Why Big Red Diary?

1st snow bbq of the year…

A higher altitude weekend – but the sausages were well cooked.

volnay – not so still-life…


Yesterday touched 20°C in the vines. Despite what has seemed like a winter of consistent 10°C days, the vineyards are not particularly precocious this year – so-far at least – because the night-time temperatures have been ‘cool enough.’

It was a beautiful day in the vines, without the ‘April showers’ of Wednesday – so much ploughing is underway. I visited a few of the Volnay vines of Bouchard Père – their full compliment of over 20 tractors were hard at work yesterday – well they do have 130 Côte d’Or hectares to tend!

week(end) 12 – the wines


Belated, I know – but places to go, people to see – et-cetera 😉
It was a long-weekend, with an added Monday – so an extra bottle or two….

Louis Picamelot, Crémant de Bourgogne Les Terroirs
I love their blanc de blancs, but the shop had run out! This started in very anonymous fashion – okay, but certainly not special. With time in the glass it took on a little more interest – never anything particularly wrong with the wine, but completely un-involving. Some way behind the very fine BdB…
Rebuy – No

2013 Alain Geoffroy, Chablis 1er Beauroy
A bright wine – indeed quite perky aromatically and on the tongue too. A certain extra vintage sweetness, but no overt apricot or anything like that. It drank well for its modest price.
Rebuy – Yes

2013 Françoise André, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Vergelesses
Super wine. The nose is fine – not amazing, but fine. In the mouth there’s fine intensity, balance and freshness, but really the mid-palate to the finish are very distinguished indeed – a super, layered delivery of finishing flavour. Super wine. And with quite a few tartrate crystals left on the inside of this empty bottle too.
Rebuy – Yes

2013 des Chezeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Chezeaux
Their 13 Lavaux was dark, very impressive wine. Their 13 Cazetiers was much lighter – good but a little modest for such a cru. Here we are back to deeply coloured wine with lots of interesting flavour dimension. Very good wine here – the nose has something a little powdery about the fruit, but half an hour after opening that’s fading in the memory. Very good!
Rebuy – Yes

big buds, birthdays and sad losses…

Picture (crop) ex-Faiveley…

Since last Easter Friday we have seen all aspects of ‘life’ in Burgundy:

DSC09456First, something to celebrate! Today was the 80th birthday of one of Volnay’s great characters – Regis Rossignol (right), who I visited in February; he’s still going strong, indeed, as far as I can tell, he’s actually still making the wine. He loves nothing more than disappearing into the cellar find yet another ‘older’ bottle to discuss!

On the other side of the same coin we lost Bernard Dubreuil of Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine in Pernand-Vergelesses on Friday. He’d been unwell for a while but was seemingly in remission, that changed all too quickly. My thoughts are with his daughter Christine. Here is a fine image of Bernard from Jon Wyand.

Lastly, for today, pictures of the first vines with swelling buds were put out by Faiveley yesterday, from their vines in Mercurey. Actually I checked the chardonnay up and down the Côte de Beaune today, and many of the sheltered vines are in a similar state the picture (at the top), many bagettes are showing at least 2-3 buds swelling up. The chardonnay is much more ‘precocious’ so the pinot noir usually needs 3 to 4 weeks more, so don’t hold your breath for those!

easter monday in the côte de beaune


a sunday stroll in (mainly) meursault…

just a few grands jours images

Four collages that just about summarise 5 days of tastings…

graperadio – walker / ilan…

Worth listening to the recent Grape Radio interview with Ray Walker.

I no-longer have contact with this producer, and I regret their use of this site as their initial marketing, but the story has resonance for many and is worth hearing.

There’s also a large, mainly critical, thread on this on the wineberserkers forum – It’s probably better to start with ‘mid-page 5’ of that, as the previous pages are largely speculation, pre-posting of the interview.

rain, rain, go away….


Ha! Yesterday, in the sunshine, I was contemplating the massive magnolia tree in the gardens of Bouchard Père et Fils – almost, but not quite, ready to burst into flower. The view above, is not the same in Beaune today. Still we’ve had a great week of blue-sky and sunshine – despite the chilly north wind.

And a couple of images from Wednesday evening and Thursday:

joseph voillot now x2 + hospices de beaune echézeax (vv)

DSC09842It was great to catch up with the (almost) newly expanded team at Joseph Voillot today.

Etienne Chaix, the nephew of Jean-Pierre Charlot is due to start full-time at the domaine in April – but today he was roped in, early, for a tasting in Beaune. I know that Jean-Pierre was super-happy to have settled the ‘succession’ of the domaine in this way – and now that he can concentrate on his vines, he is, as you can see, a very happy man – I’m not so sure about Etienne though 😉


Then the news I heard yesterday was of a new cuvée for the Hospices de Beaune – an Echézeaux no-less.

A tasting this week at Mongeard-Mugneret of Vosne-Romanée, raised the question of their Echézeaux vieilles-vignes cuvée. It seems that from 2016, they no longer have that cuvée. These vines were actually rented to the domaine by their owner. That owner recently passed away, and their wish was that the vines should, afterwards, pass to the Hospices. In terms of the top red price at the auction, I expect that this will give their Mazis-Chambertin a run for its money.

After the price increase of +55% for the Hospices de Nuits auction last Sunday, it seems – at least for the 2015 reds – the sky remains the limit. It will be (more than!) interesting to see how the 2016 vintage proceeds…

188 tastevinage wines for you…

tastevinThe Spring tasting of the Tastevinage was done in the Clos de Vougeot last week.

For those of you with an interest, here is a list of the 188 wines chosen, from the 565 which were presented, that are now allowed to wear the tastevinage label. Lots of great 2014s from the Mâconnais and Chablis, even Cremant included…

a quiet night among the books…

Just a quiet evening among the books of Athenaeum in Beaune tonight. Fred Ménager was cooking (with his team) plus multiple bottles of 2008, mainly in magnum, from Christian Clerget, Jean-Jacques Confuron, Vincent Dureuil-Janthial, Michel Lafarge, Hubert Lamy, Jean Louis et Andrée Trapet, Tollot-Beaut, Vitteaut-Alberti and Guiseppe-Rinaldi.

The wines were some thing of a free-for-all both before and during dinner – my iPad was never opened – these few pics, were the best I could come up with, and for a whole evening’s work, too! Sorry 😉

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