Why Big Red Diary?

lafon’s 2006 monthelie les duresses…

2006 Comtes Lafon, Monthelie 1er Les Duresses
The nose and also the rest of the wine began rather unauspiciously – aromas of meat and a burly, unfriendly flavour profile. Three hours brought some modest reprise – if I opened another, I’d put it in a decanter. ​The transformation on day two (overnight in the fridge) is impressive. The nose is now of attractive, deep fruit. The palate also less compact and more open and enjoyable. Not very interesting on day one, quite good on day two. I will wait a few more years before approaching again.
Rebuy – Maybe

tastevinage v101 – the results

You may have noted some pictures of snow in this dairy, and for that reason I missed this 101st Tastevinage tasting. But for those of you who follow them, here are the wines that ‘won’ Tastevinage labels last Friday.

557 wines were presented to 220 tasters, and 181 wines were deemed good enough. You can find the 181 here.

beaujolais exports grow

For the second year in a row, exports of Beaujolais have grown.

Figures compiled by Business France from French customs data show an increase of 5.7% in volume and 7.8% in value for the year 2017 versus the same in 2016. 40% of the production of Beaujolais is now exported.

Europe accounts for 35% of all exports by volume and 29% by value, growing in 2017 by 11% in volume and 14% in value versus 2016.

The five largest export markets today are, in order: the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom followed by Canada then China + Hong Kong (together) – this is the first year that China/Hong Kong have entered the top 5, having overtaken Belgium to do so. Of these markets, only Japan showed a reduction in sales – but it was an important 7% reduction in the second largest market outside of France, it is because of this reduction that the United States now have pole position.

the doctor’s baby ruchottes – fragrant, beautiful wine

A wine made from the produce of young vines in Ruchottes-Chambertin. The domaine replanted half of their 0.64 hectare Ruchottes-Chambertin parcel in 2000, the original vines had been planted in 1950 but were not very productive. So this ‘Gevrey-Chambertin’ was the first cuvée of the new vines – from the ‘traditional’ third flowering.

In the first few vintages the wine was declassified to a ‘villages’ label. It’s the best part of 5 years since I last opened one of these and only a couple remain in the cellar – and that’s clearly such a shame! The 2002 and 2005 of this were such great buys despite the high price of entry for what seems ‘just’ a villages wine – unlike the wines in 2003 and 2004, both of which disappointed for the price – it seems that those young vines were more easily compromised by the difficult growing seasons. This bottle once-more emphasises that the half-dozen that I bought from the 2002 vintage simply weren’t enough!

The label for the product of these young vines transitioned from a villages to premier cru in the 2007 vintage, but there was still a Ruchottes-Chambertin produced during these years, only the fruit of the section replanted in 2000 was made into a separate cuvée. From the very low yielding 2012 vintage the young vines were blended with the old – and they have stayed that way ever since.

2002 Dr. Georges Mugneret, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus colour. As pinot goes, here is a wine of barely middleweight aroma and flavour – but what aroma and flavour! The nose has a depth of floral perfume that easily out-points the fruit. In the mouth it’s silken and again so floral, just a hint of finishing oak flavour but it’s such a sweetly delicious wine that there’s hardly a sin that I would not be willing to forgive. Simply outstanding. A performance like this suggests that this wine has entered an early phase of absolute drinkability! Fragrant, beautiful wine…
Rebuy – Yes

Given how fabulously this showed, I was almost tempted to pull out the domaine’s 2001 Clos de Vougeot – but for (just) long enough, I thought better of it!

weekend corkscrew work – week 12 2018

A weekend away, not control over the glassware. The whites showed great, less-so the reds…

​2009 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents de Chien
Half golden. The nose starts with a toast, ends with a riper fruit. In the mouth this has youth and freshness – much more-so than I would have expected – I wouldn’t guess directly 09. The fine texture is almost oily and aniseed inflected in the finish. Such a baby – I’m more delighted than surprised as I’ve at least half a dozen more. Super wine, and long too!
​Rebuy – Yes

