Why Big Red Diary?

2003 (château) chorey-lès-beaune


2003 Chateau de Chorey, Chorey-lès-Beaune
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a ripe, macerating acid-red cherry centre. The fruit flavour is a mix of darker cherry – shaded much more to black. Good acidity and with a rasp to the tannin. A very nice dimension of good fruit in the mid-palate and quite okay length. Many of the most successful 03s come from the less vaunted appellations – here’s a perfect example that shows better than Chorey from most other vintages.
Rebuy – Yes

hi, i’m matt and i’m…

This made me laugh today…

the rights and wrongs of a base pricepoint


Pinot noir is a tough mistress, if you want good behaviour, you have to pay – and frankly may still not get the behaviour of your hope!

Regional wines, ‘Bourgognes’, made by ‘small’ producers often have the same level of care and attention both in the vineyard and in the cellar that is devoted to the producer’s more expensive bottles. They can be good bottles, occasionally very good if the vintage favours; 2003, 2005 spring easily to mind, I expect 2009s should also be very good. They are never going to show the the energy and dimension of vines from more gifted sites but, if I may, they offer not only a decent amount of varietal character, but also quite some burgundian character.

I do buy regional wines, but I’d estimate that only about 5-8% of my drinking has such labels. Wines typically cost about 15-25 swiss francs, depending on the optimism of the producer – but what about the cheaper stuff, built for the supermarket shelves, can it be any good? – particularly for 10 francs or less…

Among the best of the genre comes from the venerable Maison Albert Bichot and everything is pared-down for cost-saving; a thin, plastic ‘tear-off’ capsule, a short ‘plastic’ cork (only 39mm) that slides out of the bottle and off the corkscrew very easily, a light bottle and 12%. That sounds just about what you would expect, but you might not expect them to vinify everything themselves, or take a vieilles vignes designation! Albert Bichot are now the largest buyers of grapes (as opposed to must/barrels etc.) in the Côte d’Or, so at least they have a fighting chance of producing something red I suppose:

2007 Albert Bichot, Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes
Medium, medium-pale colour. Forward, friendly strawberry, no bubblegum, and with a slight grassy/herbal backdrop. Decently smooth texture, a sweet-sour fruit impression with acidity that whisks you along just fast enough to avoid you contemplating the sour! Actually the sour is not so bad – let’s call it a talking point. No impression of ‘thin’, also no impression of tannin. Some length, this is actually quite drinkable. It’s not as good as the 2005 or 2006, less beaujolais-esque than the 2005, it’s somehow, almost redolent of proper burgundy…
Rebuy – Maybe

I guess this type of wine, even with such unexpected attention to detail (at the price), is aimed at a specific audience, I’m not sure which one though. It’s better, or at least as good as a 10 franc Beaujolais, whereas at the normal 15+ francs you can buy good cru Beaujolais, so bourgognes typically have a much more competition here. There is a certain level of expectation at this price-point, and this wine did excede those expectations by a comfortable margin, but not enough to become a repeat buy. I would rather spend 15 francs than 10 francs for a bourgogne, but only from some-one who tries as hard as Maison Bichot to give you the maximum for your cash, rather than somebody providing an ostentatiously heavy ‘statement bottle’ for their bourgogne…

very deep pockets

I assume so anyway…

discover the origin

ffetysParmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, Parma Ham, Burgundy, Port and Douro Valley Wines – do they have to come from Burgundy, the Douro, Parma etc.?

Well of-course they do, but do we need the EU to fund ‘learning opportunities’? I really don’t think so; that said, I’ve no problem with the regions applying for, and receiving Protected Designation of Origin, but shouldn’t the marketing bodies for those regions stump up all the cash?

Anyway here is your Protected Designation of Origin learning opportunity.

PS – to be honest I used to quite like Welsh ‘Feta’, what do they call it now? ‘Ffetys’? That sounds too Welsh 😉

offer of the day – henry boillot 2008…

Okay, this is a subscription, so may not reflect merchant prices in another 6 months, but there is a trend that indicates that pricing must become nore realistic, or the winemaker doesn’t care for the vintage 😉
(2007 pricing in parantheses…)

DOMAINE HENRI BOILLOT – millésime 2008 (Subscription)

BOURGOGNE Chardonnay 75cl 22.00 Swiss Francs
MEURSAULT 37,5cl 23.00 (29.00)
MEURSAULT 75cl 42.00 (54.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 37,5cl 24.50 (30.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 75cl 45.00 (56.00)

CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET Les Embrazées 75cl 59.00
MEURSAULT Les Charmes 75cl 68.00 (85.00)
MEURSAULT Les Genevrières 75cl 69.80 (89.50)
MEURSAULT Les Perrières 75cl 78.00 (95.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Clos de La Mouchère 75cl 72.00 (89.50)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Caillerets 75cl 78.00 (89.50)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Pucelles 75cl 78.00 (99.00)

CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 75cl 109.50 (149.00)
CRIOTS BATARD MONTRACHET 75cl 175.00 (215.00)
BATARD MONTRACHET 75cl 269.50 (295.00)
MONTRACHET 75cl 449.00 (499.00)

SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE Les Lavières 75cl 42.00
BEAUNE Clos du Roi 37,5cl 26.50
BEAUNE Clos du Roi 75cl 49.00 (59.50)
VOLNAY Les Fremiets 37,5cl 32.00
VOLNAY Les Fremiets 75cl 60.00 (75.00)
VOLNAY Les Caillerets 75cl 69.80 (79.00)

CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 99.80
CHAMBERTIN 75cl 159.00
BONNES MARES 75cl 165.00

(getting warmer)

“Burgundy has got bigger and riper,” wine writer Robert Joseph told Reuters. “Alsace, in North East France, which used to make very light red wine, now makes much fuller red wine. Germany which used to very light red wine, is now making fuller red wine.”


