Why Big Red Diary?

week 26 – weekend wines – a triple jadot

Digging around in the cellar, I first thought that this was my case containing a mix of Jadot’s 98/99 Beaune Grèves – often seen in this diary in the last years – but out of the corner of my eye, I though – hmm, that’s not a Grèves! Judging by the labels, both the Rugiens and the Suchots were bought in bulk/barrel. The Clos de la Barre is all Jadot, despite it not saying ‘Domaine’ on the label.

1999 Louis Jadot, Volnay 1er Clos de la Barre
A beautiful long cork that glides out with just the right amount of pull.
A fresh, mulled red fruit with faint sous-bois and herb – compelling stuff. Weighty, supple, still with tannin – it’s a young finishing structure but a wine that is very giving – there’s just enough sweetness and cushioning ‘fat’ to be very moreish. A fine and expanding wave of finishing flavour too. Excellent and certainly with a decent level of maturity.
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Louis Jadot, Pommard 1er Rugiens
Just a rubbish cork – it split in two and the rest comes out in tiny pieces. Despite that Jadot have domaine Rugiens, this shows that they are in the market to buy wine too.
Ooh – no lasting problem from the cork – just an iron-heavy, bloody redness of aroma – ooh – that is sooo good! This shows a similar freshness to the Barre, narrower, less fat but more intensity and line – young but multi-dimensional. Long, staining flavour – absolutely brilliant but despite a fine floral element to the flavour this is really too young – the extra fatness of the Barre making that wine much more approachable today – but Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Suchots
This time another great cork – at least as good as the one from the Volnay…
Here the nose, whilst open, shows a little less power and volume than the first two wines, but it is both composed and still very impressive – and maybe if you search hard enough, you can probably convince yourself that there’s a little Vosne-spice here too – i.e. there probably isn’t! I love the fact that all three wines have completely different shapes in the mouth; the Volnay was round with a little fat for comfort, the Pommard was more linear and muscular, and here we have a wine with super width – almost a wave of flavour that flows over the palate. Here the flavour impression is one of some maturity and – yes – spiciness of complex fruit. This plays beautifully over the palate, and of the three I would say it is currently the most ‘ready’ – whatever that means. Super wine!
Rebuy – Yes

I’d say that that was a good weekend – and there were 2 of each in the case – so maybe I shall wait 2 more years and drink the ‘poor orphans’ when they are 20 – or maybe not – if I find them again 🙂

la maison (2)

Scene of the (literal) car-crash on Thursday evening, was La Maison in Vougeot.

It was a little soirée to taste 2-3 wines and in partnership with Lalique for them to promote their new (wine) glassware. Nice carafes for sure – I didn’t ask the price – the Burgundy and Universal glasses were very nice too, if just a little heavy in the hand – normally in those contexts I’d take the Riedel Burgundy Vinum or the Zalto Universal. Good as these glasses are, and despite surely a much higher cost, they do have one quite large negative (in the eyes of many wine-lovers) and that’s that the name of James Suckling and 100 points is attached to them!

Oh-well, I suppose that you don’t have to look at the signature on the base of the glass!

Just for info there was a JCB Crémant Rosé that was very fine indeed – and I’m not normally the biggest fan of rosé-fizz. More impressive was the 2011 Vougeot Clos du Prieuré (blanc) – really top-notch! Given the unfolding car-crash outside, and despite being told that it was the nicest wine – I decided two glasses were enough, so I didn’t try the Chambolle-Musigny before heading home…

cold weather but nevertheless – rosé!

The last week has really been a change in direction for the weather. Despite pronouncements from Beaujolais yesterday that “At this stage, 2017 is the second sunniest year since 1980 – just behind 2011” it’s just as equally stormy/showery and cool there as it is in Beaune. Much of this week has seen 10°C, punctuated by heavy downpours of rain. Actually this is great for the vineyards as they have started showing the first signs of thirst – much of June has been 30°C or above – and this has had a knock-on for the ideas of harvesting. Flowering suggested a harvest date close to the 10th of September, but the hot weather in June had pushed that towards ‘the first days of September.’ The forecast remains changeable though getting warmer next week – a combination of 30° and humidity will not be welcomed – let’s see!

