Why Big Red Diary?

catching up…

berry bros and rudd 1909 price-listRather than (as intended) smoking my keyboard with prose for next weekend’s scheduled Autumn issue of the Burgundy Report, I seem to have spent a whole day trying to catch up on what’s gone on over the last 3 weeks. First I particularly like the post on the Berry Bros weblog that commemorates their 1909 price-list whilst launching the 2009 version.

I didn’t check the 2009 numbers, but I assume they’re higher! Interesting that (below) Romanée-Conti is not so expensive relative to the other (latent) grand crus – I wonder if they still have some of that Chambertain, Clos St.Jacques in the cellar – it’s not impossible – as it sounds rather interesting…

berry bros and rudd 1909 burgundy pricelist

berry bros and rudd 1909 burgundy pricelist

So what else have I spotted(?) Well there’s a nice piece on the 2008 vintage from David Clark here. Note that his perspective is one of a ‘central Côte de Nuits’ producer so as valuable a data-point as it is, it’s only a small part of the 2008 story – I’ll expand next weekend in the new issue.

So what else do we have? Well, amongst others, I’m sure you will need a wine investment strategy! – though I’m not sure it’s appropriate for the scentedBitch Goddess Of Grapes‘, despite good performance in New Zealand, particularly as fine wine prices hit new lows – perhaps the Leroy ‘brand‘ is an antidote(?) but I doubt it given the offer on 1993 Leroys that hit my inbox last week! Clearly wine karma needs improving for most if not all people!

alberic bichotWhile I was away there was the Hospices de Beaune auction. That was bad timing on my part as I was in possession of two lovely invitations to visit and taste old wines – you can’t win them all I suppose. Anthony Hanson’s description of the wines as coming from a ‘Burgundy lover’s vintage’ – well he would wouldn’t he(?) – didn’t help very much, despite them being very pretty wines, but Maison Albert Bichot certainly put their money where their mouth is, and didn’t Albéric look dapper!

It was nice to see someone talking about real Beaujolais whilst I was away – not just once, but twice – so far I’ve avoided the marketing efforts of the ‘nouveau-ers’. Even more surprising is the public discovery of two new regions in burgundy – the Mâconnais and Chalonaise!

I think that’s enough tenuous linking for 1 day…

savour club 1991 chapelle-chambertin

savour club 1991 chapelle-chambertin

I picked up a few bottles of this at a recent auction – for a relative song if they taste halfway good! The Savour Club still exists in Belgium/Germany/France/Switzerland as a wine merchant, though today they don’t seem (as in this case) to be so actively using their own labels and acting as a négociant. These bottles proudly wear a back label saying that the cuvée “est recommandée par Pierre Troisgros, Restauranteur à Roanne aux membres du Savour Club” – apparently Pierre was an ‘advisor’ to the club. Well that’s a big build-up, question is, is the wine any good?
1991 Savour Club, Chapelle-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Differing from the label, the cork is actually printed with Chapelles-Chambertin – perhaps that means it comes from both parts – Chapelle and Gémeux – or maybe not! The colour is medium, medium-plus ruby red with just a little amber showing at the edge. The nose is a wonderfully soft, truffly, eventually mocha affair – swirling will bring out some soil and leaf notes. In the mouth it has sweetness, some fat and soft texture from still present, relatively fine tannin. There’s a nice extra edge of intensity in the mid-palate and ‘just right’ acidity to whisk you into a good, long finish – should it have a bit more grand cru density? – perhaps, but there is quite enough grand cru ‘flavour authority’. Still just a bit of tannic bitterness too. This might be well over 15 years old, and whilst it’s still a lovely drink now, it frankly needs another 3-5 years for full maturity. What a shame there were only 8 bottles of this in the ‘lot’…
Rebuy – Yes

1998 leroy volnay clos des chênes

leroy volnay clos des chênes

The label assumes that you know that ‘Volnay Clos Des Chênes’ is a premier cru as there is no mention of ‘rank’. This is far from a cheap bottle – 70 Swiss francs – but the tariff is in-line with several producers’ current 1er cru offerings from the Côte de Beaune, it also has the benefit of another 8 years of aging, though clearly a lot 1998’s needed it…
1998 Maison Leroy, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes try to find this wine...
Deep ruby-red colour. The nose is herbal and meaty with background sweetness and quite some sense of maturity. In the mouth there is the rasp of ’98 tannins, but they are rather a background element. More to the fore is the sweet but freshly packaged fruit – quite some secondary flavour development again with some of that herbal element and lots of sweet and wide mid-palate flavour. Complex and very well balanced with plenty of time on it’s side it’s a world away from 2005/2006’s but that’s no negative. This is actually not bad value for a Leroy and I may indeed buy a couple more for 5-10 years down the line.
Rebuy – Yes

