Why Big Red Diary?

zinc, stainless-steel & jesus – just a thursday in chablis


A rainy day today – in Chablis – but wonderful people and of-course an Au Fils du Zinc lunch….

a little boulevard

6pm today:

a few weekend bottles – week 40


Why not a run of vintages? 2010 to 2007…

The 2010 Rebourgeon-Mure, Pommard 1er Clos des Charmois was a very tasty wine, with all the delicacy and elegance that 2010 offers, yet it was a little subdued – at least vs others from the vintage at this producer. Tasty enough though.

The 2009 Chandon de Brialles, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Ile des Vergelesses, hinted to the nose of the 09 Ramonet a couple of days earlier, ripe but, in this case, with only a suggestion of alcohol. The palate unfurls in a classy way and with super texture too. A very tasty baby this wine – very tasty!

The 2008 Paul Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles-Vignes (red!) started out a bit spiky – almost a hint sour in the mouth – both me and my partner thought so (lunch), yet in the evening it was much more balanced and tasty. Our palates or oxygenation? Still a good, workmanlike, bottle – just not a great bottle.

The 2007 Fourrier Morey St.Denis Clos Solon Vieilles-Vignes, frankly, performed like it always does; supple, nicely textured wine with layers of flavour. Not even a hint of anything complicated about this vintage chez Fourrier – at least with this wine. Really super – as usual!

‘la maison’ – now there’s a video!

Remember my post on the new ‘boudoir’ in Vougeot? Well now there’s a little more info and even a video!

la Maison
1 rue du Vieux Château
21640 Vougeot
Tel: +33 3 80 61 06 10

Tastings: From €25 per person, open from 11h00 to 18h30 Monday to Thursday and Sunday, plus 10h00 to 19h30 Friday and Saturday.
For sale : Wines from Domaine de la Vougeraie, Maison Jean-Claude Boisset & JCB By Jean-Charles. Wine memorabilia, books about Burgundy and wine and ‘other nice things…’

No affiliation, et-cetera…

want to know more about beaujolais nouveau? of-course you do :)

bjn2016Even if only from a voyeuristic perspective!

Although most of us might have little more than an afterthought about this wine, it’s still a massive volume that is produced.

In 2015, for example, the Beaujolais region sold 193,000 hectoliters of Beaujolais Nouveau, or more easily understood as about 25.7 million bottles in France and abroad. The most important markets outside France are (in order) Japan the United States and the United Kingdom. I must admit to buying a bottle each year, but only one, and usually the one with the most attractive label!

There is even a website – but I couldn’t get it to work: www.beaujolaisnouveau.fr – Still I don’t think that it will stop me from keeping with my previous buying habits!

ramonet’s bourgogne pinot – 2009+2010


These two wines have really changed their drinking positions in the time since their respective releases.

At the start, the 2009 was simply delicious; open, caressing and tasty as any Bourgogne has the right to be. To amplify that point, this may already be the last bottle of my case. By comparison, the 2010 was far from friendly as a youngster, having acidity in the ascendency and a seemingly sharp personality to match.

Today the 2009 is ripe and round, but the nose is less attractive with an impression of alcohol – still a gulpable wine, but lacking a certain class. The 2010 has transformed; it is still fresh, but balanced, interesting, and above all begs you to take the next sip – I honestly regret that I only bought 6 of these – which wasn’t my opinion 4+ years ago…

a little matterhorn…

 The one and only Matterhorn (Swiss side!)

You know, of-course, that I like my mountains, and today I took a chance for a quick visit to Zermatt – a surprisingly mere 2h10 on the train from Bern! The forecast is for snow tomorrow, so we took a chance on today – and what a result – beautiful weather. The Matterhorn is often partly obscured by cloud, but not today.

A nice break. Tomorrow, it’s back to Beaune…

give a dog a vosne…

 Or rather, some malcontent vosnes, already gone to the dogs…

My last night in Beaune after our harvest was a meet-up with Marko de Morey, who had also finished his harvest.

A simple night with a trio of Vosnes, a big baguette, and a fresh Brillat-Savarin – what could go wrong?

Well, wine #1 was the 1998 Thomas-Moillard, Vosne 1er Malconsorts, and it stunk of brett – the nose said to both of us – DNPIM (do not put in mouth) – so having two more bottles, we didn’t!

Wine #2 is a favourite of mine, the 1999 Gilles Remoriquet, Vosne 1er Au Dessu des Malconsorts – pff! Totally corked!

Wine #3, could we make it 3 disasters in a row? or would, Nicolas come to the rescue? The 2002 Nicolas Potel, Vosne 1er Malconsorts had a rather understated but clean nose, and a welcoming and complex palate, a palate that seemed to slowly, slowly, get better and better – not full-power, but very tasty indeed – so we didn’t need cry into our last glasses!

a synthesis of le montrachet 2016

 Montrachet – 28-Aug-2016.

A really interesting story from Bourgogne Aujourd’hui, yesterday: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Leflaive, Guy Amiot, Lamy-Pillot and Domaine Fleurot have blended together all of their grapes harvested in Montrachet – or maybe I should say Le Montrachet, as their parcels are all on the Chassagne side.

Normally these domaines would produce 20-30 barrels of wine from their combined 1.25 hectares, but this year, the sum of all their efforts will be 2 barrels worth of wine – all because of the frost at the end of April this year. It was clear that nobody really wanted to do a micro-vinification as it would have been more like a lab-exercise! Note, so exceptional was this frost, that there is no-one alive that can remember a similar event in the vines of Montrachet.