Still today I availed myself of a rosé and a damn fine rosé at that. I consider the best gamay rosés to be superior to the best pinot rosés – at least those that see malo, anyway. Here’s a great example.

2016 Mischief & Mayhem, Côteaux Bourguignone, Rosé
The label tells me 100% gamay noir from near Saint Amour. This has stainless-steel elevage, was bottled in March, and saw only a partial malo…
Very faintly perfumed, with a little aromatic weight not overt but very attractive. Really there’s plenty of volume in the mouth but without distracting weight. Lovely width and freshness with a great texture. It seems the perfect combination of freshness, delicacy but texture too. Probably as good a rosé as you will find…
Rebuy – Yes

too drunk to think…

No, not me.

Last night, with a glass in hand in Vougeot (more on that at the weekend), I heard a big crash. I looked out to see a clever gentleman who had crashed into a parked car. I instantly assumed my car when I heard the sound – well things come in threes don’t they? But no, it was someone equally unfortunate, but this time, not me.

The driver started to reverse his car from ‘the embrace’ and I instantly thought ‘he’s going to drive away’ – and he did. I thought to myself ‘I wonder if he’s left any evidence?’ and sure enough, when I turned over the large plastic bumper…

We laughed – well, not the lady whose car it was – obviously…

St.Vincent =2018= St.Véran

Yesterday evening, the venue was the the Château de Chasselas – it was a little party to celebrate St.Véran as the location of the 74th St.Vincent Tournante – 27-28 January 2018.

Of-course, St.Véran is actually an appellation, not a village, hence, the party was in Chasselas and location of the St.Vincent will be the in the neighbouring village of Prissé. It’s only the second time for a St.Vincent in the Mâconnais – and the (venue) planning is booked up until about 2030 – so a St.Vincent in Beaujolais will certainly have to wait…


The clouds were gathering as I approached Prissé – French radio warning of storms across many of France’s départements. I shoe-horned my Scooby (car) into a place by some vines and walked to the château – drops of rain heralding the storm to come – fortunately the weather kindly waited until 5 minutes after the 19h30 start-time before the wind, rain, thunder and lightning hit – it was only a problem for the late-comers! The weather proceeded to put on a modest show, but we were spared the full tempest!

Because my January usually consists of three weeks in Chablis, followed by a few days in the mountains, I so rarely get to the St.Vincents – though the location in Irancy (2016) worked very well! But on this evening I got to show solidarity with the launch ‘party’ in warmer if equally stormy (I’m looking at you Irancy!) fashion.

Leading up to the ‘talking section’ was a first-class guitarist-singer, who I assumed to be Michael Jones – apparently a well-know Franco-English performer who is the patron of this event. This was partly wasted on the crowd in his first session – great riffs even a few from AC-DC punctuating the ‘songs’ in the style of Muse…

Then, during a small interlude, it was fun seeing a (conservatively) 60 year-old vigneron, dressed in black with his (conservatively) 25 year-old companion in a very tight outfit. It really wasn’t necessary to watch her progress around the room, it was much more interesting to observe the looks that this ‘pair’ got from the (female) audience! The man in black later picked up a guitar and so did his companion – this was Michael Jones, not the first guy! All was now okay with the previously skeptical part of the night’s audience – there are different rules for musicians 🙂 The first guitarist was ‘Tof’ part of Michael’s band, and they belted out a great set of songs that had the (at least) 100-strong audience in raptures and singing along – bravo! And even better – Scooby was still parked where I left him when I decided it was time to head for Beaune!

So, get down to Prissé on the 27 and 28 January 2018! – If you can 🙂

Oh, and if you can’t wait to add one to your collection, you will be able to buy the St.Véran 2018 tasting glasses in the shop of the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot…

les weekend wines – week 25

2015 Loosen Bros, Riesling
After a couple of 2011s, why not a 2015? There is a similar sweetness here to those older wines, but an appealing extra grapefruit vivacity – I still admit to drinking it ice-cold from the refrigerator though!

