Why Big Red Diary?

the measly montrachet 2016 update – for #ChardonnayDay

Pierre Vincent of Domaine Leflaive, pictured posing with the amalgamated 2016 production of 6 owners in Le Montrachet – image from October 2017

I’m sure you all remember the story of the frost at the end of April 2016, it was particularly cruel on the Chassagne-side of Montrachet – or Le Montrachet. For (even more) precision it was the domaines of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Guy Amiot, Domaine Lamy-Pillot (including their métayage of 0.054 hectares of the vines owned by Claudine Petijean) and Domaine Fleurot who assembled their production of grapes. This resulted in a measly 530 litres of wine from 1.25 hectares of Le Montrachet – 5 hectolitres per hectare. All the elevage was done at Domaine Leflaive.

I asked Dominique Lafon today if the wine was bottled yet, and what their plans were for its commercialisation – if any:

The wine will be bottled soon. There should be ~700 bottles but as we will all keep some for our own cellars, only 500 will be released. (Those 500 will all wear the same label – Bill)

We will not auction it, we plan something for charity but are still working on the distribution system. The wine will released in 2019.

So there you go…

a little mid-week griotte – another successful 1997

The 1997s have been a revelation in the last year; they were quite good when young but then entered a long phase of spicy, leathery aromatics with neither focus nor distinction – for a long time 1997 was aromatically one of my least favourite vintages. Today it’s quite different for the better wines because their true secondary aromas are now centre-stage. Here another great showing…

1997 des Chézeaux, Griotte-Chambertin
This is the Leclerc version of this wine, that said – today it’s super. It lacks the fabulous delicacy and perfect palate of the Ponsot bottling but is certainly more robust than my last one of those – after 30 minutes my last Ponsot was becoming oxidised – I’m not sure I have enough bottles remaining to determine whether that was just the cork or the cuvée…
A beautiful nose of clean, sous-bois, deep and silky – it’s an open invitation to drink. Mouth-filling, sweet-fruited, with layers of flavour – simply delicious. There’s a slight balsamic aspect to the acidity – but in a good if not totally caressing way – holding a good density of flavour in the middle. The finish could be longer, but given the delicious nature of what’s gone before, I’ve nothing to complain about here. Super wine! There is none left for day 2 – always a strong indication of how a wine is drinking…
Rebuy – Yes

vincent van gogh time…

Most of May, and some of June is my Vincent Van Gogh iris time – my last two colours are open today – two others didn’t oblige this year – it’s time to replant them. I’m already planning July’s thinning-out, cutting out the dead parts plus re-arranging a little – I’m expecting to have double the number of flower-heads next year!

weekend wines – week 20, 2018

A long weekend – in much of Europe the Pfingst/Pentecost weekend means an extra day. My choice of wines saw a poor start but getting better:

1997 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Malconsorts
Oof – not a great nose – balsamic and with brett. If you can get the wine past your nose and into your mouth, this tastes rather good – showing hardly any of the disappointment of the nose – but it’s a big ‘IF.’ More of this was left or used for cooking than was actually drunk – that tells all that you need to know. The only positive thing I can say about brett, is that every bottle will be different – just as well as I have 2 or 3 more of these!
Rebuy – No

2005 JC Boisset, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Sepentières
A deeper colour. More depth of fresh and clean aroma – a little graphite and dark fruit. Deep, young fruit here – concentration and super depth. Archetypal young, but not closed, 2005. Perhaps the mid-palate and finish of the Cathiard were nicer, but you had to get past that wine’s nose – no easy task. Bravo wine for the appellation.
Rebuy – Yes

1993 François Jobard, Meursault 1er Genevrières
Deep golden. No oxidation, though a nose that starts rather abruptly – slowly some pineapple is released, then stem ginger, finally a ripe and waxy lemon. Just like the nose, the first impression over the palate is of something a little angular – a wine of rigour. Air changes things, always, seemingly for the better with this wine. It relaxes, becomes silkier and manages to ingrain its flavour into the palate. Never a wine of total deliciousness but always a wine of robust complexity and interest. Intellectual rather than sumptuous. Excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

