Why Big Red Diary?

louis latour 05 aloxe-corton 1er chaillots

louis latour aloxe corton 1er chaillots

2005 Louis Latour, Aloxe-Corton 1er Les Chaillots try to find this wine...
Medium colour. Limited high tones but decent depth of sugary red fruit. Medium density, slightly astringent but very fine tannin plus a super expansion of fruit in the mid-palate. This is surprisingly long, though much of that flavour is slightly bitter oak-juice. It’s far from seamless but it’s ebulliant delivery has made a friend of me.
Rebuy – Maybe

burgundy cited in air-rage attack…


not for label drinkers – bouchard’s 2005 mercurey

bouchard pere et fils mercury - new label

Definitely not for label drinkers…

When this arrived I wondered if the beige label design was for a particular market or distribution channel, but it seems that all the Bouchard bottles are now wearing such livery. I know that the old/outgoing labels were far from the height of design extravagance, but if a change was coming, I would have assumed that BP&Fils, with their Champagne House owner might have eeked out a little marketing magic. It’s probably better to concentrate on the wine I suppose…
2005 Bouchard Père et Fils, Mercurey try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. Direct and concentrated fruit on the nose – dark red – little complexity. Nice texture – little overt tannin as it’s covered by the fruit, little overt acidity also but it is always balanced. Like the nose, nothing complex here but it’s perfectly packaged, easy-drinking and yet a concentrated effort. Zero faults apart from the want of a little character today. Will certainly keep and possibly grow in personality.
Rebuy – Maybe

pierre guillemot savigny-serpentières 1er cru

pierre guillemot savigny-serpentières 1er cru

2005 Pierre Guillemot, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Sepentières try to find this wine...
Medium, medium plus colour. The nose needs about 1 hour before it starts to become interesting; always clean but initially inconsequential, it gradually acquires gravitas with quality red fruit over a faint base of coffee. The palate starts quite roughly – carbon dioxide is to blame. Like-wise an hour from opening it is velvety, with plenty of kind tannin and good forward acidity. It is narrow in the mid-palate and narrows further into the finish. I would suggest this as being rather tight. From being uncouth and ‘short’ in the first 30 minutes to becoming ever-more engaging, this wine slowly won me over. Probably 80/100 if freshly opened at a big tasting, 90 if you are prepared to sit, wait and negotiate. I’d leave remaining bottles at least 6-8 years.
Rebuy – Yes

You can even see a video of Pierre Guillemot in Jacques Perrin’s blog-page

two 2001 malconsorts – one was definitely mal

malconsorts bouree vosne romanee

I decided to open this pair over the weekend; both négociants, but in this case the Thomas is a ‘domaine’ wine – these are the vines which are now exploited by de Montille. Unfortunately I didn’t have a bottle of the Clos Frantin wine handy as their 01 was early in the Bichot renaisance and, from memory, is a very nice wine. First points went to the Bourée – the extracted cork smelled of sweet fruit, that of the Thomas had only bottle stink – actually it was worse than stink, it was taint. I’ll be taking that one back to Nuits in January for a replacement. Even more reason for being sad that I didn’t also have the Frantin bottle…
2001 Pierre Bourée, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose, whilst still reasonably primary, sets high expectations; heavy with red fruit concentrate against higher tones of stems and, if you don’t swirl, an understated pot-pourri of herbs. In the mouth there is some fat, then acidity that finishes just a little tart – like under-ripe – before a very nice extra dimension of creamy fruit. The understated finish, whilst long, seems to pick-up a slightly metallic note from that acidity. I’ve never been acid averse, so despite this being less than perfect, there’s enough character here for me to buy a couple more (it’s anyway a good price) for later reflection.
Rebuy – Yes

2001 Charles Thomas, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. Classic TCA that didn’t fade an inch in 3 hours. The palate below the taint seemed not so bad, typical Moillard chunky rusticity offset by good depth.

05 thierry mortet gevrey-chambertin

thierry mortet

2005 Thierry Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium colour. None of the lovely fruit notes of the 2004, rather a darker, quite sumptuous effect. Dense, but it’s a cushioned concentration and there’s super depth of creamy fruit. completely buried structure today. Lovely, though it will be a long wait for complexity…
Rebuy – Yes

04 thierry mortet gevrey-chambertin


The garden looked pretty with snow, so I pulled out a hearty, warming 2004 – oops, should have been the 2005. Never-mind. I can open that at the weekend.
2004 Thierry Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium colour. The nose has more than a hint of 2004 about it, plenty of high-toned cedar but a quick swirl displays the frankly lovely red berry/cherry fruit below. In the mouth it’s a little mineral and perhaps a hint flimsy in the concentration department, but despite that, the flavours are really long in the finish. Slowly the palate’s texture apparently thickens with concentration. If you’re immune to the 2004 cedar it’s a buy.
Rebuy – No

experimenting with harvest dates

A bit of fun from David Clark – will be interesting to follow….

