Why Big Red Diary?

drouhin 2000 vosne-romanée 1er les petits monts…

Veronique Drouhin 2000 Vosne-Romanée 1er Petits Monts

Veronique Drouhin 2000 Vosne-Romanée 1er Petits Monts

2000 Veronique Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée 1er Lest Petits Monts try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose is lovely, slightly baked fruit, forward with a ginger edge and some deep herby elements. In the mouth there is sweet fruit but the acidity that comes along is bright indeed sharp finishing – it rather dominates the palate despite the slowly lingering flavours. I can’t get at much else as the problem with the acidity is so prominent. A badly stored bottle? I don’t know, but I can’t recommend this.
Rebuy – No

Also a couple of interesting links:

Shaking hands in Burgundy

Well, here we are. Burgundy, in the dead of winter. People are busy working in the vineyards, mainly burning clippings. Things are a bit more chilly than they seemed looking at Bill’s photos from my home in California. Suprisingly, our daughter has adjusted quite well to Burgundy at the ripe age of 7 months. Many of the people that I have read about, domaines which I have dreamed about are just a short stroll away from Puligny-Montrachet where we have been centered most of our time in Burgundy.

Everyone has been extremely helpful here. We have met with a great deal of established winemakers and courtiers and the possibility of working with quality grapes this year from the Cote de Nuits seem quite high…thank goodness!

Also, while we have spent some time with Olivier Leflaive, he has taken it upon himself to present our project to a few of his friends, which one in particular in Pommard might have a facility for us to use for the project.

Another note, speaking some French is better than speaking none at all. I can’t get close to counting the possitive comments I have heard from people in Burgundy for trying to speak the language. I beleive it has made a difference in how I have been recieived.

While I wish we could stay until harvest to go forward with the project right now, the trip has already paid for itself with the great experiences and contacts we have made. We have just over a week more in France and I intend to make the most of this opportunity in Burgundy.


a great tasting from maison remoissenet

Remoissenet Père et FilsProfile: Maison Remoissenet

Remoissenet Père et Fils

Back from travelling in the UK and I thought I’d share with you my notes of some lovely wines that were presented to bunch of enthusiasts in Scotland at a meeting organised by Tom Cannavan. Our presenter was Bernard Repolt of Maison Remoissenet.

First – a comparison of Gevrey Cazetiers and Combottes
Mainly from vintages ending with a 9! The Cazetiers being the more sinewy/wiry and the Combottes showing way more width, not unlike a Chapelle or good Charmes-Chambertin:
2007/2005 Gevrey 1er Cazetiers try to find this wine...
The 07 is just a little soft-focus due to the fresh oak showing on all aspects of the wine; nose, palate and finish but it is ripe and creamy with just a hint of astringency – should be a lovely, precocious drink but personally I’d wait 1+ years for less barrel influence – not too much to learn about Cazetiers at this age. The 2005 is an archetypal 05 right now; tight, acid-forward and a world away from the lush, mineral density of 12 months ago. Clearly more intense, but then there’s no obvious oak putting a soft focus on the acidity. Needs to sleep.

1999/1989 Gevrey 1er Cazetiers try to find this wine...
The 99 was fresh, full and ripe – started with a hint of mustiness on the nose but that soon disappeared – good intensity and length. This really surprised me as other 99’s I’ve had from the producer have been dull and unfocused. Still an astringent edge to decent tannins. Young, and whilst far from a great Cazetiers, it is verily a tasty beverage. The 89 showed more high-toned aromas and a little herb too. Less full on the palate and more secondary flavours coming through. Ripe, and brings a feeling of warmth, perhaps needing an edge more of acidity to give it sparkle but another tasty wine.

1979/1969 Gevrey 1er Combottes try to find this wine...
The 79 displayed a beautiful dark chocolate, sweet nose that still seemed fresh. Really mouth-filling. Starts a little narrow but then really fills your mouth with broad panorama of flavour – very gevrey grand cru in style if (possibly) needing a bit more intensity for that badge – very sweet fruit but the acidity is balanced. Plenty of astringent tannin and slowly fading flavours – a gorgeous mouthful – and there’s no rush to drink. The 69, if anything, showed a younger colour. More mineral and medicinal aromas. In the mouth much more mineral and muscular – yet with the same panoramic, faintly astringent width as the 79. Faintly long and very sprightly. There is a perfect skeleton here for a longer life than the 79.

