Why Big Red Diary?

96 hospices de beaune corton cuvée charlotte dumay


A relatively inexepensive purchase of this case enables me to crack open a bottle every year or-so as a ’96 bell-weather. Whilst much better than last years bottle (which was corked!), and despite there being plenty to enjoy here, I’m a little disappointed to see a little oxidative flavour – but maybe it’s a phase – I’ll confirm next year!
1996 Hospices de Beaune, Corton Charlotte Dumay
Still medium-plus colour, but it’s all a garnet-red now. The nose has a little marmite, brown sugar and just a little dried brown leaves. There wine is clearly based on it’s acidity, but a sweetness runs through its core, and boy, does that sweetness last – impressive length. The flavour is a little ‘beefier’ than I’d prefer, perhaps with a faint oxidation too, but the faintly grained tannin is 100% ripe and fading. Enjoyed, but I’m not sure about that oxidative flavour, without would have been an easy ‘rebuy’…
Rebuy – Maybe

robert arnoux echézeaux 1994


1994 Robert Arnoux, Echézeaux
Bought at the domaine back in about 2003. A cork that falls into pieces, but is rescued by the ‘ah-so’. Quite deeply, dark ruby coloured. The nose straight away shows a murky toasty oak that slowly fades to a sweetened dark, licorice-wrapped fruit. The texture is of velvet, melded to decent concentration and good acidity. There’s a faint metallic edge to the flavours that are still largely toasty barrel derived. Medium-plus length. For my personal taste I may be deterred from a re-purchase because of the oak-driven presentation (at 15 years this is presumably a permanent mark), yet this remains relatively young for a ’94 and I expect this wine would certainly improve for a few years more. With nothing (apart from (maybe) the oak) out of balance, this is a well above average 1994…
Rebuy – Maybe

02 pascal chevigny vosne-romanée


2002 Pascal Chevigny, Vosne-Romanée
This has medium, medium-plus colour. Tight, but a deep, brooding core of fruit topped by spiced red fruit, perhaps a trace of coffee too. The palate is also a little tight, but the texture is not bad, the tannin is relatively fine-grained with just a hint of astringency. Good balance of acidity but the fruit is now clenched around the core structure. Slowly mouth-watering. Relatively closed, but seemingly with everything in place – two bottles remain in the cellar – next one at 10 years of age I’d say.
Rebuy – Yes

cuverie update – from ray walker

Sent from my iPhone

Sent from my iPhone

Not too long ago I was truly naive. I was looking forward to becoming busy. I had no idea what busy was before a few weeks ago. My lovely clutch on my new 1987 cheap BMW 3 got angry at my sloppy heal toe activities and grew bored with my eager turns through the roundabouts on the route de Pommard so it decided to take the week off and simply lay on the floorboard. Never mind the amount of errands I needed to complete.

A few days later and a bit flatter in the wallet and I was back on the road. Briefly. I certainly underestimated how much I would need a truck in Burgundy. I needed to rent trucks for picking up fruit, destemmers, barrels, presses, and the other day racks. Most of the winemakers out here have Renault Kangoos, a type of car/van/truck which is ever efficient as things seem to always pop up. Forgot fruit bins as well. You see you can’t just simply miss a beat and expect to fall back in line with your plans.

As an example, I was later getting fruit bins and couldn’t find then anywhere. I would have had to piecemeal together what I needed had someone not let me borrow his. I waited an extra week on picking up
racks trying to be too specific and Poof, gone. You can’t find them
anymore. So I lucked out and found some racks and had to get them that
minute. Things move slow in Burgundy, but deals and wine necessities are
finite and sell quickly.

The wines have been finished with fermentations for a short amount of
time and at the last moment I found out the press was non operational. A
quick phone call and I was being helped out with the use if someone’s
vertical press. Today my largest lot went to barrel and I couldn’t be
more pleased. The appellation is of little importance as I am just in
awe of how everything is developing. The community in Burgundy has been
key in making me feel at home and being there to help when a situation
gets tight. It would be silly to state that things have gone perfectly
in Burgundy. I am learning something new each day and it really helps
knowing that I have a strong network of friends willing to help me if
something goes pear shaped.

Time for rest now, tomorrow the smaller lots get barreled down. One of
the tanks has a door to take the solids out, an extreme luxury. Today
was nothing but endless bucket lifting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see
buckets in my sleep, while being trapped in a wooden cuve. But who can
complain when you wake up to your dream every day?


98 louis jadot beaune


1998 Louis Jadot, Beaune
This has medium, medium-plus colour – relatively dark and young looking for a 10 year-old. The nose is showing some maturity with blood, iron, graphite – rare Chateaubriand. With time, there are faint oxidised notes which rather disconcertingly gives me the the overall impression that it smells more like Chianti than Beaune, but that’s short-lived, additional time builds a slightly musky base – seems more like burgundy now! Good acidity and a decent base of grainy, almost velvety tannin that appears in the mid-palate – hardly any astringency now. The fruit has a dark-red sweet-sour presence, but is well (sweet-sour) balanced. Medium length. I would say that this is approaching its plateau of maturity – another couple of years should do it – and given its relative power, it should hold there for at at lease a decade…
Rebuy – Yes
There’s a lot to be said for stocking up on well made villages wines, a good performance like this makes your night, and a bad performance doesn’t hurt as much as if it had been a grand cru…!

the best thing I read in a long time…

Here. You can’t beat irony and sarcasm!