2013 Olivier Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champ Canet
Lots of reductive toast to start, then there’s a little noisette, finally a depth of ripe grapefruit with a little crême-brûlée complexity. In the mouth this is directly fresh and complex – no surprise that it’s fresher than the 09 – beautiful acidity and a mid and finishing width of beautiful agrumes. Just super wine – showing absolutely great today!
Rebuy – Yes

2005 Denis Bachelet, Côte de Nuits Villages
The nose starts quite big before settling into a fresh red berry/redcurrant depth – very inviting – more time and there’s a woody, oxidative, aroma that makes me think of Italian wines raised in botti (foudres). Red fruited and direct, long too, like the nose an Italian style of oxidative red fruit through the spine of the wine – particular and very modest for an 05 – but drinkable!
Rebuy – No (this bottle anyway)

2007 Daniel Rion, Vosne-Romanée 1er Beaux-Monts
Modest colour. A deep nose if a little woolly to start, slowly adding some red fruit complexity and background vanilla. The palate is also quite modest with a width of modest red fruit. There’s a pleasant enough finish and a little more interest than the Bachelet, but not much…
Rebuy – No

1998 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
Modest width and intensity, a little mineral depth. Wide, complex, a subtle astringency but a fine width of flavour from the mid into the finish. Very tasty wine here.
Rebuy – Maybe

a little weekend snow and pasta…

After publishing my February report, it was off to the Valais for a Friday on skis (Belalp) then Saturday, just a quick train ride away, in Domodossola (Italy) for a little market action, pasta buying and lunch. I’m ashamed to say that I missed the last 3 ski-seasons, and only hit the slopes right at the end of this one too – perfect weather/visibility and snow – I only had my boots to complain about! There were wines over the weekend too, but more on those tomorrow 🙂

February 2018 Burgundy Report – 2 books and counting…

The fifth of my quintet of 2016 Vintage Burgundy reports is now online for subscribers, namely Beaujolais 2016.

I usually feel inadequate when I hear of 100s of domaines, 1,000s of notes plus maybe 100,000 words delivered in other places, but this time I forced myself to do a little benchmarking: So, so far, my October to February reports covering the 2016 vintage are arranged; Côte d’Or Whites, Côte d’Or Reds, the ‘Grand Maisons,’ Chablis and Beaujolais – amounting to 210 domaines and 2,440 wines – over 180,000 words – there were only 90k words in my book!

I feel better already!

Whilst the core of my Beaujolais report remains those domaines that I’ve slowly discovered through blind tasting, this time I decided to include alternative facets of the market for Beaujolais – there are 9 cave co-operatives and I managed to visit 7 of them. On the opposite side of the market I decided to visit some of the more successful ‘natural’ winemakers; Foillard, Sunier, Thillardon, Dutraive and Lapierre – among others – there is no single truth to good wine!

I hope that you will enjoy. From now until the harvest, my reports will return to the freestyle approach.

two mid-week-ers

2005 Cornu, Savigny Les Saucours
I haven’t popped one of these for about 10 years – maybe a little more – but I’ve a distant memory of it being very good!
Not the deepest colour for a 2005 but still plenty. The aroma is of a fine and frank red berry fruit. Lots of width over the palate, ingraining a certain freshness and intensity. The flavour is excellent, if with a slowly developing, slightly metallic impression. Still relatively young but absolutely accessible – a faint Savigny herb in the finish. Despite the herb and the intensity of this young wine, not a hint of austerity. Very good.
Rebuy – Yes

1997 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
I’ve had such good experiences in the last 6 months with 1997s, so why not!
The nose starts open, clearly quite mature but sweet and attractive – in 30 minutes you may note an extra balsamic impression – so I drink faster! A little fat and lots of silk – the mid and finishing flavours are both wide and persistent. This is simply very tasty wine, and gives enough of an impression that it’s a grand cru too. Devoured rather quickly.
Rebuy – Yes


It may not look like much, but this is Clos de Vougeot ‘Musigni’ – pictured last week…

Just a few things collected in the last days:

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