Afterwards I had a discussion with someone who he asked me if I thought the 69 was ‘adulterated’ as someone on his table said straight away that it was. Frankly I’ve had no more than 7 or 8 69’s, and all have shown in a similar way – darker colour than all other older (save 59!) wines I’ve seen and darker than most younger wines from the 70’s – including most 78’s! Maybe they were all adulterated, including the DRC’s! – though the La Tâche was beginning to fade! Anyway, I found nothing obviously ‘false’ about the wine, and clearly it came from impeccable storage. I also think that no more than a handful of people in the UK could say yes/no adulterated with a greater than 50% accuracy level – in this case I certainly can’t – and I don’t think any of these people were at our tasting 😉

Re the ‘gout Anglaise’, my understanding is that this manipulation was very common indeed and most obviously practiced in the cellars of UK merchants who had bought in barrel. Based on discussions with people in Beaune, except where a wine was clearly destined for the UK, it was more discreetly done in France (where done) because the bottles mainly ended up on French tables for French palates. Whilst far from irreproachable, wines destined to lay in a (french) cellar for 40 years were significantly ‘lesser targets’ for such practices.

Second – The Whites
I was lucky enough to taste all the 06’s in November 07 from barrel and even some gassy 07’s, so lovely to put that context next to the uniformly excellent bottles. On that day, the Bienvenue showed better to me than the Bâtard or even the Montrachet – we didn’t get to compare it to the Montrachet this time, but I still prefer it to the Bâtard.
2007/2006 Meursault 1er Charmes try to find this wine...
A blast of toasty oak needs to fade on the 07 before I can get near it – but it only takes a minute or two of swirling – plenty of clean citrus aromas and good depth are the reward. Lithe, some fat balanced by vg acidity. I sometimes find Meursault 1ers a little too soft – but not here, lovely. The 06 has hints of lanolin on the nose which I normally find only on substantially older wines. I find a texture on the palate that implies some dissolved gas, but I also find fine complexity and good balance – very good for an 06!

2007/2006 Puligny 1er Garenne try to find this wine... – from memory a blend of Garenne and Les Garennes
High-toned complex aromas from the 07. Lovely mouthwatering acidity plays with savoury elements and intensity. Lingers beautifully – really super wine. The 2006 shows denser aromas of riper fruit and initially a little yeast. Despite the riper aromas this has a nice mineral spine and again very good balance. I’d happily drink both, but would buy the 07…

2006 Bienvenues / Bâtard try to find this wine...
The Bienvenues shows creamy, dense, very wide and complex aromas – wow. In the mouth there is fat and concentration, yet there are nicely clean flavours, delicacy and balance – thanks to fine acidity. The finish is very long but majors on barrel components right now. Simply super. As a contrast the Bâtard has deeper but much tighter aromas. In the mouth likewise, it’s hiding it’s complexity. If there is one area where this pulls rank, it is the intensity of the mid-palate, but overall this is showing in a very tight way so gives an ‘easy win’ to the Bienvenues for drinking today.

joseph drouhin 1995 clos de la roche

Like the 1995 Corton of about 1 week ago, this is far from satisfying, but certainly better than that wine.
1995 Joseph Drouhin, Clos de la Roche try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-pale ruby-red. A little sweetness and minerality on the nose, faint red and orange fruit but for the first hour rather undemonstrative. On your tongue there’s perfect acidity and an intensity that builds all the more over time, though needs at least 1 hour to start becoming interesting. The tannin is relatively background and eventually a little fat develops. This becomes almost good without ever becoming really interesting.
Rebuy – Maybe

a book of french wines, p.morton shand (1960)

a book of french wines, p morton shandWhilst this book actually covers 399 pages, I’m basing this discussion only on the 59 page section about Burgundy – including appendices. Despite my skin-deep approach, this book can be truly described as a reference work for its time. My copy is a 1960 reprint from the original 1928 work, and is clearly and largely based on that original text as there is no mention of AOC – merely a few statistics are changed to reflect reprinting dates. AOC is later discussed in quite some detail, but only as an appendix. [Edit: I later note from Mr Shand’s Wikipedia page that he actually died in April 1960]

The burgundy section opens with an erudite discussion of the enigma of the region – Maisons de Négoce – followed by a few meandering and largely unexciting pages that cull quotes from authors past – Dr Middleton, Brillat-Savarin, Stendhal – all extolling the virtues of burgundy wine. We then move onto a travelogue of sorts, taking the now traditional route from the northern Yonne outposts to the southern (essentially Rhône valley) vineyards of Beaujolais.