With their négociant licence, it is Domaine Leflaive that will actually make the wine, which will (presumably) be shared between the proprietors when it comes to bottling. These cuvées, in theory, will not be commercialised, as there will be no more than a few cases per producer – I can’t wait to see the label (design) – assuming they use just one label…

la maison – vougeot

dsc01250Last Saturday we paid a visit to a new ‘thing’ in Vougeot.

The Boissets have chosen to open a new retail opportunity in Vougeot – here you can buy the wines of Domaine de la Vougeraie, JCB (from Jean-Charles Boisset) and the Jean-Claude Boisset range overseen by Grégory Patriat. These were previously available in the ‘Imaginarium’ outside Nuits, but the Boissets plan that Vougeot will be the only address where they sell the Vougeraie wines, locally.

The official opening will be the end of this week – maybe – it seems that strategy, timing and purpose remain somewhat fluid.

Both Nathalie and Jean-Charles Boisset were on hand to describe certain aspects of this ‘maison’ fully supported by Gina Gallo. La Maison – Vougeot is purposefully unbranded, but ‘a place where people can come and sit and relax, taste wine and also buy wine if they wish – even special dinners or tastings will be possible here.‘ You buy a card with a certain credit level which you use to feed the wine-dispenser machines – delivering measured pours from bottles under an inert atmosphere. There are multiple rooms too – each very different, yet with some unifying style accents, whether by Murano or Lalique(!) The people who designed and delivered this rather special thing were also present, including the architect currently responsible for both here and the new Boisset cuverie, plus Jacques Garcia, interior designer of, among other things, boutique Paris hotels. Note that you can also buy examples of Jean-Charles’ range of brooches and cuff-links…

I can honestly say that there’s nothing else like it in Burgundy – and I think you might get a real kick out of visiting – even if you only do it once. Part old-gentleman’s club, part swinger-club, style, and it is certainly more Los Angeles than Les Arvelets. I’ll be really interested to see how this will work in ultra-quiet Vougeot – come to think of it, I’ll be interested to see how it works at all – it seems the Boisset family are also not yet fully sure. Actually I find their ‘let’s see’ attitude refreshing.

I didn’t take any pictures outside because it was raining so hard!

harvest day 13 – 4-oct-2016

 Our 7am accompaniment – some days they can be very loud!

Our last day of grapes began with a trip to Gevrey-Chambertin – on our collection list today was Lavaux St.Jacques and Chambertin.

The morning sky was as clear as can be, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better early morning view of Mont Blanc – a shame that my camera wasn’t to hand in our truck. The clear night had sent the temperatures tumbling – some higher spots in the Hautes Côtes were even touched with a little frost…

The light from the early morning sun on the Côte St.Jacques was really super – the team of our grower was already well underway at 8am, picking in Lavaux. And what grapes – see the images below – this was the best fruit of our 2016 campaign, marginally besting those Charmes-Chambertin grapes towards the end of last week. These grapes from Lavaux provided only one disappointment – we got the equivalent of only 1.5 barrels worth – normally we have two…

Next we drove to Chambertin, and the grower here bussed in a complete team – it seemed from the continent of Africa – most of the women with mud-painted (style) faces – yet in the vines they were as fast and efficient as any team I’ve ever seen picking. 40 cases for us, 40 cases for another producer and just under forty for the final producer. The first booked producer (who is new to this contract) was on site at 9h00, but his cases hadn’t arrived – much to annoyance of his courtier – and to the amusement of everybody-else. I’m sure the courtier would be able to console himself afterwards in his Range-Rover 🙂

Back to our base in Beaune, and Maranges 1er Cru was on the triage table. These were just fabulous grapes – the first pallet with virtually nil to triage – but subsequent pallets had quite a bit of unripe fruit – such a shame to throw it all away – and despite this being the very last day of our harvest, (at least some of) these grapes could have benefited from at least another 3-4 days on the vine. Like yesterday (Monday) our hands were slowly turning blue triaging this fruit – definitely a day for extra layers of clothing, despite the bright sun.

 Perfect Lavaux – and entirely representative of our 1.5 barrels…

Post-lunch, came the Lavaux. Simply fabulous fruit – see above – and like the Charmes, at least visually, close to perfection – a great vintage beckons for certain wines. Part of this went into the tank as perfect whole-clusters. Lastly came the Chambertin; not the absolute optical class of either the Lavaux or the Charmes, but really as good as I’ve seen from this producer/vineyard – and I’ve seen it every year since 2004! Interestingly today, our three parcels of fruit showed zero raisined/mildewed fruit – such a pleasure.

Okay, now it is just pigeage and pumping over for the next days – a number of our tanks are slowly fermenting with temperatures in the mid-20°s – more on those when I return to Beaune next week. Now it’s the final whistle for our 2016 harvest and time for a few days back home…

harvest day 12 – 3-oct-2016

 The aftermath of lots of Santenay…

That was a day!

And a Santenay day, at that. Our triage table started rolling at 08h30, it stopped at 19h00 – the cleaning wasn’t finished until 21h00…

To be honest, it was a hard day’s work, because (at least) our parcels of Santenay had quite a bit of rot (porriture/botrytis) to remove – to a lesser extent some under-ripe fruit too, amd that was despite most of the Côte de Beaune already having finished their harvest. I also noted that some of the fruit seemed a little less robust than what I’d experienced to-date. To be honest I needed 30 minutes to warm-up over lunch – it was only 5 or 6°C this morning, and 4 hours of standing on one spot takes its toll! Every pause was spent in the sunshine, rather than the shade of the triage table 🙂

We did about 80% Santenay villages, the rest being premier cru Santenay Clos Rousseau. The 1er cru was a little cleaner so easier to deal with.

That leaves us with a nice trio for tomorrow – and the last grapes of our harvest – Maranges 1er Croix Aux Moines, Gevrey 1er Lavaux St.Jacques and finally, Chambertin.

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