Why Big Red Diary?


1997 Nicolas Potel, Volnay
This nose starts a little bulky but given time it opens – becoming an absolute belter! – really complex, alluring and a little floral too. The palate like the nose, also starts a little bulky – monolithic even – the acidity is a little forward and unbalanced. Unlike the nose, these two traits remain completely consistent. Maybe just this bottle (I have other opportunities to check this) but not a balance to enjoy – a shame because the nose is beautiful cliché Volnay…
Rebuy – No

2006 Louis Chenu Père et Filles, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Talmettes
Hmm – lovely, fine, wide, simmering red fruit with a little sweetness and a suggestion of roses. Wide across the palate, modest intensity but beautifully balanced wine. Delicious, airy, never profound but always satisfying wine. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

weekend corkscrew work – week 14 2018

A little late out of the blocks – so more of a reminiscence than real notes:

1998 Christian Adine, Chablis 1er Montmain
Not a name that I know, half-blind (I knew it was Chablis) the aromas shouted 2008 to me – but it was a 1998! From magnum, but still in a beautiful condition – what a super wine to have so much of – mineral yet comfortable – an easy rebuy – if ever seen!
Rebuy – Yes

1990 Maurice Chapuis, Corton-Charlemagne
I opted to decant this from the start – as it turned out, despite an almost caramel colour, there were no oxidative notes to dissipate. Big wine, rich and ripe wine – with balance though. I would never have guessed that it was a Charlemagne, but a well-preserved, totally mature wine of plenty of interest was never in doubt. Good wine!
Rebuy – Maybe

1995 Gérard Mugneret, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Wax-topped – the domaine doesn’t do that anymore. The nose was deep, leafy, almost textured but at the same time rather inviting – still, not a cliché pretty/floral Chambolle. In the mouth too, a wine of power and modest tannic rusticity to the texture – but also of depth and full interest. Relatively mature but will hold for as long as you like on this performance. Tasty wine!
Rebuy – Maybe

jogging around beaune yesterday

The rain actually stopped in the morning, so a jog seemed appropriate in the afternoon – 15 km around Beaune/Pommard – Strava seemed to take the regular photo-opportunity stops in its stride!

a few pics from yesterday…

All Côte de Nuits, mainly in-between the rain-storms:

guy castagnier’s 1999 clos de la roche

1999 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
Having tried the 97 and 98 in the last 10 days it seemed only fair to open one of these 99s too. I bought a couple of 6-packs way-back-when, and I may have already finished one of them – this the first from the next case.
The nose is far from forward but has very fine and pure fruit of great direction. It’s the same on the palate – a joyous line of crystal-pure dark-red, mouth-watering fruit with super persistence. My first glass empties very quickly. Subsequent glasses have aromas that sometimes betray a faint whiff of brett – then they are clean again – maybe time to start drinking these then – and why not, this bottle was emptied the night it was opened – usually the best of signs. Super wine.
Rebuy – Yes

Plus some wines recently tasted blind with (mainly) Grand Cru company – the grand crus will appear in my April Report – notes as written before seeing the wines:

2005 Robert Denogent, Pouilly-Fuissé La Croix Vieilles-Vignes
White 1 – Older colour. The nose has a sweet vibration and a suggestion of oxidative development – but it remains a great invitation. More direct over the palate than the nose suggests, but still with an engaging blend of fresh and sweet. Quite narrow into the finish. Eventually a super nose and a more modest palate – apparently mature and delicious but not profound – from the Mâcon?

2015 Buisson-Charles, Meursault 1er Les Cras
White 2 – A young nose, wide, not so deep but clearly this is a very inviting and fine wine. Supple, deep, a little oak – quite young and rich, plenty of minerals and long. Excellent and young – Chassagne 1er? After being told I could clearly smell the ginger spice on the nose, silly me – oh well.

2015 Buisson-Charles, Meursault Vieilles-Vignes de 1945
White 3 – A sweeter and more mature core of aroma. Wide, melting flavour, richness but with great mouth-watering balance. Long – super again – a great set of whites here. This has tension – from Puligny? Even when revealed, I couldn’t see the ‘Meursaultness’ but I could still see great wine – I rated it higher than the 1er cru!

2015 Buisson-Charles, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Hautes Coutures
Red 5 – Bright, fresh and very much younger aroma than previous bottles – with fine pure kirsch notes. Wide, pure, very fruity – a baby. Lots of volume, good concentration, very fruit forward but with balanced acidity. Long and super but a grand cru? I don’t think so…

2003 Bourgogne-Devaux, Pommard
Red 6 – Wide, vibrantly deep red fruit aromas, less pure than the last due to some residues of oak. More richness of texture, more concentration, much more maturity of flavour. A good older wine – – also probably not (a good!) grand cru.

the 2018 vintage so far…(!)

Thunder, lightening, heavy rain and even the occasional rainbow in Morey St.Denis this afternoon.

