Why Big Red Diary?

2003 pascal lachaux latricières-chambertin


Do you think this (empty) bottle is worth something because of the miss-printed label? Me Neither!

With the exception of a Chambolle that seemed a little too sweet, I have to say that I’ve been impressed by the 03 Lachaux range; they never really closed, and whilst externally they do offer a slightly facile if opulent glass, there is certainly more below the surface if you care to look…

2003 Pascal Lachaux, Latricières-Chambertin
Medium-plus colour. Brooding aromas of dark cherry and cassis that are framed with warm, sweet coffee. Mouth-filling, slightly acid-shy but good texture and fantastic length. There’s a slight bitterness that mingles with the creamy fruit in the mid-palate, tannin is fine with the merest leading-edge of astringency. Really, this a bottle to wallow in rather than intellectualise over, yet the IQ is there if you want to challenge it. Very impressive indeed.
Rebuy – Yes

françois legros nuits st.georges 1er les perrières


Given how I abused this bottle, this is rather an impressive showing – and from a producer I hadn’t heard of. The bottle was pulled from the shelves of Caves Madeleine restaurant in Beaune. The small-ish glasses in the restaurant and lack of time for the wine to open up gave only an impression of balance but little else. More than half-drunk, it had the cork rammed back in, spent the rest of the day in the back of the car (December) before finally coming to rest in the refrigerator at home. Not the next day, but the day after, I poured the last glass and a half from which this note is culled:

2006 François Legros, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Perrières
Medium-plus colour. Deep, velvety aromas over a hint of volatility that wasn’t there on day one. Smooth, yet with plenty of finely grained, underlying tannin. Long, concentrated and balanced, the fruit is dark before a higher-toned burst of fruit in the mid-palate, there is a nice depth of flavour before the wine slowly fades into the finish. Plenty of structure but it’s not a burly Nuits expression, rather (perhaps) a softer Perrières expression. Very nice wine.
Rebuy – Yes

2006 wines from Nuits and Vosne continue to repay my confidence…

just an average day-trip to burgundy…

Aubert de Villaine - not smiling after being made to wait!

Aubert de Villaine - after being made to wait in the cold!

Monday was just your average away-day to Burgundy:

5:30am – Alarm, cereal, wash, shave then eventually open my eyes.

6:25am – In the car and away. Plenty of rain as we went through the ‘Doubs’ and around Besançon. If the sky didn’t exactly clear, at least there was no rain when, at 9:10am, I pulled into the parking area in Aloxe-Corton. The meeting time was 9:30, so we made good time. Or at least I thought we’d made good time, but when it got to 9:40 I realised, aided by a telephone message from the secretary of Aubert de Villaine (oops!), that he was waiting (since 9:30) by a different vineyard map in Corton. Ah-well, nothing like making an impression!

11:00am – picked up some wine and blagged a coffee and a Waitrose plain-chocolate coated ginger biscuit (mmm…) from M&M in Aloxe, before heading for lunch in Caves Madeleine – rustic jambon persille, beef bouguignone and some tasty, runny cheese – lovely! Washed down with a 2006 Nuits 1er Perrières – the last 3rd of the bottle I will drink tonight. Hubert de Montille was taking lunch beside us – nice chap, he liked our dog despite her bad habit of scanning the dining table…

2:20pm – picked up some more wine (these trips can be expensive) from Blair Pethel, who was recovering from the grippe! Hardly time even to say hello before running off (nothing to do with worring about his infections!) to arrive at 2:30pm (on-time) at the Bouchard Père et Fils winery in Savigny (well close to Savigny anyway). Unfortunately there was a mix-up, and Philippe Prost was waiting for me in Beaune – bugger – I could have walked there from Caves Madeleine! We finally sat together in the tasting room at about 2:50pm. Philippe is a goldmine of info and I always enjoy our chats, but by 4pm we were only just finishing the reds, and there was an equally table-groaning number of whites waiting to taste; at that point I had to call friends of friends to get a telephone number of somebody to pass on a message (…!) to say that there would be no chance to make my 4-4:30pm appointment and maybe we could do it next time. I hope they will have me back in January! We actually stepped out into the rain at 5:30pm, and headed straight for a coffee…!

6:45pm – arrived in Morey St.Denis at Domaine David Clark to pick up some wine (!) after accepting his kindly offer of dinner with him and his parents. While there I got to see the new bottling machine as conceived and implemented by l’equipe technique du domaine; DRC and Leflaive will be so jealous of this gentle approach to bottling! Did I mention bottling? Guess what the parents will be doing as you read this 😉 We left after espressos as the clock reached 9:15pm. One stop in the services at Besançon for a splash of fuel (no point filling up in France, it’s much cheaper in Switzerland) for the car, and another espresso fuel for me. Finally arrived home at about 12:20am to lots of rain.

1:00am – Showered and soundly asleep! (Thanks to all who made it so worthwhile.)

