Why Big Red Diary?

a life uncorked, hugh johnson (2005)

hugh johnson a life uncorkedThis is quite a big book – not quite a coffee-table book, but close to 400 pages that have weighed down my laptop bag for 5 months or so.

5 months?

Well, it’s a book that you can dip into, returning after 2 weeks absence is no loss…

Frankly, I was expecting great things – it was the fault of the first page and a half, the preface, it left me with a level of writing expectation that was met only patchily throughout those 400 pages.

Wine is first and foremost a social game; only secondarily an interest like music or collecting. It is about human relations, hospitality, bonding, ritual…

And what an ‘interesting’ approach Hugh has taken for his book; A tour through ‘how did I get here?’ followed by bubbly, white wine, red wine and sweet wine; yet gardens, fish eating and sailing are liberally interspersed throughout the text. I was particularly bemused by the fish ‘section’ though I suppose we were within the ‘white wine’ chapter!

You will eventually come across a ‘critique’ of the influence of one RM Parker; paraphrasing, Hugh thinks scores irrelevant to him, but is concerned that wines are now very often made with scores/tasting in mind, rather than drinking. A fair point, but one that is easily countered for the vast majority of buyers with significantly higher average quality at medium and lower price-points – buyers who may be less interested in micro-oxygenation or the amount and type of new oak in a Grand Cru Classé…

If Hugh’s grape tastes appear rather catholic – Cabernet and Riesling seem to be his mainstays – there is nothing catholic about where he takes his wine from; USA, Chile, Australia even the Languedoc(!) – and that’s just cabernet.

I find it hard to get worked up about the book, it’s far from a ‘must read’, but even when taking your time, it’s a satisfying read – should that be the equivalent of the commercial kiss of death that is ‘only’ 89 points? Hugh seems a decent ‘bloke’ who tells a decent tale, but in the end, no rocket science here.

a vinexpo punch-up plus exclusive lighting

Ka-Pow !!!I have to be honest, this really made me laugh over my morning coffee – childish I know!

Anna Sério, whose Italissima event is being held throughout the week in the grounds of a hotel by the lake close to the fair told decanter.com that she was injured in a confrontation with Vinexpo marketing director Jean-Francois Ley.

Any publicity is good publicity right? 😉

campagne - lighting
Are you building or specifying a super-cool new cellar project? Do you want to stand out from the croud with their passé LED lighting?

If so, I have the lighting for you: Designer, Guillaume Delvigne’s (with a name like that, what did you expect?) blown glass and Corian ‘Campagne‘ light.

Now, wouldn’t that look great in all the nooks and crannies of your hand-made hardwood slots?
(Just for the record, my cellar is concrete and full of boxes…)

frédéric esmonin 99 ruchottes-chambertin

1999 Frédéric Esmonin, Ruchottes-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour – paler than the Mazy. The nose starts quite dark and oaky – some dark toast notes that take at least 30 minutes to lift. Redder, less dense fruit is the result, though the dark oak slowly turns to make a nice coffee ‘coating’. Nicely balanced concentration with background velvet tannin. Truth be told it has more of a 1er cru weight, the only distinct grand cru element is the mid-palate flavour – pretty red fruit with a distinct creamy edge and excellent length. Some distance behind the quality of the Mazy, and there are probably better premier crus, but they will cost more than this bottle – value has always been the watchword on the Esmonin GCs, and there is plenty of value in this bottle.
Rebuy – Yes
[Next stop the 99 Griotte – I just had to do it!]

frédéric esmonin 99 mazy-chambertin

1999 Frédéric Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin

1999 Frédéric Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin

The weather was quite warm, so first I opened the bottle, then I left it in the refrigerator for about 90 minutes – clearly it would start too cold, but would be teased to the right temperature in the glass.

1999 Frédéric Esmonin, Mazy-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour, still with some last vestige of cherry-red. Right from pouring, cold – say 12°-ish – the nose was just a gorgeously smooth interpretation of macerating dark cherry – wow! The palate, however, was tight, linear, hinting towards tannin but delivering only a dark, faintly oaky but very long finish. As the contents of the glass slowly warm the nose adds a little coffee though slightly tightens, the flavours are expanding though, and with them, the tannin seems to be diminishing. Eventually a herbal complexity fills out the aromas. The palate becomes more intense and builds a sweetness – not a ripe vintage, confiture type of sweetness, rather an intensity of sweetness at the back of the palate. A very young, but very rewarding performance – I really wish I’d bought more, not just this wine, but Mazy (Mazis) in general.
Rebuy – Yes

a corking corton

1996 Hospices de Beaune, 'Dumay' Corton

1996 Hospices de Beaune, 'Dumay' Corton

Did I say normal service would be resumed? Well Friday evening’s bottle didn’t quite go to plan – it was horribly corked…
(I hope tomorrow’s Mazis fares better!)

a few foreign whites

Robert Mondavi's 1999 Napa Valley, Botrytis Sauvignon BlancOkay – I know that this is is the ‘big red diary’ and that these are whites, but nothing in this page’s title says where the wines have to come from…

We’ve had a few sweltering days – really the first of the summer – and given that my last bottle of Deiss 97 Riesling St.Hyppolite was so good, for sipping under the sun umbrella I decided to pull out a few of these whites from (mainly) a little closer to home; Seppi Landmann 06 Pinot Gris, Bott-Geyl 02 GC Riesling Schönenberg, Bott-Geyl 02 GC Riesling Mandelberg and Josmeyer 00 GC Riesling Brand. The first was lovely, soft easy drinking, the second bigger and fatter, the third had more acidity and the last was rounder. Good stuff.

