Why Big Red Diary?

2006, 2005, 1962 – it must be the weekend

After chickening out of opening the 1961, the 1962 seemed a different kettle of fish – higher fill, clearer and below the capsule it smelled more like mushrooms than oxidation, so….

1962 Maison Leroy Meursault – some oxidation for sure but plenty of white-chocolate, truffles and lanolin in the mid-palate and finish – caught just in time – okay not just in time, still alive, just about some warmth in the body but lots of redeeming features! Then there was a Jomain 2005 Puligny Perrières – very young colour and flavour – just a little tight but quite fine. Then Louis-Michel Liger-Belair’s 2006 Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château – medium-pale colour but super flavour and width – it drank very well indeed.

I’d rebuy both the Jomain and the Liger-Belair – no chance on the Leroy, but a better bottle. for the price paid – absolutely!

I’ve no idea what I can pull out of the bag next weekend!

1961 leroy chassagne (blanc) – no redeeming features?

leroy-61-chassagneA bit of fun today: Earlier this year I picked up two old Leroy négoce bottles at an auction. The one pictured (right) looks like it has no redeeming features – save for quite a nice old label; the wine is low in the shoulder, not perfectly bright and the colour is (optimistically) only light brown. Cutting the capsule you are met by the wonderful (not!) aroma of oxidation. I’m not going to extract the cork for a couple of hours.

Still, waiting in the wings is a bottle with less ullage, a brighter colour and only the smell of mushrooms under the capsule, of-course it’s a much younger wine – 1962 Meursault! I’ll see how it goes…

2008 des croix beaune 1er pertuisots

The last of my small collection of des Croix 2008s for ‘testing’:

2008 des Croix, Beaune 1er Pertuisots
Medium, medium-plus colour. There’s a hint of herb, but essentially the nose starts deeper and darker than the Cent Vignes, perhaps it’s that faint note of reduction, but this certainly has the classical 2008 darker fruit! As the wine opens it more clearly shows the family (cuverie) relationship to the Cent Vignes as the aromas become redder and an more floral – very nice indeed. This is much more about up-front intensity, a hint of oak and much more than a hint of acidity – this will need a little unwinding. I’d say about an hour of aeration is needed for a more balanced interpretation – it’s the Cent Vignes with more ‘bang’ – not necessarily better, just different. I have a slight preference for the CV but wouldn’t turn either of these down…
Rebuy – Yes

a better 05 st.aubin…

Clearly I couldn’t say that the last bottle was p.oxed only that it was just a bit oxidised, likewise I can’t say there won’t be a problem because tonight’s bottle is a good one – but at least tonight’s IS a good one – I’ll rest there.

Some nice flowers in the hanging basket this week – anyone want to fill me in on the variety?


2008 des croix beaune 1er cent vignes

Trying another of David Croix’s monks…

2008 des Croix, Beaune 1er Cent Vignes
Medium colour. Here’s a nose with something to say; faint spearmint above very, very pretty red fruit that’s eventually augmented by the perfume of violets – far from over the top, but captivating – the mint eventually becoming just a suggestion of herbs. In the mouth there’s a sorbet-edge to the acidity and understated red fruit – delicate and complex. It seems to fade relatively quickly but holds on well to a final mineral note. The tannin is only there if you search it out, very faintly astringent. This is an achingly pretty wine that blind, who’s to say it’s not from Volnay…
Rebuy – Yes

a couple from the weekend…

Ignoring a rather splendid bottle of 1995 Koonunga Hill, I mainly sat out the 32°C heat with a couple of 2006 Bourgogne Blancs this weekend.

There are already plenty of notes for them in this site’s NoteFinder so I won’t add anything formal – both drank well – but if I’m honest I slightly preferred the Alex Gambal to the Pierre Morey. The Gambal had just a little more impact – perhaps in the manner of Chassagne which I often prefer to Meursault – only thinking out loud, I didn’t look to see if I’d noted the origin of eithers grapes. Anyway both were very good for the label, but I’m happy that I bought more of the Gambal – still, supplies are on the wane – perhaps I’ll have to pick-up a case of the 2008 at the end of the month when next in town!

brilliant 2009 rosé, less brilliant 2005 st.aubin…

I didn’t have time to write about it before I went to Beaune, but on Sunday we drank a very, very impressive rosé.