2005 drouhin beaune 1er clos des mouches blanc


[QPR (or the quality versus price paid ratio) is something I consider is often overlooked by the chain of hands that deliver bottles into the market, clearly it’s an important factor for the people at the end of that chain of-course. This diary entry started as a note on a single bottle with a great reputation, but a spiralling (upwards) price-point. It was good, but maybe not THAT good – I was forced to pull out a benchmark to compare…]

I often wonder who buys this Drouhin wine, particularly 2005 vintage onwards, it really is priced very high (for a Beaune 1er), like a Corton-Charlemange and more than most Puligny 1ers. I should occasionally step outside my fiscal comfort-zone to investigate, so here’s the ridiculously priced (90 swiss francs) 2005 version…

2005 Joseph Drouhin, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches Blanc
Medium, medium-pale yellow colour. The nose is quite forward and displays both width and aromatic depth. Faint butter edges yellow fruit, and there’s a hint of torrefaction at the borders that adds a butterscotch note to the ripe lemon fruit. Very good texture, balance, and with an intensity that keeps growing in the mouth. There’s none of that warm fat that is typical of a Beaune blanc, and there’s a good burst of interest in the mid-palate. The flavours of the finish have a more mineral aspect and is very, very good. Overall, it’s a great package – every sip was savoured.
Rebuy – Yes but the qpr seems poor. Maybe I should pull out an 05 M&M Puligny Caillerets as a benchmark – it was only two-thirds of the price – game on…

2005 Mischief & Mayhem, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets
Medium, medium-pale golden. After the Beaune, the nose is certainly of finer fruit and of similar depth, though less wide. Hints of lanolin and a faint, creamy brioche too. Softer, silkier, just a little narrower on entry, but on super acidity it expands across the palate much more impressively. It’s also very long with a more savoury element than the last bottles. Interestingly, all the constituent parts favour the Puligny tonight, but the ‘team’ performance is not quite as together as the Beaune’s. The Beaune has nothing like the density of the Puligny, and surprisingly seems the more mineral. Day two this is very ‘together’ and the clear leader.
Rebuy – Yes

Overall I’d be very happy to have either/both in the cellar, yet there is only one winner from a qpr perspective, I did , just slightly, prefer the Drouhin on the night – maybe day 2 will be a different story…

[EDIT: Yes my allegiance changes to the Puligny on day two!]

modest saturday lunchtime bottles…


It’s a while since I met up with Marc, so we decided to open a couple of ‘lunchtime’ bottles together.

I started at 7:30am by slowly easing out the cork from a 1972 Domaine du Clos Frantin Grands-Echézeaux – it smelled mighty fine. I popped in a stopper and then left it in a cool place for lunchtime. Marc’s approach was different, but just as effective: the 2005 Bouchard Pere Clos de Bèze was simply popped and poured. 80% of the way through the proceedings Marc suggested an interesting counterpoint – a 2004 Schubert Block B NZ pinot noir from the Wairapara.

1972 Clos Frantin, Grands-Echézeaux
A slightly porty fruit quickly, but not entirely gives way to beef, almonds, width and warmth – impressive and very complex. The acidity just has a hint of balsamic character, so probably best not to leave this for another 30+ years, but there is width and dimension on the perfectly textured mid-palate and it’s very long. This was savoured over about 3+ hours and it never faded. Super.

2005 Bouchard Pere er Fils, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
A precociously forward nose – it hits you before your nose even reaches into the glass. Ignoring the complex, spicy oak character – and there is a lot of it – the core of the nose is a trip through red, down to black fruit, lower down it is a mineral, coal-like effect. Very high quality indeed. Eventually it takes on coffee, chocolate and a subtle creamyness. This is just a little tighter and with less fireworks than last time, it’s lost a little of the buttery texture (a good thing!), but the frame and proportions of the wine are awesome. Perfect balance, mineral, multi-dimensional and long. It’s drinking fine now, but this will be more and more stunning as it develops – what price one of these when it nears its 40th birthday!

2004 Schubert, Block B Pinot Noir
An interesting counterpoint – gorgeously bright and enticing medium cherry-red colour. The nose is the weak part – it offers a lot of grassy, pyrazine type notes – a little coffee slowly adds to the mix. In the mouth this is rather good, particularly when you consider the company it is keeping today, there is density, good intensity of fresh fruit and very fine balance, there’s almost no tannin to find. There isn’t the complexity or length of the previous wines, but there are no ‘holes’. In its own right, this is a super drink.

Rebuy – Yes to all 3!

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: