Why Big Red Diary?

vougeraie 2000 vougeot 1er les cras

Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot 1er Les Cras

Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot 1er Les Cras

2000 Vougeraie, Vougeot 1er Les Cras try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose is deep, edged with sweet oak spice and more than a hint of cedar – reminiscent of an 04 but less ‘high-toned’. In the mouth this is sweetly ripe and with a little fat in its texture but also a nice core of acidity. Plush but tasty though the decent length finish still shows a little bitter oaky element that has almost become bitter chocolate rather than just ‘bitter’ – a little creamy coconut too – but also some more cedar. For the first hour it was open it was alternately yummy and engaging then herby and bitter, I expected improvement, but instead the palate became a little prickly/pickley. Basically this is all over the place today – unusual for a 2000 – so I can’t recommended it.
Rebuy – No (I hope the 5 in the cellar improve…)

1997 le corton bouchard père et fils

Bouchard Père et Fils Le Corton

Bouchard Père et Fils Le Corton

Bought way back in 2000 when Sotheby’s had a sale of old Bouchard Père vintages, for what I thought a bargain at £170 direct for BP&F. In storage since then, here is it’s first outing – time to see if it was really a bargain!
1997 Bouchard Père et Fils, Le Corton try to find this wine...
Medium colour. The nose starts with a herby top-note and a little meat below, it slowly develops a sweeter core of spiced plums. In the mouth this is full of dimension and some reasonable tannin too – the flavour is slightly savoury and inflected with coffee. Good sweetness and no lack of balance helps produce a decent finish. Unlike many from the vintage, there’s a real smoothness here – impresses. Half a bottle was left in the refrigerator overnight and next day it was acid-forward and not so nice, though my single glass was always rather cold. So on the third day, at room temperature (~19°C – the weather was cold!) the impression was somewhere between the last two days. So initially a very tasty if not stunning grand cru. Drink it straight away, watch your serving temperature and you will be rewarded!
Rebuy – Maybe

newsday, saved by the cork…

It’s taking me 3 days to finish my most recent bottle, so I thought I might bring you all the news instead – though to start with, I didn’t find much!

There is the Dr Vino non-story about reviewers being taken to lunch and more peripherally Mark Squires getting yet another vote for worst moderator – I laughed at first, but in the end, not even worth linking to. I found two interviews reasonably interesting; Randall Grahm and Bernard Magrez, clearly two completely contrast-worthy characters, and I find yet more photos from Vincent Dancer – he’s been quite busy in the last days.

If there’s one story that could slip through un-noticed, but actually begs further comment, it is a recent Decanter news item:
jadot diam cork closure

Closure manufacturer Oeneo has successfully protected the technology behind its Diam ‘technical cork’ in a court victory against rival closure companies.

Sounds dull? On closer inspection, not.

The approach under challenge was the one that produces the ‘Diam’ cork amalgam (as used in the recent Belland) seal and the Jadot above. The key step for this is the use of something called super-critical-carbon dioxide. In layman’s terms, that’s taking carbon dioxide gas and increasing the pressure until it behaves almost like a liquid – and why? – well in this state it acts like the world’s best solvent and easily washes away the nasty TCA molecule which causes corkiness. So much for the process, but what’s the news? Well for me the real news is twofold, and none of it is actually addressed in the Decanter ‘news story’:

  1. Firstly, the fact that some groups are now seeing potential value from the long and relatively expensive patent challenge process would underline to me the quality of the solution – it must work – and if it works, there’s money to be made.
  2. Secondly, and it’s a bit more subtle, but did you notice who the ‘challengers’ were? “Portugal’s Cork Supply Group and industry consultant Pedro Gil Ferreira“: Not only does the Diam approach seem to be a strong solution, but also it takes away a clear cork advantage (or let us say improvement) from the cork producers themselves and clearly puts it into the hands of others. Whilst the technology seems to have the potential to prolong, or even rejuvenate a cork market that is more than moribund (it is actually losing significant sales to alternatives), the value extraction (read: profits!) will be in the hands of others.