2011 Carrick, Central Otago Bannockburn Chardonnay
I did the harvest a couple of times (in Beaune) with someone from Carrick – this a souvenir. Normally I really don’t ‘get’ the aromatics of NZ chardonnay – there’s a kind of mineral hardness that is easy to spot, and hard to like. Perhaps it simply needs time – because this wine had none of it! Popped (screw-capped) and poured, this is light coloured and has just a touch of toasty reduction to the nose. Broad, tasty chardonnay flavoured – it does just what it says on the label! Whilst it wears its 14% rather well, my drinking companion spotted the alcohol – with a little head-fuzziness!

And here, an example of poor vintage checking!

2015 & 2014 Long-Depaquit, Chablis 1er Vaillons
I saw the 2014 on the shelf and immediately though ‘I’ll have one of those.’ On tasting I found it well textured, broad, minerally concentrated but ultimately rather dull(?) Only then did I realise that this was a 2015 – I was sure I’d bought the 2014! Two days later I was back in the coop, and indeed there were just two 2014s left on the shelf, surrounded by 2015s. The 2014 is more taut, refreshing and intense – it is, by comparison, absolutely delicious – I love it. Be careful with your vintages – hopefully the 15 will improve with age – but I wouldn’t buy another…

scooby is back!

Fun Radio…
The Hits…

Seemingly the radio stations of choice for car thieves – they even installed them as presets in my car radio!

Today the scoobaru was rescued from the police pound near Lausanne – a whole day had to be devoted to this! Scooby was stolen in the vineyards of the Côte d’Or and turned up in the vineyards of Valais – I had assumed that it was somebody who simply couldn’t be bothered to pay the TGV fare to get back home – but the policeman said ‘Nope, these were real bandits.

Of-course they have taken dumb things from the car – driving glasses/sunglasses, a couple of cushions et-cetera – they had even simply cut off, at the cables, and pocketed the LED ‘daylights’ from the car – otherwise all seems okay – there’s even more petrol in it now than when I parked in Beaune!

I should be particularly thankful that they had nicely parked the car at the Swiss BMW dealership where it was found, because having done so, they then broke the window of a BMW to gain access and then use it to ‘ram-raid’ into the dealership, they then drove off in a nice new BMW. Of-course compared to my 12 year-old scooby, that’s not really trading-up, is it? Anyway, that’s the reason that the police latched onto a stolen Subaru so soon. Now back to the insurance reports…

offer of the day – raveneau 2015

Silly prices? Perhaps, though they are directly in-line with name villages, 1ers and GC wines from noted Côte d’Or producers – though I did pay 50-something euros for 2010 Butteaux in Au Fils du Zinc a couple of weeks ago! That said, I so rarely see an offer, so here you go:

Domaine Raveneau 2015 – Chablis

Chablis 2015 75cl 54.00 Swiss francs*
Chablis Montée-de-Tonnerre 2015 75cl 108.00
Chablis Butteaux 2015 75cl 108.00
Chablis Valmur 2015 75cl 238.00
Chablis Les Clos 2015 75cl very limited, price on application!

*price includes delivery, but not (yet!) the 8% Swiss VAT (tax)

weekend wines – week 24 – 2017

I decided to keep the riesling theme for this (again) hot weekend, but this time with a little higher niveau. First a little ‘industrial’ Prosecco (superiore!) – finely refreshing when very cold. The 2009 Niederhauser Klamm wine of von Racknitz was just a delicious wine – both depth and interest. Particularly the extra couple of years age versus the 2011 von Winning Paradiesgarten gave the Racknitz the edge today – the 2011 was seemingly the better wine, but still with that modest spritz that I associate with young Germans. Both very yum!

