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heading to beaune to avoid the cold!

Monday morning I arrive home, planning to head to Chablis for my first appointments on Wednesday – but oups!

7°C in the house. Following a heating-oil delivery, the machine refuses to function, and 7°C is cold, it’s much warmer in the cellar @ 12.5°C! The engineer only gets there at 6pm so I’m dressed like the Michelin-man as I don’t know what time he’ll arrive – and it’s far too cold for typing!

Okay – eventually (seemingly) all is fixed – but I’m not staying as the house will need days to warm-up. Despite the heavy snow, I’m heading to a warmer bed, in Beaune!

Tuesday is snowless and actually quite okay weather in Beaune. It gives me chance to catch up on my typing – a little ;-)

sunday lunch…

Sunday is our last day in the mountains – and its snowing again.

Up (somewhere!) on the hill above Klosters is a nice restaurant and you can sledge back to the town if you like. I don’t know about the sledge, but I’m up for lunch ;-)

moving on…

On the third day I ditched the ‘langlauf’ skis!

I’d pretty much stopped falling over – except when I couldn’t snow-plow those tiny skis on icy snow – but was frustrated by all the ‘skaters’ zooming past me. I was too slow, and a little bored!

But the next day was gorgeously pretty in the next valley in the Engadin – compared to cloudy and snow in our valley – so a really uplifting day walking between the small Engadin villages, with a view towards the Swiss National Park. We really must go back in the summer to do some walking – simply gorgeous scenery and small villages.

to be classic, or not to be classic…

Well, I have to stave of boredom, despite being in the spectacularly pretty mountains. Okay not that pretty today due to cloud and snow!

So if I can’t do downhill, what about cross-country? And then the vexed question of skating or ‘classic.’ I decide that I’m the classic type and take a lesson – I’ve never done it before!

The next hour-plus I fall on my derrière at least a dozen times as my weight goes too much backwards – this hardly ever happens in downhill as you’re balanced by the pitch of the hill. But anyway, I think I’m getting the hang of it – even if my derrière disagrees!

oups!

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Regular readers will be aware that each year in January I disappear for what I like to call ski-training before doing a downhill race in Mürren.

WP_20150107_009Well, about 10 days ago, jogging at night in Chablis, I failed to observe a chain between two massive ‘plant-pots’ – I hit the ground hard and fast, and made a mess of one of my shins. Still, it was just flesh!

That’s what I thought anyway; putting my skiboot on was not totally comfortable – but skiing got harder and harder until it simply wasn’t possible. I’m aparently fit – I can walk or run – but it seems I can’t lean forwards into my boot. Race? I can’t even get down a blue run properly – I must have actually bruised the shin-bone. Curses…

I think I need a great Chablis!

back to the snow…

A week away from Chablis and ouf! – snow :-) Definitely not a skiing day – rather a train-ride a nice Italian lunch and the impressively cool spa of Samedan…

chablis 2013 – no reference points…

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My hat of the day award!

I’m more than 75% of the way through visiting roughly 35 domaines for my January, Chablis Vintage 2013 Report (though my last half-dozen visits are not for another 10 days) and its a very particular vintage.

I won’t publish my report until the start of the second week of February, but given all the offers that I’ve seen, and more particularly some of the descriptions (exultations/exhortations to buy!) I’ve seen, I thought it timely to add just a few words – caveats if you like…

Except a few wise old owls who invoke very old vintages (ones never, ever, drunk by 99.9% of current buyers) the producers will tell you that they have no reference points for this vintage. Yields were low, but that doesn’t always mean concentration. The wines may be direct, fresh and mineral ‘Chablis’, or they may be round and rich with hints of botrytis and apricot – admittedly tasty chardonnay, but not really Chablis. It really depends on the address. Really!