2013 Camus, Latricières-Chambertin
A nose with a little green about it, but just tipping the balance towards mint rather than herbaceousness. Light across the palate but complex too. A volume of cushioned, airy, focused red-fruited flavour. Long finishing young wine. Not the concentration of either of the previous reds – a modest 1er cru level – except that it was the most open and complex finishing of these.
Rebuy – Maybe

offer of the day – Christophe Perrot-Minot 2016…

Relatively – the offers are coming in, thick and fast – that’s two this week! 🙂 Some more 2016s for you:

Morey Saint-Denis La Rue de Vergy 2016 75cl 94.50 (*Swiss Francs)
Gevrey-Chambertin 2016 75cl 94.50
Nuits St-Georges 1er ‘Les Murgers des Cras’ 2016 75cl 100.80
Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2016 75cl 109.80
Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes 2016 75cl 109.80
Vosne-Romanée Les Champs Perdrix Vieilles Vignes 2016 75cl 128.70
Morey Saint-Denis 1er Cru La Riotte Vieilles Vignes 2016 75 cl 163.80
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts Vieilles Vignes 2016 75cl 193.50
Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru La Richemone “Ultra” Vieilles Vignes 2016 75cl 385.00
Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2016 75CL 420.00
Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2016 75CL 420.00
Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2016 75CL 420.00
Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2016 75cl 840.00
Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2016 75cl 840.00

Now I never said that they were going to be cheap!

*These are delivered prices, but this email offer is discounted – whatever is sold from their catalogue is at a higher price!

offer of the day – Bouchard Père et Fils 2016…

It’s been a while since I had a BP&F offer – the 2012s – in fact I bought some magnums of the baby Jesus that year. Anyway, some 2016s for you:

Meursault Genevrières 2016 75cl 74.00 (*Swiss Francs)
Meursault Les Perrières 2016 75cl 79.00
Corton-Charlemagne 2016 75cl 149.00
Chevalier-Montrachet 2016 75cl 269.00
Montrachet 2016 75cl 528.00

Volnay Caillerets Ancienne cuvée Carnot 2016 75 cl 68.00
Beaune Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus 2016 75cl 88.00
Chambertin 2016 75cl 248.00

*As usual, these prices lack 8% Swiss purchase tax, but are otherwise delivered prices.

drc corton-charlemagne… ‘what has gone so wrong, so fast?’

The quality of the vineyard work and resulting wines of the new team of DRC are assured, as are the open arms of DRC customers wishing to buy these wines, so, initially, I only have a couple of thoughts on this news:

  1. Price. Well, it didn’t take people long did it? In the first minute that the news was posted on the interweb, all the talk was about how the price of Corton-Charlemagne was going to massively increase. But why? There are over 70 hectares of Corton-Charlemagne – 3 hectares is peanuts. The same was said about Corton after the DRC + Florent de Merode agreement, and it never happened. Of-course the DRC Corton is expensive (even from first tier DRC distributors) but a) it remains cheap versus Leroy’s Corton, and b) the wider market pricing for Corton is, seemingly, unaffected since the first DRC wine in 2009. So I don’t see it happening. Of-course Corton-Charlemagne is more sought-after than its red brother and DRC’s Corton-Charlemagne will certainly be expensive, 3-4 times more expensive than Bonneau de Martray were asking, but I’m not expecting the wider market to be significantly affected.
  2. Why? My main thought is ‘What has gone so wrong, so fast?‘ Why can’t (new) Bonneau du Martray sell their own wine? Is this a marketing strategy that just hasn’t worked out – or quite the reverse – the pragmatic result of their review of strategic options? They historically held a lot of wine back, so are, anyway, not used to (attempting) full commercialisation of each vintage – but given a lot of oxidation problems, the stock that they hold has to have questionable value. Of-course this announcement is intriguing but, honestly, it’s a bit of a stain on the history of Bonneau du Martray. That renting out their vines to DRC is financially more attractive, is hardly surprising news, but to actually choose to follow such a business strategy is shocking…

both côtes today…

Côte de Nuits vineyard royalty this afternoon…

The weather just got better and better today – until nearly 9pm – when just as I was searching for my running shoes the heavens opened. Maybe I’ll run tomorrow instead, but the forecast isn’t good…

the last few days…

A weekend of Beaujolais samples, visits to the ‘fair’ in Bern and watching my irises (slowly) open!

It’s good to compare the types of iris, because despite lots of ice and snow between February and April, and so feeling that the plants have a later start this year versus the last, I have one type of iris that has opened on exactly the same day this year as last!

Anyway, back to Beaune today and it’s cold – 12°C. What a difference a few days make!

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