The text is actually very interesting once you get past the puffery, as there is detail that you don’t find in modern manuscripts – probably because the information is culled from a generation who still remembered the tracts of vineyard land that were perhaps lost to phylloxera – but those little addressed areas such as the Tonnerrois, Auxerrois, Châtillonais and particularly the Côte du Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais receive wordy treatment with the author listing primary vineyards, many of which that seem to be lost from today’s labels. e.g. a short passage from ‘Beaujolais’:

According to the délimitation cadastrale of 1919, both Moulin-à-Vent and Thorins (each of which is partly in the commune of Chénas and partly in Romanèche-Thorins) were entitled to the appellation ‘Grand Cru’ – a privelige enjoyed by 32 named vineyards of a total of 284 hectares in Moulin-à-Vent (the most famous being the Carquelin, or Grand-Morier, known as ‘le rognon du Moulin’ from its situation), Rochegrès, Combes, La Roche, Les Champs de Cour, Les Savarins, Les Brasses, Les Grolliers, Les Caves, La Rochelle and Vérillats, and 46 named vineyards, covering 291 hectares, in the case of Thorins.

There is (before the AOC appendix) some attempt at classifying vineyards: Chablis is quite straightforward with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class wines. The first class list extends to La Moutonne, Les Vaudésirs, Clos, Valmur, Les Grenouilles, Blanchots, Pointe des Preuses and Pointe des Bougros. Preuses and Bougros themselves are second class. Bringing up the rear are “the wines of Clichet and Milly (Lechet), together with the wines known as Chablis village and Petit Chablis”. As for the Côte d’Or, the author makes a large table and tries to make a distillation of the work of Lavalle, Danguy et Aubertin and Camille Rodier using the ‘Tête de Cuvée’, ‘Premier’, ‘Deuxiemme’ and Troisiemme’ levels.

The appendix on AOC is much more detailed than you will find in most publications, offering allowed vines, alcoholic strengths etc. e.g. for:

Appellation Contrôlée ‘Rosé de Riceys’: (Aube): decree of Dec 1947.
This appellation is confined to rosé wines grown in the Commune des Riceys, some 20 miles south of Troyes, from Pinot noir vines to a minimum 75% of the encépagement with a maximum 25% of Svégnié and Gamay. The maximum production allowed is 30 hectolitres per hectare and the musts are required to contain a minimum of 170 grams of grape-sugar per litre and develop not less than 10 degrees of alcohol after fermentation. The production of this rather delicately flavoured wine is very small; it is rarely met outside its more or less immediate area.

Summarising: Whilst P.Morton Shand doesn’t deliver up a personality like that of Harry Waldo Yoxall or Philip Youngman Carter, what he puts on paper is, as you can see, extensive and rather comprehensive for its time. Certainly a book worth picking up for the relatively low outlay required in a ‘pre-owned’ bookstore.

PS – anyone ever heard of Svégnié?

offer of the day – henry boillot 2007…

DOMAINE HENRI BOILLOT – millésime 2007

MEURSAULT 2007 37,5cl 29.00 Swiss francs
MEURSAULT 2007 75cl 54.00
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 2007 37,5cl 30.00
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 2007 75cl 56.00

MEURSAULT Les Charmes 2007 75cl 85.00
MEURSAULT Les Genevrières 2007 75cl 89.50
MEURSAULT Les Perrières 2007 75cl 95.00
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Perrières 2007 75cl 89.50
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Clos de La Mouchère 2007 37,5cl 47.00
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Clos de La Mouchère 2007 75cl 89.50
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Caillerets 2007 75cl 89.50
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Pucelles 2007 75cl 99.00

CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 2007 75cl 149.00
BATARD MONTRACHET 2007 75cl 295.00
MONTRACHET 2007 75cl 499.00

BEAUNE Clos du Roi 2007 75cl 59.50
VOLNAY Les Fremiets 2007 75cl 75.00
VOLNAY Les Caillerets 2007 75cl 79.00