It should be fine if you get to taste samples beforehand, but buying blind makes 2013 a much more complicated proposition than 07, 08, 09, 10 or 12 was – or indeed 14 will be (just for the record, I really don’t like 2/3rds of 11 Chablis, sorry). So be careful out there! On the positive side, apart from a couple of massively over-subscribed domaines, whose 2013s are anyway fine, (and who only spend their money on funny hats), Chablis is generally some of the easiest white burgundy to source – so you’ve time to wait for my report ;-)

blinded by the light – chablis encore…

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I came out of my last appointment, Billaud-Simon, at about 17h10 and noticed a beautiful red light on the hill-top vines. I zoomed up in the car to Les Clos but the last rays of the sun had already departed the vines in those 3 or 4 short minutes. Of-course the sunset lasted a little longer ;-)

You will have no-doubt gathered by now that I’m beginning my second week of Chablis 2013 tastings – just one more trip at the end of this month to wrap up 30+ domaines for the January EXTRA! It was a very modest day today – only 3 domaines and about 30 wines…

herbicide – off-colour and off-limit…

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You know I like to pepper these pages with pretty pictures taken along the road, but some of today’s pictures leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Actually, the fact that I find this more than a little disgusting, reflects well on the progress that has been made by vigneron/producers in the Côte d’Or. The palour of herbicide, today, stands obvious and sore against a backdrop of green grass, rock and perfectly ploughed furrows. It is exactly because it is becoming so rare in the Côte d’Or that it produces ever-more extreme emotion in me when I encounter it. You can double the shock when you know that the focus of my ire was 8-10, 100m rows, of Bâtard-Montrachet…

It is nothing more than laziness when you consider BM starts at about €120 per bottle.

I also saw another parcel below Puligny-Montrachet 1er La Garenne – I think Nosroyes, villages – treated in exactly the same way. I didn’t make a thorough study, but noting only two obvious parcels should be considered a thing of great progress. Who knows, maybe it was even the same producer…

It’s not fully about ‘who’ – that would be too easy to publish – rather that it becomes a more and more shameful thing to do – even villages Chablis at €12 a bottle is slowly turning against such practices. The Golden Slopes, of-course, have no tenable excuses. I also tweeted this, and almost regret properly positioning the parcel as opposite the Montrachet of Prieur (so those in the know would be extra sure) because lazy reading has caused people (so far) to assume I’m talking about Prieur, or the parcel of Montrachet next to Prieur – Thénard. Just for the record, neither have Bâtard – people should read properly before lynching…

There were also nice things today, including a very stupid but ultimately successful ascent of the road from Santenay-le-Haut/St.Jean up to the ‘Mountain of the 3 crosses’ and back down the other side into Maranges – in the car! ;-)

darkness…

Well, Tuesday may have started with frost and blue skies, but by late morning it was all gone. Similarly, Wednesday had a wintry, misty, darkness to it…

At lunchtime we heard of the atrocity in Paris – a lunch partner who likes a laugh became rather contemplative; “The thing is, for my generation, these people were our symbols of liberty in France…” he said…

not chablis…

Well, you didn’t think I’d turn up empty-handed did you?

2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Beaune 1er Montrevenots
When very young there was a gorgeous and piercing note of fruit that had irreproachable clarity. Sad to say that it has faded, but the wine overall is balanced and intense and for the vintage it’s rather friendly – though many show kinder faces now than when they were young. The fruit is dark red and has lots of energy and interest – lithe and flexible. It is still lovely.
Rebuy- Yes

2007 Camille-Giroud, Corton-Rognets
Oof – aromatically I would have guess Renardes – but the musky animale note slowly fades into a modest aromatic. In the mouth this is very good, with fruit of fine clarity and very good dimension. The structure is subsumed but the flavour not. Very tasty!
Rebuy- Yes

what a great start to 2015 – chablis…

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I left home at first light – not that early at this time of year ;-) – and with a -5°C frost. It was wall-to-wall gorgeous views almost the whole way to Beaune – just some mist around Dôle.

A short stop to reboot my lack of festive season Patisserie visits and then onwards to Chablis for 2 weeks of tasting 2013s. Just two pm visits to get me in the right frame of tasting – oh, and to try and see if I can type my notes on an iPad – that should speed up the publishing process – if it works ;-)

The view from Les Clos towards Chablis at 3pm:

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