07 michele et patrice rion chambolle 1er charmes


2007 Michele et Patrice Rion, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium cherry-red. The first sniff is of herbs – bouquet garni – slowly a depth builds that’s edged with vanilla, the fruit is never really dominant. Sweet, nicely concentrated, a leading edge of acidity that’s close to being balanced. A little oak flavour and quite a lot of vanilla (oak) flavour. Actually too much for me, despite how long that flavour lingers. Slightly better on day two, but it still smells and tastes too much like ice-cream right now. No concern here about the mid-term, but that’s two 07 Chambolles in a row that have their early drinking promise compromised by their oak treatment.
Rebuy – Maybe

chablis & the art of eating

81-copyOkay, not strictly a wine magazine, but…

I have to thank Alice Feiring for alerting me to this, the magazine ‘The Art of Eating‘ by Edward Behr, and in particular his most recent issue that has 20 of the magazine’s 48 pages dedicated to Chablis – a further seven pages offer recipes to match.

There is a very worthy profile of Chablis that was put together by Allen Meadows that used to be found on a few websites (though currently none seem available) – this is a different approach by Behr. Meadow’s is more academic in the reading, listing the vineyards and the areas they cover together with some history, whereas Behr’s is more conversational and ‘voyeuristic’, though the detail is exemplary, and it also includes a few of the top domaines in profile. Whilst the two are completely complimentary, I marginally prefer Behr’s approach and thoroughly enjoyed not just the article, but the magazine as a whole – well worth the $15 issue price delivered to Europe – fully recommended.

07 lignier-michelot chambolle vieilles vignes


2007 Lignier-Michelot, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes
Medium cherry-red. Rather more depth of toasty oak than I think necessary for a Chambolle – particularly a villages wine – it may have been okay for 2005/2006, but the precocious, friendly 07s just don’t need that much. There’s even a trace of reduction so I decanted; about an hour is needed to lift most of the dark oak/reduction. Width develops and the fruit remains quite dark, it’s not quite what I’m looking for from a Chambolle though – that said, the last drops in the glass smell very pretty indeed. Good texture and actually a very nice intensity, good acidity and an impressive extra dimension of flavour – it’s very nice and shows good length. Just a shame about the oak, it spoils for me the early drinking potential of the wine.
Rebuy – Maybe

it’s the weekend and just by way of a change…


pretty as a picture

7:15 a.m. Basel, 'Middle Bridge'

7:15 a.m. Basel, 'Middle Bridge'

I just thought it looked quite pretty on my way into the office this morning…

harvest 2009 update from domaine fourrier

A double update – from both Vicki and from Jean-Marie!

Many things have already been said on the web about the 2009 Vintage, and it is already being compared to the 05 vintage. We have attached some temperature and light, and rain charts which show the differences between the 2005 and 2009 which show that of course no vintage is the same. Jean-Marie actually sees it more as a marriage of the 99’s and 05’s. Still at the end of the day it is a vintage in it’s own right and a very exciting one too!

The grapes at harvest were beautifully small, so much so that some tiny ones which were no bigger than black currants fell through the grid of our sorting table and we recuperated them and put them in the vat! Already on the 2nd day in the vats the colour had changed to a bright pink, very unlike the last couple of years when we had to wait 2 or 3 days for this to happen. Fermentations, once they got going have been very quick and produced lots of heat, so we had to be very careful not to let them get too hot. Pigeage this year was not for the faint hearted, given the amount of mass solid compared to mass liquid. It has been known in the past few weeks for two very fit (strong) men to take around one hour to pigeage any given cuve. Even our porters in the vineyards were saying that they couldn’t remember a year where the cases were so heavy.

Finally, I can’t remember the last time I have seen JM smiling quite so much on the sorting table during a harvest! I have attached some photos to show you why!
Vicki Fourrier

The Growing season was absolutely perfect, with rain when we needed some and sun the rest of the time, the funny things is sometime you have nothing to say as all the conditions was right, the last month before picking was made of warm days and cool nights, so all the ingredients to have some great fruits.

Fruits at the harvest had the perfect size with lots of millerandage quite a lots of the berries had the size of Blackcurrant, so I insist on the fact that it’s not just the yield per hectare but also the ratio skin to juice which is more important for natural concentration.

The very unusual thing was how wild was the natural yeast to ferment this yeast, like if they’ve was as happy as the vigneron to find such great grapes!

All those tiny grapes released their sugar and more acidity later during the fermentations to give a last kick of extraction before the vats finished fermenting in a concert of Aromas.

After pressing our first vat today and tasting the first wine, I can just say that if we had a big smile on our face during the winemaking, tasting the result under the press has got me very excited indeed!

The only negative thing about 2009 is to put 2008 a bit to quickly in the shadow.
Jean-Marie Fourrier

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