It was a 2009 made by David Croix for Domaine des Croix; It was 100% pinot noir, a saignée from their 2009 Beaune 1er Les Cents Vignes (overnight so about 8 hours) fermented and then placed in a tank outside in the cold to ensure no malolactic fermentation. The tank actually spent much of the cold 2009/2010 winter with a semi-insulating cover of snow! So we have in our glass a very pretty medium-pale pink wine that didn’t go through malo, hence, had a pH of around 3.25. There was a bentonite fining and no filtration.

Apparently about 1,000 bottles of this screw-capped rosé were made, and none remain – I’m not a bit surprised! The aromatics are drop-dead gorgeous – full of violets and fainter red fruit. Let the wine warm in the glass and it starts to get a little fat, but direct from the refrigerator it was joy. Unfortunately it looks like I’ll have to wait for the 2010 if I want some more bottles!

That was Sunday, Thursday I opened a 2005 St.Aubin 1er Dents du Chien from Françoise et Denis Clair – it’s quite disappointing. I know all the other bottles from this case have been quite okay, but this one has some oxidative aromas. A dodgy cork, or real p.ox – it would be unfair to conjecture based on only one instance – but I won’t wait around for the remaining bottles….

the last days; in the côtes, herzog & de meuron, vitra – the usual stuff….

Monday was a beautiful day in the Côtes – around 30°c.

I visited 2 new producers and caught up with another 2, getting home just in time to watch Brazil wrap up their passage to the quarter-final.

Yesterday I visited the high-end furniture producer Vitra – they are based just over the border from me in Germany – a cool Herzog & de Meuron designed place, it’s like Ikea for millionaires I suppose 😉
I thought I’d share a few photos…

2006 rhys alpine vineyard


The Prince of Pinot needn’t worry – I won’t make a habit of it – but this is rather good….

2006 Rhys, Alpine Vineyard
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts all baked red fruit, perhaps faint Geranium too, then it takes on a more stemmy dimension – not in the gothic manner of l’Arlot or some Dujac of similar age – rather the balance that both those (and Bourée come to think of it) can achieve with about 6 or 7 years bottle age – so the early integration here is mega-commendable. With each sniff I think I can put my finger on something specific, but each time I return it’s changed again – certainly a little sweet, stewed rhubarb (I like rhubarb). In the mouth this has a slightly plush, but not fat texture – the tannin is of a very soft velvet but the mid-palate into the finish, despite majoring on sweet barrel flavours, is epic – very impressive indeed, both dimension and super-long. If I blindly look at all my benchmarks, I might guess a Dujac Combottes from a ripe but just about balanced vintage, perhaps 2006 but riper. Really excellent wine.
Rebuy – Yes

2008 des croix beaune

2008 des Croix, Beaune
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a lovely thing; it’s not overly effusive or very deep, but it’s a thing of detail and clarity – initially some whiffs of wood but an hour afterwards quite beguiling dark red fruit. In the mouth, like many 08s, it’s freshness personified and may not be to the taste of everyone, but like the nose there are middle-weight fruit flavours that are a clarion of clarity. The finish is, no surprise, driven by the acidity. For my taste there’s ‘just’ enough balance today, it’s precise and enjoyable, but it’s not for lovers of sweetly plush wines, it could be a tougher proposition in its ‘middle years’ though.
Rebuy – Maybe

1993 daniel bocquenet echézeaux


So that’s three 93’s drunk and three I would buy again. Unfortunately, for those that don’t like to follow hierarchies, these three fit exactly the conventional wisdom – the villages is unlikely to get much better, the 1er should get better and certainly has more primary fruit and dimension. Then there’s this (often maligned) grand cru – it’s still embryonic, and I think it’s a shame I have only one more bottle…

1993 Daniel Bocquenet, Echézeaux
Medium-plus colour. The nose opens with a dense core of dark red/black fruit with a sweet coffee addition – relatively young aromas of pretty and sweet fruit dominate though. In the mouth this is all silk and linearity. Certainly it’s intense in the mid-palate and the linear flavours are borne long on the acidity but despite having to search hard for any overt tannin this is clearly a baby. Return in 5+ years…
Rebuy – Yes

1993 cathiard vosne-romanée les suchots


1993 André Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots
Medium mature colour. The nose starts with a depth of soil, a slight tomato lift and then beautiful smooth and fresh red/purple cherry fruit – the cherry gets stronger and stronger in the glass. Silky, slightly fat texture yet perfectly fresh. There’s almost no tannin to find. Initially it’s linear in the mid-palate yet the fruit flavour persists well. Slowly the intensity and dimension of the mid-palate swells. A beautifuly clarity of fruit shines through this wine.
Rebuy – Yes

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