Why Big Red Diary?

A New Site.

Another new producer’s website, this time from Domaine des Chézeaux. Some super-keen prices too for the Grand Cru’s of Griotte-Chambertin, Chambertin & Clos Saint Denis, all reviewed in the forthcoming Burgundy Report

Closing the door on 2003

romanee saint vivantSo it’s 7:15pm on the 24th September, looking west past the cross on the corner of Romanée Saint-Vivant the sun is already gone. You need something against the chill – it’s about 12°C with a sneaky breeze.

Despite all the vineyards around being harvested many days ago, there are so many grapes in the DRC vineyards that are still hanging – but they are for the birds!

The grapes appear more homogenous than 12 days ago when still there were many green bunches. I’m sure there could be a decent cuvée made from this lot, but these days your not allowed to pick your own – though the grapes from Romanée-Conti did tast rather nice!

Speaking with Etienne de Montille yesterday (who spoke with Aubert de Villaine on Saturday) DRC left something like 20% of the fruit on the vine after taking only that which was perfectly ripe. Doing a quick calculation based on the size of La Tâche, a rough €500 estimate per bottle and an even rougher 35hl/ha average yield, that’s close to 1 million Euro left on the vines – now that’s what you call commitment to quality! Also gives a hint to why it costs what it does.

Dr Goode on Terroir

A little more on terroir? How about a more scientific look at the concept of wines tasting like the soils they are grown on – Jamie Goode is our guide

Bond, James Bond…

Ever wondered what James Bond drinks? Here’s a treasure-trove of information – where he drinks that half-bottle of ’53 Mouton Rothschild etc.

Towerblock Cellars

Ever though of updating your cellar? Just think, if you made it over 12 metres tall from glass and stainless steel, you’d have to throw away all those cartons with only one bottle in, and probably the lids from wooden cases that you thought you might find a use for!

Sacrifice in Romanée-Conti

romanee-contiPlenty of domaines harvested in August but some left it until September.

By the 12th 99% of the producers have finished, but for the Grand Cru’s of Vosne-Romanée, most still have lots of fruit on the vine, plenty also on the floor – as above in Romanée-Conti.

The yields were pitiful with 2-3 small bunches per vine – and yet still whole bunches were sacrificed in the ‘nameplate’ vineyards.

The Heat of 2003

La TacheLooking across La Tâche 25.07.2003

Already two months of close to 40°C and another month of the same still to endure – praying for a little rain?

Still it’s a little cooler as we start September, but most vineyards are already cleared.

It seems that some vineyards have problems; the increasing sugars and decreasing acidity are usually a sign to begin harvesting – but the phenolics were still unripe. Many still harvested as they believed that no acidity would be left.

It will be – for sure – a fascinating vintage and certainly one to remember, though, despite the skills to be found in many domaines (where doubtless some superb wines will appear) I expect this to be a very heterogenous millesime . . . . .

Terry Thiese

I cannot lie, Terry Thiese was a new name to me when I came across his work this week. An ardent terroiriste he writes with wit verve and for me the occasional bolt of blinding clarity. Do yourself a favour and check out some of his work.

Oaky Wine & En Primeur

lambraysJust in case you didn’t know, there’s a big problem with en-primeur tastings;

Back in January 2002 the 2000 Grand Cru of Clos des Lambrays really stood out for me at a tasting organised by the UK merchant Howard Ripley.

The problem is that the wines are sometimes not representitive of what eventually gets bottled. I drank a bottle of the retail ‘version’ this week and despite lovely fruit, the palate is like chewing wood – very disappointed – this will probably be affecting the wine in 10 years time – Given that there’s a 6-pack in storage, I hope this is just an isolated batch…

The New France

jefford new france
Can one vineyard consistently produce wine of a different quality or expression despite being separated by no more than a small dirt road?

It is the basis of the French A.O.C system and the clarion call of the ‘terroiristes’.

There are those who find this (very) frankly an unsatisfactory and even worse a completely unscientific explanation of the phenomenon – if indeed there is such a phenomenon.

Although starting on the (almost) completely different subject of reviewing Andrew Jefford’s super new book ‘The New France’ here in this thread a wonderfull display of entrenched positions emerge.

New Website…

Nicolas Potel’s first website had a touch of the ‘off the shelf’ about it, but this new one looks a lot smarter. Hopefully we will see plenty of updates!

free lunch?

Can there ever be such a thing as a free lunch? Well Tom Stevenson’s superb and completely free 2003 Champagne & Sparkling Wine Guide at 228 pages seems hard to argue with.

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