So – what to say? Beaune Clos du Roi 2x the price of the Bouchard Père version. Corton-Charlemagne 25% higher than Bonneau du Martray, Montrachet another 100 francs per bottle even than Louis Jadot’s aspirational 2007 prices. I probably can’t quibble too much with the Meursault Perrières pricing at 95 SFr given that I paid 89 for the stunning Pierre Morey 2006 – but it will have to be amazing. Another list that I’m afraid is (in my humble opinion) disconnected from reality…

nicolas potel 1999 volnay 1er en chevret

Nicolas Potel 1999 Volnay 1er En Chevret

Nicolas Potel 1999 Volnay 1er En Chevret

1999 Nicolas Potel Volnay 1er Cru En Chevret try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. Deep dark, brambly fruit at the core, pepper at the top and just below there are hints of toffee and dark chocolate. In the mouth the acidity is faintly prickly which accentuates the tannin a little, but it’s padded with some fat and shows a little burst of red fruit in the mid-palate and more creamy edge in the finish. Every bottle from this case has so far had an unruly edge, but has been brim full of personality and complexity. Great fun still…
Rebuy – Yes

drouhin central – 1999 chambolle-musigny 1er

Joseph Drouhin 1999 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

Joseph Drouhin 1999 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

Not wanting to bore you with a long list of Drouhins, I’ll make sure that the next bottle is from someone else, but here is a ‘domaine’ bottling that I often find rather subdued on release, but this shows quite some class – normally a blend of 5 different 1ers – Hauts-Doix, Borniques, Noirots, Plantes and Combottes.
1999 Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru try to find this wine...
Medium cherry-red colour. The nose is deep, just a little plummy at the base and higher-up has lovely red cherry fruit – it just misses a little higher perfume. A really lovely extra dimension of fruit flavour that becomes more intense in the mid-palate and is borne on excellent acidity, except that it has a slightly sharp edge. The tannin is an understated fine grain as you head into mineral finish. Tightens-up considerably in the glass after about 1 hour – it becomes only half the wine it was before, so pop, pour and drink, or leave in the cellar another 3-5 years. Not perfect, but very good.
Rebuy – Yes – I’m planning on buying a few more.

To finish today’s ‘Drouhin Bulletin’ 3 more things that may interest you:

  1. Drouhin have a shiny new website
  2. I have added their recent thoughts on the 2008 vintage to the last post about the harvest
  3. Finally some vineyard acquisition news from them, no info on who the vines were acquired from

Domaine Joseph Vineyard Acquisition
As another step towards developing its supply of quality grapes, Maison Joseph Drouhin has decided to purchase a vineyard of Pommard Chanlins.

With their excellent position in the southern part of the appellation, these vines are a welcome addition to the Joseph Drouhin estate, already comprising 73 hectares (183 acres) in the best appellations of Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise.

At the end of last year, Joseph Drouhin had already acquired one hectare of Savigny-les-Beaune and Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Fourneaux.

joseph drouhin charmes-chambertin 1993

I may have been a little disappointed by the first two Drouhin ‘négoce’ bottles, but the third in the series is a real star!
1993 Joseph Drouhin, Charmes-Chambertin try to find this wine...
There’s a deep core of colour here – looks relatively mature. The nose starts deep, sweet and earthy – that’s a great start – concentrated, macerating dark fruit that very slowly gives up a redder berry-note. In the mouth there is intensity, depth and really good acidity – it is a luxurious rather than ‘fat’ impression. The tannin is a mere after-thought and the flavours, with a bitter chocolate edge, linger very well. Despite it being more than 15 years since it was harvested, it’s still a young wine, but clearly it’s in an early phase of maturity and certainly drinkability! A clear ‘rebuy’ with it’s blend of power and elegance. Really super stuff.
Rebuy – Yes
I just ordered a case (yes a whole one!) for 53 Swiss francs a bottle – you can put that into context yourself versus the recent Jadot and Faiveley offers…

joseph drouhin 96 Vosne plus 95 corton

1995 Joseph Drouhin Corton

1995 Joseph Drouhin Corton

I bought 11 mixed bottles of older Joseph Drouhin wines – at seriously great (1999) prices – but that of-course hangs on decent quality and decent storage, hence, only one bottle of each before a rebuy decision. To start with, here’s 2 notes from the opening 3 négoce bottles – a mixed result:
1996 Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour. The nose has a very faintly lifted and coffee tinged impression – it seems quite 1996-ish – underneath is tight red cherry fruit at the core and small impression of prune – as a whole this is actually quite nice. Given time there’s a hint of smoke and dried currants – lovely. Chewing the wine is not so easy given the typical 1996 acidity, but it yields faint but sandy textured tannins. Some impression of maturity to the fruit flavours, but whether you wait 2 or 10 years I’m not sure you will ever get a ‘comfort wine’, it will always fully reflect the vintage, but as someone with who is not acid-averse, no problem for me. Faintly lingering flavours are the last(ing) impression. Clean and quite tasty.
Rebuy – Maybe