Well, it’s already April, and we have passed the the poisson d’avril so maybe it’s safe to ask about 2018…

I was with Charles Lachaux in the torrential rain this morning, so I put the question to him; ‘Given the cold, ice and snow of February and March, is 2018 a little behind the average growth-cycle today?’

Well, we have definitely seen plenty of rain so far this year, but I would rather say that we are neither early or late, I see a traditional, normal, vintage so far. With a normal summer we would be harvesting somewhere between mid and late-September. Of-course, with all this rain we are only going to need a few days of 20°C-plus and the vines will explode with growth…

Yep, the start of the year has, indeed, been been very wet:

weekend corkscrew work – week 13 2018 – part 2

I think it’s important never to be under-wined. For that reason, given 7 of us, I thought 3 magnums plus two bottles should have been enough – but it seems we were a sober lot – one bottle of white was only half drunk – though it was anyway time for the reds – and there was plenty of wine left in the first red magnum too when we called time. The 81 Corton Rognets will have to wait for another venue!

Gilles & Romain Collet Cremant de Bourgogne Brut
Other bottles recently drunk at home have been based on the 2015 Chablis vintage, this, however, is based on the 2014 vintage. From memory there’s no less sweetness than those bottles. Everybody – including me – said ‘yum!’ Delicious, and inexpensive too.
Rebuy – Yes

The 1999 Sylvie Spielmann, Engelgarten Riesling had a very young colour and lots of freshness. Quite complex and a little creamy in the finish – it would have benefited from a little extra concentration – light but not inconsequential. Tasty wine. The 2014 St.Urbans-Hof, Piesporter Goldtropfchen had much more concentration and depth of flavour – it was much the sweeter of these two wines too. Very delicious wine.

2002 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er La Romanée
The first from a pack of 3 magnums.
Rather a smoky nose – there are vestiges of oak on the palate too – I assume that this was significantly marked by its elevage when younger. Now it retains those accents, but has freshness, width and an attractive complexity. Not earth-shattering wine by any means, but a more than adequate wine – the small glasses didn’t help matters, but when you are away from home, you can’t control everything! Good.
Rebuy – Maybe

Despite being a resident of Bern for a few years now, I was never in the Munster – you really get to feel the history as you look over the wooden pews with the crests of families that have used those seats for generation – and you can see where the old crest has been replaced with a new one as the ‘owners’ of those seats change over the generations – but not the seats themselves! A couple of pics from the Alpine Museum of Bern too – one, of the Jungfrau was captivating in the viewfinder of my phone – completely 3D!

last week’s icymi

A few interesting things I spotted of the course of last week:

  1. Domaine Olivier Merlin: Corinne and Olivier Merlin’s 15 hectare domaine with vines in the Mâconnais and Moulin à Vent has new personnel. Sons Paul and Theo Merlin, both winemakers, have joined their parents – their first vintage will be 2018.
  2. Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux: By Jamie Goode. I might already say ‘risen’ rather than rising, but all good(e)!
  3. Domaine François Gaunoux: By Ed Zimmerman (in Forbes). Really an iconoclastic domaine with very impressive wines – despite zero oak – just let them breathe. Profiled in these pages last year.
  4. When London goes mad – Burgundy Week: By Jancis Robinson.


weekend corkscrew work – week 13 2018 – part 1

2007 Alex Gambal, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
The nose starts with a little reduction – the flavour too – but it doesn’t need much time to dislodge that. There’s not the same concentration as the 2006 Marechale from mid-week, but there is a more open, airy, and complex bright flavour/aroma package here. Today this is a much more attractive proposition in the glass – lovely stuff. Day two, the last half is just purring, showing a hint more oak but also a fuller and rounder shape with pure delicious flavour – excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Nicolas Burguet, Bourgogne Aligoté
Info on this domaine in the next (March) Burgundy Report.
Medium lemon-yellow colour. An attractive width of aroma, not so much depth. Round but still with lots of freshness, directly delicious and with an added creamy complexity in the citrus finish. Just delicious wine – the type that suddenly you find that the bottle is empty – how did that happen?
Rebuy – Yes

1997 Chezeaux/Ponsot, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Unlike the 97 Griotte from here (opened a couple of weeks ago) this long cork has no notes of oxidation – likewise the wine, Showing beautifully mature notes, if not the initial dried leaves impact of the Griotte. You could call the wine a little troubled – as it’s cloudy – but it was plucked straight from the case without any time standing, so who knows if it’s the wine or my clumsy handling. Air brings a very attractive sweet and pure red cherry core to the aroma, and an almost smoky minerality. Plenty of mouth-filling volume – sweet and with good drive from the acidity, ending with slow waves of flavour moving into the finish. This is a super drop! Like the cork, nothing oxidative about this particular bottle even 1 hour after opening. Fabulous, ready, Chambolle.
Rebuy – Yes

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