Why Big Red Diary?

jean gros

I was very sorry yesterday, to hear that Jean Gros, the great patriarch of Vosne-Romanée, had died.

I can recall drinking no-more than half a dozen wines that he produced, but they remain twinkling stars in my memory. RIP…

a couple of bottles – tasty bottles…


A couple of delicious, very, very different wines this week:

1992 Comtes Lafon, Monthelie 1er Les Duresses
A mature but warm looking colour. Sweet, plum-style fruit on the nose and a clear attractive maturity. In the mouth this was simply a very charming, sweet-fruited wine. Not super energetic, nor super complex but really wonderfully charming. I have to assume that this is at its peak – but 2 or 3 more bottles lie in the cellar, and I’m in no rush…
Rebuy – Yes

2008 Pascal Marchand, Corton
This was very oaky when young, but to my palate attractively so, rather than garishly or unpleasantly so – of-course that was clearly a matter of taste. Today there is still a hint of coconut, but the oak is significantly less full-power today. In tandem the creamy, luxurious texture has thinned, this wine is a little more sleek and slender but still deliciously transparent and intense. Still a real honey!
Rebuy – Yes

week 15’s new producers…

burg 161

Of-course, this week was a Beaujolais week…

a storm in morgon – worse in pouilly

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Mid-afternoon yesterday (Wednesday) the skies considerably darkened in Morgon. Thunder, lightening, a little rain and a lot of wind. But It was less ‘fun’ in Pouilly as you can see from the images below, images of vines near Solutre, sent to me by a producer. Many young, opening, buds were damaged or completely removed.

It’s very early in the growing season for this kind of weather, normally the hail only arrives from May onwards. Hopefully there were enough buds on those vines, and/or it was early enough to make little difference, but clearly many were sacrificed…

a màv tuesday…


Nice weather in the Beaujolais yesterday – except in the late afternoon, and seemingly only in the heights of Moulin-à-Vent – and what vent! There was also the thunder and lightening though fortunately only modest rain.

Given the number of desolate, ‘herbicided’ vineyards, it was really nice to see one magnificent steed at work in MàV – and the domaine? It turned out to be that of ‘Mâconnasian’ Olivier Merlin.

In MàV yesterday, I tasted some great stuff, and some really pretty nasty stuff…

them thar hills…

Only a crop from a pic taken with my phone!

I thought the view of the distant mountains quite good on Sunday, but above was a spectacular display of alps this morning from my room in Beaujolais. Below are some pics I took on Sunday, mainly during a 90 minute walk up and then back down the hill of (the Chapel of) La Madone from the centre of Fleurie. 19°C and beautiful wandering weather…

can you ever have too much volnay?

The new report, now online for all you subscribers…

jefford on clos de tart…

A thoughtful and in-depth article on the Clos de Tart by Andrew Jefford – it only took him 6 months since his tasting in September to publish it – but a welcome addition, nonetheless 😉


lafarge-vial – beaujolais…

DSC09321Frederic and Chantal Lafarge – Chantal was a Vial – have a new(ish!) small domaine of 4-hectares in the Beaujolais. They have vines in Fleurie and Chiroubles, and quite old vines too. The vines were already, ‘very well cared for, mainly organic’ but, as you would expect, they immediately set out on a biodynamic course.

Frederic describes the vinification as de-stemming, concrete tanks, and older barrels. The first vintage being 2014. I thought I’d give you my first ‘Beaujolais Report’ here 😉

2014 Chiroubles
From 45 year old vines. 1 year elevage, no new oak, some larger barrels, one racking in April, bottling in October.
Perfumed wine, of modest gamay impression. Round, nicely textured, an almost creamy aspect to the flavour. Good length too. Very tasty wine.

2014 Fleurie ‘Bel Air’
45 and 65 year old vines, Bel-Air is the lieu-dit.
A little more aromatic scale, some flowers. Supple, a hint of tannin but a layered delivery of flavour too – fine length too. This is excellent!

2014 Fleurie ‘Clos Vernay’
A Clos of 1.3 hectares, near the border with Moulin-à-Vent – near Bouchard’s Château Poncier. 40-45 year old vines here.
A pyrazine element to the nose. In the mouth this is supple and nicely textured. Also a similar pyrazine component in the flavours – minerality or bugs? – yet still very tasty, and obviously very young, wine.

week(end) 13 – the wines – lucky us…

Camera Roll

A weekend in the mountains – plus some clear ‘wine-joy.’

2010 Francois Mikulski, Meursault 1er Charmes
I’ve never yet had a problem, but I see reports of advanced bottles from François – which is a shame because I love both the man and his wines – but this was in fine shape. A fresh wine of line and intensity with a rather classic, faintly gingerbread nose. The finish edged with a little salinity – it just drank beautifully – yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2009 Patrice Rion, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Deep of colour, deep of nose… The aromas are dark-fruited, faintly oak-spiced but with sumptuous fruit and a suggestion of florality. In the mouth there’s real presence – concentration and very fine texture. Yum-flavoured with some modest spicy, faintly bitter oak artefacts – but really nothing of concern. A lovely bottle.
Rebuy – Yes

2001 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Corton-Charlemagne
Ouf – this is good! A floral note twists through complex aromatics that mix citrus fruit, a hint of secondary development and some salinity. Really plenty of concentration and fat in the mouth – and I normally consider this to be one of the more direct Charlemagnes – with fine balance and just a fabulous mid-palate and finishing complexity. This really is one of the best whites I’ve drunk for a long time – Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes – like a shot!

1993 Louis Jadot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos des Corvées
Ouf – again! A clarion of gorgeous, dark fruit – cherry – that slowly melts into a floor of dried leaves – just a beauty. In the mouth it’s a super wine with (today!) only modest tannic structure. It’s lithe, complex and oh-so-tasty – the palate is almost as good as the nose – and that’s saying something! Young, but ‘ready’ – great!
Rebuy – Yes

2011 Au Pied de Mont Chauve, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Vergers
A barbecue in the mountains – this bottle kept cool by burying it in the snow – let’s be honest – almost anything would have been good in this context. Yet this is a beautifully put together wine of fine aromatic, and a balanced palate with concentrated waves of fine flavour. I won’t aggrandise my recollection further as we certainly weren’t using tasting glasses – but a resounding ‘yum’ came from all who partook…
Rebuy – Yes

bejot – to fraud or not to fraud?


Really there’s not much to be said, or rather that can be said, about the above – yet.

I saw the first reports – illegible text and photos from Burgundian newspapers at the end of last week. Here is the first English note of the ‘fraud investigation.’

I’ve met the people from Bejot, and Vincent Sauvestre (right – a very nice man, clearly successful, who has bought many old brands) comes across in this report as a little evasive – I really don’t believe that he doesn’t have a working knowledge of what’s in his tanks – that said he wasn’t present in any of my tastings or technical discussions.

It seems to be business as usual for now, but ‘no smoke without fire?’ That’s hard to say given some of the local ‘investigative’ past history – just ask Jean-Marie Guffens – but if anything is amiss, hopefully we will get, sooner rather than later, to know the full detail.

As for the noted fines at the end of the article – not really a deterrent – eh?

1st snow bbq of the year…

A higher altitude weekend – but the sausages were well cooked.

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