14 year-old Corton is typically an adolescent, in combination with the 1995 vintage, that seems reinforced…
1995 Joseph Drouhin, Corton try to find this wine...
Medium ruby-red colour – perhaps a little muddy. For the first 2 hours this is a ‘so what’ wine, a nose that seems a little roast and shows flavours that offer little interest and no charm. Very slowly the nose takes on a little width, and whilst far from effusive seems a little fresher. The palate slowly becomes fatter and develops more complexity – its best ‘angle’ is certainly the mix of lingering flavours, though the acidity and tannin are pretty good.
Rebuy – No

1998 denis mortet gevrey-chambertin

1998 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin

1998 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin

I’ve opened one of these almost every year since release – it’s rare that I buy a 12-bottle case, but occasionally ‘research’ is important! Frankly, due to the oak treatment this has been a roller-coaster ride. Last year I didn’t think so highly of the wine, the year before, perhaps, being it’s peak – yet this year it’s on decent form again.
1998 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
The colour is quite deep, but showing plenty of age with a little mahogany cast. The nose is complex with high and low tones; ash, coconut, deeper faintly reductive notes and some sweetness of fruit at its core. Excellent acidity though with a late metallic impression. Decent length, resolved tannin and some reasonable sweet fruit. Interesting and more balanced than the the last time out, less marked by the oak, though the base is still obvious.
Rebuy – Maybe

It seems I’ve been rather tardy in keeping you abreast of Burgundy ‘chatter’ on the interweb, so here’s a list of recent reads:

  • Red Burgundies at BB&R
  • Medieval chunks of iron-work from David Clark
  • Burgundy’s ‘best’ from Eric Asimov
  • Finally, Alix de Montille, courtesy of Bert

2x charles thomas vosne-romanée 1er malconsorts

Charles Thomas Vosne-Romanée 1er Les MalconsortsDomaine Thomas-Moillard Profile

Charles Thomas Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts

Ha! Someone, probably me, had put these two bottles out of sight in the cellar – perhaps with the aim of prolonging their stay – but that was thwarted! Frankly both are rather tight so that today their delivery of drinking ‘pleasure’ is curtailed, yet both are well put together, have decent concentration and no real faults. If you see them at a good price you should definitely try them – the €50 asked by the domaine is borderline high for today’s quality – but if I was to position some of the ‘producers’, I would put Bichot/Clos Frantin, Potel and also the occasional Remoriquet higher for absolute performance – I don’t know the Lamarche or Hudelot-Noellat versions. The lighter, stemmier Bourée bottling is a very nice one but a completely different style. So watch out for the 06’s and particularly beyond as they will have received the Pascal Marchand / Bernard Zito treatment!

Anyway – I never seem to have an easy ride with these Charles Thomas wines; there was the corked then strangely smelly 2001 (my last 1998 was put down the drain) and here the capsule seemed tightly glued down, though there was no wine discolouration of the cork below. That was just the start, neither waiter’s friend nor Screwpull would dislodge the cork, only the ‘ah-so’ saved the day – and that from a young wine direct from the producer.
2002 Charles Thomas, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose had a little bottle-stink, but that was gone in a couple of minutes. There’s a little of that beefy aroma that I disliked on day 1 of the 2001, but it’s better balanced with sweet, spicy red fruit, eventually nice creamy-edged redcurrant for the last drops in the glass. It’s a little tight and acid-forward, though the impression is of a wine that expands into an intense mid-palate. The tannin comes quite late to the scene and has a little rasp – though it’s understated. Tight and young but a bottle that looks like it has a decent future. Worth buying a couple.
Rebuy – Yes
2005 Charles Thomas, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. A nose that remains compact over the three hours the wine lasts; complex, creamy fruit with a nice acidic redcurrant lift. Like a many, many 05’s it’s now acid-forward in stance, though the tannin remains completely submerged. The fruit is completely primary and in the redcurrant, raspberry area rather than cherry or darker fruit. Clean and understatedly long. I already see some transition from the older vintages.
Rebuy – Yes

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