2000 Clos des Lambrays
The last from my six-pack, and whilst bought on release and professionally stored for the first 10 years, they have been exceedingly variable – the last bottle was pants, but this was lovely – all the better to remember it by. Complex, a little meaty – open and tasty. Delicious? – nearly – but tasty? yes!
Rebuy – No if nothing else because of its infuriating variability…

2007 Mugneret-Gibourg, Bourgogne
Wow – really in a great place – less complex but more overtly giving and delicious than the Lambrays. The nose has a purity of fruit and flowers that this wine has only previously hinted of. In the mouth too, there is balance with lovely texture, deliciously sweet and fresh red fruit and a simply moreish flavour profile – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

breakfasting in beaune…

€5.50 for a formule breakfast with a big café au lait – and with a fine view of the Place Carnot too – you can hardly get the coffee for that price, back home in Switzerland!

it’s hot in them thar côtes…

A quick dip into the Côtes via TGV – but on Thursday I should be re-united, in Switzerland, with my car – hopefully in a decent condition – I don’t think any speeding tickets have arrived in the post yet 🙂

Yesterday 36°C, today a much more modest 34°C! But lots of aircon required for touring. Picture perfect, even if a little too hot, but nice visits and a great menu du jour in Beaune’s La Superb today…

The grapes are developing well on the vines – both pinot and chardonnay are in the best (volume) state that we’ve seen in late June since 2011. Of-course, much water still has to pass under many bridges, but (with fingers crossed) all’s looking good for now in the Côte d’Or – and that’s pretty rare for a vintage ending with a 7!

weekend wines – week 23 – they were needed!

It’s been quiet around here in the last days – but the ‘action’ has been non-stop – my weekend wines were never-more needed than over the last days…

It began, last week, with a three day tour with a fine group of visitors to Chablis and the Côtes. I’d hired a car, as it’s always nicer to have a little more room when there are more than two people. All was good, until I returned the hire-car. My own car, left in the car-park, was nowhere to be seen when I returned. My first instinct was to look for ‘no-parking’ signs (the office was already closed for the night), assuming that it was going to cost me €150 to recover my car – but I found none. Next day when the staff returned – blank faces. The car had been stolen.

Of-course, there has been an onslaught of phone-calls and police reports since then – in both France and Switzerland. Cancelling the number plate (registration is through the insurance companies in Switzerland – if the car has number plates it is insured, if it hasn’t… That’s a great system), dealing with insurance companies and so-on. I was also having to look at options for a new car (and on, and on, and on…)

Last night the (Swiss) police called – ‘We have your car.‘ Hmm, stolen 300km away, but driven back into Switzerland by the thieves. Today our door locks were changed though, as a house-key was in the car – I said it was a long list of phone-calls! I don’t have any more details yet, and won’t get to pick the car up until next week, as the car-key awaits in France – I’d assumed that if the car was going to turn up, that it would be in France, not here in der Schweiz! Let’s see how it looks (and what remains in the car!) when I pick it up next week. In the meantime, another hire car and TGV tickets are required for a much shorter (than planned) return to Beaune next week.

So it was a hot and fairly frustrating weekend – wine was needed! To start with, I picked a bunch of whites that would chill (even forgetting one of them in the freezer compartment!) There is a downside to the ultra-chilled riesling idea though – a glass is very easily dispatched in a very modest number of minutes!

2008 Wolfberger, Rangen Pinot Gris
Forgotten in the freezer. only the last 2-3mm of cork left in the neck!
Ooh – super cold – waxy texture, still good colour and freshness. Just a delicious first taste whilst cold – less interest as it warms a little.

2011 Dr Loosen, Loosen Bros Riesling
So cold, so good. 2 bottles drunk – and frighteningly quickly too! Fresh and maybe rather sweet when warmer in the glass. But a great refresher.

2006 Roty, Gevrey-Chambertin La Brunelle.
This was not an easy drink when young, but now I see that it is beginning to turn the corner a little – still, so it should now that it’s 10 years old!
Hmm, this is a very attractive nose – there’s still a little grating wood, but really it’s now developed a delightful floral countenance too. In the mouth there is decent freshness and good scale – the floral aspect of the nose is obvious in the flavours too. The mid-palate remains a little wood-locked with more than a suggestion of woody dryness. The counterbalance of the floral fruit means that it’s easy to drink a glass, but 2 is more wearing. For that reason I enjoyed a (large) glass on 4 consecutive nights – I enjoyed all 4 glasses, but would still suggest waiting at least another couple of years before opening the next one – this wine is definitely getting better and better though.
Rebuy – Yes

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