That’s how I read this challenge anyway!

elégance de volnay

Elégance de Volnay 2009

If you are free on the Saturday 27th June and would like to taste a few Volnays, in Volnay, look no further than here.

two philiberts…

Domaine Méo-Camuzet Bourgogne Clos St.Philibert

Domaine Méo-Camuzet Bourgogne Clos St.Philibert

2 notes for the price of 1!

2000/01 Méo-Camuzet, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Clos St.Philibert try to find this wine...
Like chalk and cheese these two wines. The 2000 has a quite young, medium yellow colour whereas the 2001 is much more golden. Despite the colours, the 2000 is the more toasty and faintly madirised, the 2001 is aromatically much more like a classic white burgundy. The 2000 needs time in the glass as it starts also with madirised flavours – but they all-but disappear with 1 hour’s aeration, leaving some sweetness, good concentration and balance. The 2001 is very balanced but much more austere in the mid-palate and finish – just needs a little more sweetness for ‘solo’ drinking, however, it fits really well with food. Overall, decent value wines that I occasionally see at reasonable prices on restaurant lists.
Rebuy – Maybe

thinking time…

deliveryI might not feel like opening bottles right now, but there’s nothing like a new project to get your mind off things. This week the majority of my UK-stored stocks arrived at my house – 406 kgs apparently – all on one pallet.

Clearly a pallet is not something that goes up or down steps, so multiple cases were first piled by the front door before being moved into a differently shaped big pile in the cellar. The joy of discovery (the 1995 Brunello (Rennina) Pieve de la Santa Restituta that I bought after having the same wine in Montalcino in 2001) is mixed with the frustration of not easily finding stuff. I also see how my buying habits have changed in the last 5 years; 243 bottles, but more than 50% are grand crus from 1997-2004 – today (due to price increases) less than 10% of what I buy is grand cru.

Anyway the cellar looks tidy(ish!), but it will be a nightmare to get at things. I already have about 30 bottles standing to attention for a slow, hopefully pleasurable, appraisal over the next couple of months.

we lost a friend…


The house is very quiet today – the first time after more than 20 years with no dog. Belle had a short but very terminal illness – age only 6. We’re very sad…

Not quite Burgundy …

Kooyong Meres Pinot Noir

Kooyong Meres Pinot Noir

… but this one comes about as close as I have tasted from Australia. I am constantly trying out New World Pinot Noirs at home as well as at trade fairs, looking for the delicacy and definition that excites me in Burgundy. Oh – and looking for better values too. I find it hard work, as I am burdened with a palate that is very sensitive to alcohol levels, and loves – perhaps even craves – acidity. I mention those things because for anyone more tolerant of alcohol than I seem to be, this would be an absolute gem. The only downside is that it costs pretty much the same as a decent premier cru. Vive le marketing.

Kooyong – Meres Pinot Noir 2005 (Mornington Peninsula, Victoria)
Medium-full ruby, broad paler rim showing a touch pinkish. Lovely full Pinot nose. Juicy and ripe with a very refined oak frame. This is really lovely and classy, spicy and with a touch of game meat – could be a fat Vosne-Romanee. Mouth entry is nice and taut but with juicy cherry fruit right behind. Good acidity and a real sense of compressed energy here. Fat and spicy in style on the mid-palate, but paradoxically seems to lack body. There is a touch of licorice and very refined cherry/damson fruit. Finish is firm, slightly drying, and just a touch hot (i.e. too alcoholic). This has real beauty at the start, but became less convincing on the mid-palate and worrying on the finish. I feel (hope?) it should come good, but that alcohol on the finish is too much for me.