I should also mention one (half) bottle of great stuff that I opened at the weekend, and what do you know, it’s an Americano! Elsewhere, and quite some time ago, I wrote this:

So now that we’re well into 2004 I can announce my wine of the year – so far anyway – better than the 1983 Yquem I had in October (what a heathen!), superb depth on the nose, long and lingering. Ladies and Gentlemen; I give you Robert Mondavi’s 1999 Napa Valley, Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc. A wine with a finish even longer than its name!! – 28.feb.04, bill.n

All I can say is that it is just ‘humming’ now – nothing prepares you for the perfect, clear as a bell, raspberry note on the palate – ultra-yum. Such a shame that only one of the orginal 6 now survive.

So, sorry for the diversion, but I expect ‘normal’ service should be resumed over the weekend – particularly as rain is forecast…!

2005 fourrier gevrey 1er les goulots

2005 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Goulots

2005 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Goulots

I find it hard to open Fourrier’s bottles now – mainly it’s due to the capsules – or lack of capsules. Since the 2005 vintage the domaine has topped their bottles with shiny red wax, and that offers me two problems: one, the wax looks much too pretty to break; and two, wax normally shatters and makes a terrible mess!
Maybe Jean-Marie has a new formulation or the 24° of my kitchen had a softening effect, but a knife easily removed the layer covering the cork – and no shattering, no mess!

2005 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Goulots try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour – not that deeply coloured for a 1er cru from this vintage. The nose starts with a characteristic note that makes you think of oak, but as I’ve slowly learned with Fourrier’s wines, it’s more about reduction, as it fades, in this case, in about 30 minutes without decanting. Slightly heavy and powdery fruit morphs to beautiful red berry notes over cherry – primary but very, very pretty – more time will give a pretty creme-brulee background. In the mouth this is soft and rather silky – you will only find the tannin with serious rolling around the mouth. There is decent density of dark fruit that slowly melts and becomes redder as the nose also develops. It’s slowly lingering on slightly emphasised acidity. Versus the impact of virtually every 2005 villages and higher Gevrey tasted in 2008, this is more mellow and understated – what a difference a year makes – there’s a little iron and minerals, but in particular this misses out on the ‘I’ word – impact. The style of Fourrier still makes this eminently drinkable, but I expect it was all the more impressive 12 months ago. Time for a long sleep…
Rebuy – Yes
PS As an after-thought, I often think that Jean-Marie Fourrier should have been born in Chambolle, the style of his wines are more ‘poster-child(ren)’ for that village. For Gevrey I’m often looking for that slightly harder edge – perhaps a hint of danger – but, good as the wines are, you don’t find it at this address.

‘wine magazine seeks discerning palates’


Tong: Sounds like my kind of wine magazine – not full of adverts for cigars and wine ‘investment’ funds. I must get hold of a copy sometime. Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, but it will revert to ‘subscription’ in a few days, so read it now!

2006 nicolas potel, chambolle 1er les fuées

2006 Maison Nicolas Potel, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Fuées

2006 Maison Nicolas Potel, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Fuées

This wine made such an impression when tasted about a year and a half ago that orders were placed in more than one bottle size! Here’s its first outing…
2006 Nicolas Potel, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Fuées try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. So effusive once the cork is popped, it’s like you’re back in the barrel cellar with forward red and black fruit that is softened at the edges with a sweet, faintly brulee’d note – primary but very gorgeous. In the mouth it has lost some of that barrel ‘padding’, but you have good intensity, equally good acidity and a reasonable amount of structure; the tannin is there and whilst velvety, has the merest trace of astringency. Slowly lingering, this is super – it’s perhaps more structured than when last tasted (and ordered!) and I’d recommend that you leave it in the cellar, but the fruit is gorgeous.
Rebuy – Yes


TypingMonkeyI just wanted to share with you a short note on contributions to these diary pages.

The early Burgundy Reports had a ‘guest text’ section which despite having fallen by the wayside in last couple of years, it remains open and available to potential/latent contributors. Outside of that, it’s really only the two reports of Bruce Palling and Peter Sidebotham that covered DRC 2006 that haven’t been written by me – I’m not anticipating much change there, but let’s see!

Regarding these ‘diary’ pages, things are certainly more flexible. Whether it’s Ray’s ‘how to start a domaine/new life’, Peter’s bottles – with the odd etranger among them – or some of Rusty’s insights into another world of pinot noir, it’s all stuff that I like to read. Maybe I will get the chance to add even more contributions/contributors so not to leave you on the monotonous drip of ‘today’s bottle is…’ If you have ideas, get in touch!

That’s it!
Note, it should be even easier to differentiate who has written what (hopefully it’s not hard now) when I finally get round to updating the site design a little – nothing too generic of course !

Michael Broadbent’s bicycle stolen – reward

Shock report – here

climats du coeur

For your info:

“Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

We are pleased to inform you of the creation of a charity, by some Wine Growers and Wine Merchants from Burgundy. Named “Les Climats du Coeur”, its goal is to collect money to help the poorer of our region.

We invite you to visit our website where we present our project: www.climats-du-coeur.com

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Les Climats du Coeur

climats du doeur

Page 142 of 217« First...102030...140141142143144...150160170...Last »