05 rapet p&f pernand-vergelesses 1er les vergelesses

rapet pernand vergelesses 1er les vergelesses

2005 Rapet Père et Fils, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Les Vergelesses try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose only gives hints of interest in the first minutes, but gradually offers up a beautiful mix of raspberry and violets with occasional traces of caramel, but these pretty aromas come and go. A very soft entry – maybe just a little too soft – but smooth tannin and decent acidity. The flavour gently builds into the mid-palate and decays just as gently. In the middle the fruit is clean, has reasonable depth and some extra creamy dimension. So I’m not sure about this – lovely aromatics and very pretty fruit, but I felt it somehow just a little too soft.
Rebuy – Maybe

burgundy: a sales slump but still a ‘power’ boost

Burgundy wine sales slump due to UK squeeze…
Burgundy wine has become the latest casualty of the financial crisis, with producers bemoaning a slump in sales to the UK.


Rather underlining that point and market move is the 25% discounting of 2006 Burgundies announced by one well-known importer into the US. Some might try to spin the message that it is due to the renewed strength of the dollar, but the strengthening is only 8% in the last calendar year (0.7 to 0.76 €/$) same as when they will have been negotiating 2006 prices, and exactly where it was 2 years ago. The discount is because the wines are not selling…

And from today’s Liv-ex report on fine wine:

Around 20%, sometimes more, has been knocked off the peak prices of Bordeaux’s leading labels – a result of both their high liquidity (they are the easiest wines to sell) and also, as reported in previous surveys, the fact their prices have increased the most in recent years

DRC, Krug and Grange overtake some of the cream of Bordeaux in the Fine Wine Top 100 Power List. Interesting reading…

All Dreams lead to Burgundy

Well, not everyone’s dreams lead them to Burgundy. Much the same, not all roads lead to Burgundy. In that same thought, I can’t imagine not going to France to make wine. Not too long ago I was on the less exciting side of a Harvest. Just waiting for it kept me up at night. I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty, to see the fruit coming in. And the experience was awe inspiring. Nothing can take away from that.

Now, just to back up a bit, French wines (Burgundy to be exact) were the first wines that set off alarms with me. Californian wines have provided me with many memorable experiences. The ability to age has been at times mind blowing. Yet, with the wines of Burgundy, there is a delicate strength, seductive grace, that just speaks to all of my senses. I have to try to learn how to make something that beautiful. Something that is expected to age. Something that will be given the chance to age, time to develop. I want to make a wine that follows the tradition of a Burgundy or a Rhone. And, I simply cannot do the wine justice by attempting to make a Burgundy or Rhone in California. To me, our local wines are best when they wear their origins on it’s sleeve. At times graceful, other times powerful. Nothing can take away from that. Yet, here in California, I can’t make a Burgundy. And adding my name to the list of others making excellent wines out here does not clear me of this passion and drive that I have for these two specific regions that got me started with this path.

Until recently, this was just a dream. I needed to take a run at it in California first. At first I took a few courses in viticulture at Napa College. After that, I left my job as a stockbroker/financial advisor to pursue wine making. Ed Kurtzman was the one person who would give me a shot. This last year I worked at Freeman Winery and Vineyards in Sebastopol, California and did light duties at August West in San Francisco for a few days. Overall, I worked with Freeman for over five months doing everything from cleaning tanks and barrels to punchdowns, brix sampling and bottling.  I figured that I had to first get dirt under my nails, let pain seep into my back, and earn a few bloody knuckles. I needed to see the work without to silky sheen of romance creating a haze over my view. One thing I have learned is that making wine is never like what you imagine it to be before you actually jump in and do it. No one is waiting to congratulate you when all is done. When the wine is done, hopefully you have learned something that will help in next year’s harvest.

Well, I have been preparing. I have been studying French. Not just the language, but the culture, history and vinification methods. We are set to take a run at it in France. We, as in my family will be taking a small, initial trip to France this coming February to sort things out. I will be going door to door, resume in hand looking for two things: a stagiere (internship) and fruit from Burgundy with the goal of coming back before June for a longer stay. I have been calling France early morning, at times 2am or 3am PST to catch someone for a phone appointment. Speaking French is something I need to get a hold on very quickly if I intend to be taken seriously. Like I say, I can’t guarantee how things will turn out. But, you will all be in on the progress of my journey.

Bill has been nice enough to invite me to be a guest contributor to this site. Burgundy Report has served as an enabler of sorts for me over the years. I’ll do my best to add a real look into what goes on along the way. I intend to maintain the high level of content all the visitor’s are used to reading on this site. In February I will be in Burgundy, sharing my experiences with everyone while I try to lay the groundwork for the chance to work in France. My goals are to learn more of the culture, spend time in the vineyards, study the vinification methods, and lend a solid hand at a Burgundy operation while making my own wine. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you all.

Thanks again for the chance Bill

ponsot 02 morey st.denis 1er clos des monts luisants vv

ponsot morey saint denis clos des monts luisants vieilles vignes

The pic is from my bottle of the 2001, whereas this 2002 by comparison disappoints. Medium gold and plenty of oxidative aromas and flavours. Given that I (the hater of oxidation) still drank 3 glasses, shows there is still something positive to be said for the wine – though this is clearly an aberration – (mainly) aligoté isn’t susceptible to p.ox is it?
2002 Ponsot, Morey St.Denis 1er Clos des Monts Luisants Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium gold. The nose hits you with mild oxidation and a pronounced mineral note. The palate is concentrated and mouth-watering – very long with the help of that acidity too. The oxidation is there in the flavours but on a lower level than the nose. Lots of dimension in the mid-palate but a shame the bottle is spoiled so…
Rebuy – Maybe another bottle

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