a wine-shop – largely unremarkable in its first 18 months or-so – save for its artwork! They have now upped their game. A range of 1er and GC wines are now available from Laurent Ponsot – and he sets the prices, not the shop. They are not cheap, but in the context of older wines, ex-cellars, there’s no obvious gouging here, and you can even buy his Clos St.Denis TVV on its own – there are cases of different vintages! I saw 1ers from 1997 and 1998 that were about €70. Grand Crus from a range of vintages were €250-350(+) plus some in magnum format too.

This wine shop is also now the only place in Beaune where you can buy the wines from Olivier Bernstein – another recent ‘acquisition’ – they are très expensive, but having recently visited Olivier (May Report), I can almost see the value in Bernstein’s Chambolle 1er 2012 for €120…

The wines of Charles van Canneyt are available too – yet another new offering, and one that’s definitely on my list of producers to visit.

So an impressive selection – some are ridiculously priced like those below (one tenth would still be too much outside of a restaurant), but there are plenty of 1990/1993 wines from the likes of de Montille and d’Angerville that seem relative bargains, for touristy Beaune, at ~€300…

myth-busting pinot noir?


Not exactly so – it’s not just passtoutgrains – or Côteaux Bourguignone that can contain gamay or others. There is a tolerated amount of non-pinot in very many vineyards, even from very covetable labels. It’s really not that uncommon for red wines also to contain grapes of pinot blanc, pinot gris or chardonnay – but practically the percentage is very small, probably less than 1%.

interesting: mugnier and musigny…

Now isn’t this interesting.
  Pic stolen from a Facebook post…

I have to say that I never really thought of Freddy Mugnier and Château Latour as bed-fellows, though I do understand the ‘stance’ and knowing FM, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the money. But my question is, ‘what does several years mean?’ Even through a ‘cell phone’ baby Musigny is indisputably more fabulous than 99.9% of all other similar age burgundies. Clearly it is a very different experience to drinking a wine at 20-25(+) years-old, but relevant and something that it would be a shame to miss – all in my opinion of-course.

I actually believe that most of the ‘wasted’ bottles are those drunk between 3 and 10 years-old, depending on the vintage, when they are adolescent, angular or tight. So I really hope that Frederic doesn’t mean seven when he writes several.

An additional ‘issue’ suggests itself; if the source of ‘new’ Musigny dries up for ‘several years’ won’t people be pushed to drink even more adolescent wine?

noteworthy in the last days…

  • Not the Hosemaster’s finest hour, but Riedel’s action was a ‘PR disaster’ – as a result, I’ll happily revert to Zaltos!

  • Some semblance of wine chemistry…
  • A longer watch, but interesting nonetheless…

bourgogne criots!


No, that’s not a new appellation, rather my choice of drinks the last days!

This first wine drank so well, I may forced into pulling out my last bottles of the 93 and the 90!
1995 Maison Leroy, Bourgogne
Medium colour, a little salmon rather than brown. The smell has a little cigar and a faintly stewed red fruit – but fresh, sleek and inviting it is. In the mouth there’s not that much width, but the flavour is fine, pure and leaves a texture of silk on the tongue. This drinks better and better as the time passes. Almost an ageless wine, which probably won’t ever be better than this, but I don’t expect it to slide either. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

I simply adored this when first tasted – so much so that I had to buy a couple of bottles. The first bottle was corked (but replaced) the second bottle was disappointingly tight aged about 2. This bottle, however, shows what I saw from barrel. It would only get better if we could trust it not to oxidise!
2006 Nicolas Potel, Criots Bâtard-Montrachet
The colour seems a little golden on pouring, but the cork smells fine, and with 5 minutes in the glass, it’s more of a deep yellow than gold. The nose starts a little tight, but slowly fills-out with perfume and a slowly growing struck match note. In the mouth, this is big, silkily textured and delivers a heft of perfumed flavour. The struck match of the nose can be seen in the finishing flavours too. There are really layers of flavour here and they cling to your tongue like glue – probably because this wine is moderately acid-lite. Yet it is beguiling and über-drinkable. In fact this bottle lasted no more than a couple of hours – it was devoured with joy!
Rebuy – Yes

les weekenders…


2010 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
From the first sniff – yum! Toasted bread and a nicely direct, if slightly cushioned. This is a little cushioned in the mouth too, with a lovely driving citrus fruit but the fresh, stony flavour widens in the mouth. A big fresh and intense mid-palate brings joy – there’s not much more I could wish for. Lovely…
Rebuy – Yes

2006 Antonin Guyon, Pernand-Vergelesses
What a lovely wine. Fresh, with pretty red fruit – no lack of depth and a fine sucrosity. This drank very well, and quite quickly too!
Rebuy – Yes

2002 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vigne
A deeper, fuller nose, but one that really need to unwind before it challenged the more inviting Pernand. In the mouth too, this has more evident concentration and seems a hint more plush. With time in the glass this unwinds, becoming ever-more tasty and complex. A wine that demands more of your attention than the previous wine – which you will prefer probably has more to do with context. Very good!
Rebuy – Yes

‘anthology’ of the last days…

A shocking tasting by Allen Meadows:

“1996 white burgundy, and in particular Ramonet though Niellon and Sauzet contributed, continues to disappoint as 8 of 9 bottles were premoxed and another one (1976 Leflaive “Clavoillon”) was corked as was one of the reds (1989 Roty Griotte). It was one of the bigger debacles that I have seen in a while.”

Like a cross between Gevrey-Chambertin and Red Bull?

pascal chevigny’s 2002 vosne…


These were very will priced, about €20 or less, way back when. Let’s say in 2004/2005…

2002 Pascal Chevigny, Vosne-Romanée
Opened too cold – from the fridge – but it will warm in my glass. The nose starts very closed, but ever-so slowly it opens with a modest but charming vosne-style nose – all is in order. In the mouth there’s a slight lack of acid balance whilst cold, but as the wine warms it expands more over the palate and seems to have much finer poise. The flavour is lovely, a nice ingraining sucrosity to the fruit and lively but lovely balance. This is absolutely perfect right now, indeed excellent, so much so that I’m now tempted to attack my remaining single bottle!
Rebuy – Yes

thomas-moillard’s 96 corton clos du roi


1996 Thomas-Moillard, Corton Clos du Roi
Deeply coloured. Ooh – diving into the aromas from the high-board. A faint graphite and deep, dark half plum/damson fruit that’s partly sweet-baked. Direct line of fresh flavour – much as I remember – but today there’s more padding and more weight of buffering flavour than 5+ years ago. The nose is becoming more rounded and complex. If you wish to hold this wine in your mouth, and despite the silk texture, the acid-intensity will slowly begin to assail your tongue – but why would you? Sharp wine, but becoming less dangerous with time. I think this still has plenty of upside, but I really enjoyed this over two nights…
Rebuy – Yes

2 (assorted) echézeaux…

1998 François Lamarche, Echézeaux
A fresh, intense nose with a very good fruit flavour but it quickly becomes ever-more herbal – borderline unpleasant. Plenty of modest rasp from the tannin – but the grain is clearly fading. A bit of bitter herb in the finish too – eventually a noticeable TCA flavour in the finish – hmm, a shame, corked.
Rebuy – who knows…

2001 Bouchard Père et Fils, Echézeaux
A deep, seemingly silky nose, yet still rather tight – slowly a very nice fruit note seeps through. Large in the mouth, more mineral than the 98, there’s growing intensity too. Much, much finer tannin – very obviously younger too. Real depth of flavour here – lovely, just an edge of salinity in the finish too. The last drops in the glass have a discreet tobacco note…
Rebuy – Yes

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