a really nice bottle, plus recent ‘things’ of interest…

1999 Nicolas Potel Volnay Vieilles Vignes

1999 Nicolas Potel Volnay Vieilles Vignes

1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
A medium, medium-plus quite young looking colour. If it wasn’t so sweetly fruity I’d describe the nose as perfumed; it starts as a creamy ‘summer pudding’ with undertones of caramel, 2 hours is enough to focus the aromas to a beam of pure red berry – as perfect as a young villages Volnay can be. On your tongue it has A1 balance and a very understated impact. A characterful flavour in the finish that nods to the barrel but without any of the wood tannin texture. I spent most of my time sniffing, but it tastes rather good too. I rather wish I’d bought this in magnums – but hey-ho…
Rebuy – Yes

Galaxy’s centre tastes of raspberries and smells of rum, say ‘experts’

  • All the hot news here of course! Perhaps the horse-head nebula brings a little brettanomyces too. 😉
  • Or maybe the wine in your glass only “responds to the Moon’s rhythms“(?) Jamie Goode is anyway pooh-poohing the notion.
  • Some lovely new photos again from Vincent Dancer; this time horses plouging and also ‘Montrachet Awakening’:
Ploughing Meursault GenevrièresLink: Vincent Dancer

Ploughing Meursault Genevrières

the one that got away

Clos St.Jacques Pernot-Fourrier

Clos St.Jacques Pernot-Fourrier

A little tardy, but I thought I would share with you my notes on probably the only dinner that Bill didn’t get to in Glasgow last month. There were some beauties here, not least of which was the gorgeous Pernot-Fourrier. This is the same domaine as is run today by Jean-Marie Fourrier. Before Jean-Claude took over the domaine, the wines were made by his uncle Fernand Pernot … and a darn good job he made of it, if this bottle is anything to go by.

Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Blanchots 1992
Rich, even slightly madeirised on the nose. Very rich in the mouth – touches of pinepapple, but with a hard mineral core. Surprisingly little acidity showing here, fully resolved, and with a very long finish. Impressive rather than loveable. 4

Potinet-Ampeau Meursault Charmes 1966
Initially quite fat and waxy, quite unpromising, but this blossomed sensationally over 30 minutes in the glass. Nutty and complete. Broad and ample in the mouth, but with an astonishing lightness too. Lovely. 5-

Remoissenet Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1986
Big and bold on the nose, still with an edge of citric freshness to it. Very big and bright in the mouth, even buxom, but with a core of minerality. Good length on the finish too, but isn’t really harmonious and lacks sophistication after the Meursault. 4+

Meo-Camuzet Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux 1993
Big, intense and heady perfume : “in your face”. Great perfume and suppleness in the mouth. Meaty and intense, with overtones of violets. Dense and dark but with real purity. Big and long. Still really very tight, and still didn’t come together even after an hour in the glass. Hold for 10 years plus. 5

Pernot-Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1978
Almost feral on the nose, but there is lovely ripe red fruit beneath aswell as that earthy gaminess. A classic mature Gevrey, though it doesn’t display the sheer class of the CP. Wonderfully smooth and together in the mouth with great acidity pointing up the fruit (but not intruding). Great drinking with the deer, but not truly great. 4+

97 daniel rion nuits st.georges 1er vignes rondes

Daniel Rion Nuits St.Georges 1er Vignes Rondes

Daniel Rion Nuits St.Georges 1er Vignes Rondes

1997 Daniel Rion, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Vignes Rondes try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour still. The nose is full of sweet-edged undergrowth and below there’s still a dark edge of oak-toast. In the mouth there’s a silkiness and good, if not totally seamless acidity. The dark flavours mirror the nose but have a nice extra creamy dimension, there’s still a bitter-chocolate edge to the tannins too. No sharp edges and only just beginning to enter its drinking window, despite its oaky beginings being still on display, this is becoming a very above average 1997.
Rebuy – Yes (and I don’t say yes to many ’97’s…)

hail today…


Hail today in Nuits and Gevrey – light in Nuits but the ground was completely white in parts of Gevrey – nothing in-between. Parts of Puligny became white and light hail was seen in Volnay too. It looks like the vignerons were lucky as few buds were open…

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