louis jadot 2005 beaune 1er clos des ursules

louis jadot 2005 beaune 1er clos des ursules

Hmm, it’s a couple of weeks since I had a nice bottle, this really made up for it!
2005 Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Clos des Ursules try to find this wine...
Medium-plus ruby-red colour with some purple still at the rim. The nose starts robustly, full with dark fruit – similar to the 2005 Pierre Morey Bourgogne – but offering a purer darker core of fruit – time in the glass gives this a narrower, more blueberry impression. Though well balanced, the palate seems rather tight, though the extra mid-palate dimension and corresponding length is on a super level, it really does linger. A super bottle.
Rebuy – Yes

back from cuba

Our itinery took in a few days in Havana and a few days at the beach plus a 2-day unexpected 500km detour to the west to avoid the rage of hurricane Paloma. As an aside, Thomas Cook (Deutschland) decided to move us for safety’s sake, whereas Thomas Cook (UK) left all their UK customers in the hotel that was (in theory) in the path of Paloma…

A quick summary?

Well, there’s so much history associated with the place, and the architechture in Havana that’s still standing (nothing to do with Paloma!) is fantastic – but that’s a small proportion! The people are super – plenty of hustling but a simple no thanks brings an ‘okay, enjoy your day’ and off they trott. In the city you seem to be able to walk around wherever you like at whatever time you like – no worries. Oh, and the beaches are super!

Any complaints? Well the food tends to be quite bland despite the proximity of the sea, and service also tends to be amateuristic. Overall it was worth the trip.

holiday time


It’s time for a break.

Back with updates from 20th November, and who knows – maybe the Autumn issue will also be out before the clock strikes December!

nicholas rossignol volnay 1er santenots 2005

nicholas rossignol volnay 1er santenots 2005

It would be hard to guess that this came from the same vineyard as the recent Faiveley Santenots. The Faiveley was more butch, and perhaps longer – an ‘hommage’ to the style of Lafon – but the width and complexity of fruit here seems more ‘Volnay’ though the oak needs to fade a little more. Today I’d drink the Faiveley, tomorrow the Rossignol, though at the weekend I’m not sure – choice is no bad thing!
2005 Nicolas Rossignol, Volnay 1er Santenots try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour with some purple still at the rim. The nose was overwhelmed by dark, slightly toasty oak for the first couple of minutes, wait and there’s a lovely width of beautiful fruit but it unfortunately still holds onto a slightly reductive-style oak base. Good intensity, and again the fruit is lovely, complex and occasionally shows a little creamy edge. Very well balanced but again with plenty of background reduction/oak – that said, it’s almost gone after about 90 minutes. This is lovely and if the oak fades further, it will be even better than that! For drinking now, open 2 hours before, or decant 20 minutes then pour.
Rebuy – Yes

pierre morey with wilson daniels films…

After the Faiveley video, here’s one about Pierre Morey

lignier-michelot morey st.denis vieilles vignes 2003

lignier-michelot morey saint denis vieilles vignes 2003

2003 Lignier-Michelot, Morey St.Denis Vieilles Vignes try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. The nose is forward, maybe a hint porty and certainly very ripe but generally the fruit talks of pinot. Ripe, plenty of concentration and very well mannered tannin. The understated acidity provides good balance and just enough freshness. It’s riper than I prefer, but if the nose talks of pinot then fruit on the palate clearly says burgundy. A good effort.
Rebuy – Maybe

louis latour 2005 gevrey-chambertin

louis latour 2005 gevrey chambertin

I don’t often buy wines from Maison Latour, and whilst I’ve had so-so bottles from them, it has more been due to lack of local availability than quality reasons. Now I’ve found a relatively close merchant, so two or three bottles might appear over the next days.
2005 Louis Latour, Gevrey-Chambertin try to find this wine...
Medium-plus colour. The first sniff seems architypal Gevrey; dark fruit against an earthy, almost grainy nose. With open time it becomes higher toned with more red fruit, seems much softer if a little less interesting. Decent concentration and certainly it’s more red-fruited in the mouth. Good acidity and late appearing tannin with a little grain. Not the glossy fruit and concentration of many 2005 Gevreys, but at a decent price this is worth buying.
Rebuy – Maybe

lignier-michelot 2004 chambolle les gammaires

lignier-michelot chambolle musigny gammaires

2004 Lignier-Michelot, Chambolle-Musigny Les Gammaires try to find this wine...
Medium, medium-plus cherry-red colour. The nose is understated but shows good depth and there’s no ‘2004 character’. In the mouth it’s serious, with good mid-palate dimension and a good persistence of ripe flavour. Very nice – I bought some more.
Rebuy – Yes

françois et denis clair, 2006 santenay

2006 F et D Clair, Santenay try to find this wine...
Medium cherry-red colour. A very nice width of high-toned fruit on the nose, slowly it takes on a clear red berry complexion. Good depth and a furry texture on the palate. The acidity is nicely balanced and the medium-weight flavours last very well. A six-pack offered for 93 Swiss francs is a bit of a bargain for a wine with such personality.
Rebuy – Yes

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