1998 robert arnoux vosne-romanée

arnoux_981998 Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée
The last bottle of this was very good, and only drunk around two years ago, this bottle is not to the same standard. This one has a little volatility – slight cola – and some meaty aromas. The acidity is slightly lifted and there’s still just a hint of astringency showing from the tannins if you look hard enough. Decent length, but not so much love today. It was anyway my last bottle.
Rebuy – No

two from domaine du chalet pouilly


Here’s a relatively unusual occurrence; somebody actually sent me some wine to review! I’m in an awkward place to send wine to – as I found out from my ‘friendly’ customs and excise bill – €40 for 2 ‘free’ bottles – ie more than the cost of buying the bottles! Anyway, I thought you should be aware of this departure from the norm so that you can more easily factor-in any bias that might have occurred due to the unexpected ‘bottle cost’ 😉

I really don’t get that far south in Burgundy very often, so first, a short introduction, verbatim from the domaine themselves:

Domain Description:
Domaine du Chalet Pouilly founded in 1850 is a family business for over 100 years, and produces two 100%-Chardonnay: Pouilly Fuissé and Saint Véran. The 8 hectare property is shared by Pouilly Fuissé and Saint Véran.
Domaine du Chalet Pouilly practices traditional wine-growing methods, respecting the “terroir” in order to bring out the superior quality of its wine flavors. Domaine du Chalet Pouilly’s philosophy is to allow nature to express itself through the vinification process in order to create high-quality, rich-flavored wines with a rustic touch.
Pouilly Fuissé: A dry 100%-Chardonnay white wine with a golden color and green glints that brings a mineral bouquet of nice floral touches.
Saint Véran: Made with 100%-Chardonnay grapes with a light yellow (thanks to the old vineyards) color and an elegant, fruity scent.
In 1983, Henri Plumet passed his estate to his daughter, Marie-Agnès Plumet, and her husband, Bernard Léger who presently run Domaine du Chalet Pouilly.
Dr Bernard Léger-Plumet graduated with a Medical Degree and started his career in Solutre-Pouilly as a “village doctor”. His wife Marie-Agnes Léger-Plumet earned her pharmaceutical degree in 1971. In order to further expand the family business, both Marie-Agnès and Dr Léger-Plumet gave up their medical careers and devoted all their time to the estate. Their passion and interest for wine grew stronger over the years, eventually leading them to change their career paths. In 1984, Dr. Léger-Plumet completed a degree in Oenology inDijon, France. Marie-Agnes received her agricultural certificate in 2004. Since 2008 Dr. Léger-Plumet is a member of “La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin”.

2008 Domaine du Chalet Pouilly, St.Veran
Medium-pale yellow. A forward and wide nose of ripe fruit covered by a twist of yellow-lemon – it’s very pretty. Starts with a little petillance, then there’s a nice burst of energy in the mid-palate – no doubt invigorated a little by the gas. The texture smooths as the gas departs, a good core of tight fruit is the reward. Clean, correct, balanced and pretty – not forgetting, also very tasty.
Rebuy – Yes

2007 Domaine du Chalet Pouilly, Pouilly-Fuissé
The aromas clearly evoke the best villages of Côte de Beaune; creamy, vanilla patisserie aromas that perfectly dovetail with a lemony essence. This fills the mouth very nicely with high-toned fruit flavours, and lovely acidity that promotes very good length. The mid-palate is a little narrower than the aromas and flavours suggest, i.e that suggestion of Puligny, but the rest of this wine does a very good impression indeed. A wannabee wine, rather than a correct Pouilly? Who-cares, it was delicious…
Rebuy – Yes

2004 antonin guyon meursault 1er charmes dessus


Not even the faintest trace of ‘vintage character’. I still don’t drink that many bottles from this producer, but I’ve been very happy with those that do get to meet my corkscrew…

2004 Antonin Guyon, Meursault 1er Charmes Dessus
Already a medium golden colour – but that seems to come from the oak. Plenty of sweet toast on opening, slowly becomes more brioche, width and depth aplenty – very accomplished indeed. Tongue-coating, smooth, concentrated and perfectly balanced (invisible) acidity. No real fireworks, but new flavours seep out from your teeth and cheeks; creamy accents and excellent length. This was a relatively expensive bottle, but it is a classic, high-class Meursault in that comfortable, plush, unhurried style that only this village truly delivers. My indecision on whether to make this purchase was clearly unnecessary…
Rebuy – Yes

two 97s…

Visitors at home on Sunday, and given that I already had some bottles ready for opening and two were from an ‘easier’ vintage to taste – 1997 – I went that route.

First, Pavolet’s Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Dominodes . Warm, inviting, now starting to develop some chocolate flavours and aromas, no awkward edges. This wine has really entered its early plateau of maturity – it will clearly hold for another 10+ years. Super.

To follow, Cathiard’s Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts . This was altogether a different kettle of fish. I’ve had some lovely open and friendly bottles from this case, but this wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t unfriendly, rather it was uncommunicative. Clearly cut from the same vintage cloth as the Pavelot, but tighter in all aspects – no plateau of maturity here. A little more intense in the mid-palate, but as a pure object of pleasure, bettered by the Pavelot today.

Both eminently drinkable, but it makes me laugh when so many people by-pass Savigny – more for me I suppose…

a lazy toad…

A couple of thousand people on this site’s mailing-list got this today. Only one of the replies called me a lazy toad! 😉

Dear Friends,

A quick email to say that there will be no ‘Autumn Burgundy Report’ for you this week – no I haven’t given up – not yet anyway!

One missed appointment and one cancelled trip, maybe due to flu, has left me with something that I would be embarassed to call a report.

However, early next week I should meet with Aubert, Maurice and Philippe and they will make the difference, and I suppose that it’s still Autumn if the report is published before the 21st of December!

In the meantime, as many have already asked me, please find below a link to my annual ‘Vintage Viewpoint’. Just a little something to keep you going another two weeks…

A Vintage Viewpoint

Thanks & cheers

2007 long-depaquit chablis 1er les vaillons


2007 Long-Depaquit, Chablis 1er Les Vaillons
Pale greeny-yellow. The nose is a faint biscuit with a wider white blossom impression above, and is edged with a just enough citrus bite – just over the hour mark, the traditional salty impression of the sea-shore begins to poke through. Smooth, mineral acidity, slightly savoury impressions and this is really very long for a 1er cru. Genuine (not fruit-driven), great value Chablis, of the wiry and intense variety.
Rebuy – Yes

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