Why Big Red Diary?


When even a (non-French) winemaker asks me what I mean by ‘agrumes’ in my tasting notes, then I realise that I’m using a ‘too Frenchie’ term in an Anglo-Saxon context, and I need to explain. I’ve added the following to my ‘Technical Glossary‘ page:

Agrume is the type of fruit that can range from orange to grapefruit – and everything in-between.* An agrume desert is normally a mix of orange, mandarin, grapefruit et-cetera. Agrume reduction or ‘noble reduction‘ (as is the current phrase-du-jour) is the Roulot style of white wine reduction that (everyone is trying to mimic today) has a grapefruit-style aromatic and even flavour, yet is (technically) closely associated with a modest reduction.
*Agrume fruits: Bergamot, Bigarade, Calamondin, Chedrat, Citrandarin, Citrange, Citrumelo, Clementine, Clemenvilla, Combava, Grapefruit, Kumquat, Lemon, Lime, Limette, Mandarin, Orange, Pomelo, Tangelo, Tangerine, Tangor, Ugli, Yuzu

some weekend 49 wines…

2015 Jomain, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Combettes
A lovely sweetly oaked nose, but more importantly sweet yellow citrus too. Large-scale in the mouth, but with fine acidity. There is richness but also a little minerality. The package is big, but impressively tasty!
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Pernand-Vergelesses Clos Berthet
Hmm – vs the Jomain, this is a more structured, faintly phenolic, faintly reduced, mineral nose – really inviting but a world apart. In the mouth this has agrume and minerality – seemingly more structured, but with mouth-watering flavour. If anything, it starts with some austerity, but it gets better and better the longer it is open. More obviously young than the Puligny, but fine. Open at least an hour before drinking, or decant (or both!)
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Françoise André, Beaune 1er Les Reversées
Both aromatically, and in the mouth, this is a real honey. The aromas and flavour are layered and have real depth – top 1er cru performance. Dak-red fruit that is simply delicious. Really a fabulous wine!
Rebuy – Yes

2013 Armelle et Bernard Rion, Chambolle-Musigny Les Echezeaux
Hmm. The nose has a few Chambolle floral traits, but also a darker depth that seems more balsamic. The palate is much more interesting – good depth of flavour, a little more overt structure than the Beaune and a good freshness. This tastes quite good, but aromatically it could be better.
Rebuy – No

lost merode, found galeyrand!

Time to catch up on some wines!

2008 Prince Florent de Merode, Ladoix Les Chaillots
This wine always hovered between very good or modestly disappointing when young, but all the recent bottles have been very tasty indeed – at least for the price of a modest Bourgogne – in fact this wine has always managed to over-deliver for its price-point and currently it is REALLY over-delivering. This would have been a fabulous buy in 2015 if it had still existed!
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Jerome Galeyrand, Côte de Nuits Villages Les Retraits
This is the name of climat in Comblanchien, and this was the first vintage for this wine – with an individual label. “Pinot from another time” says Jerôme, “The owner of the vineyard is in his 80s but it was his father that planted these vines, almost certainly the first planting here post-phylloxera.” Ripe, a dark-red fruited and interesting nose – seemingly with a fine texture. In the mouth this is layered and like the nose, has really great texture – just a lick of structure – fine and long flavour. This could easily fool you into thinking it’s a premier cru. Simply lovely wine – indeed delicious!
Rebuy – Yes

december’s burgundy report

My third Côte d’Or report is now online. Altogether the ‘whites,’ ‘reds’ and ‘grands maisons’ issues include commentary about 2016 and 2015 from over 80 producers and 1,300 wines.

Now comes a relative (report writing) pause for Christmas, then the 5th of January – is Chablis time!


blind wine birthdays…

I’ve been quite occupied with report writing for the last couple of weeks – but December’s is coming on well – so I’m taking a break to type something that’s over 2 weeks-old. The 50th birthday of a friend, held in Beaune. Plenty of wine, all served blind – it was also the last day before my virus hit – I was a doubly lucky boy!

White wine 1. Aromatic freshness with some weight behind. In the mouth this has quite some ripe, round fruit. Silky, long and mineral in the finish – lovely. Tasty wine that might benefit from a lick more of acidity, I guess 2011. But very nice:
2010 Jacqueson Rully 1er La Pucelle (Magnum)

White wine 2. Finer with more aromatic freshness, depth and a little toast. Cool, complex, faintly saline with long, long flavour and super intensity. Perfectly fresh – Bravo. I guessed 2007 Puligny.
2005 Chavy-Chouet, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières (Magnum)

White wine 3. (Decanted) Despite an older colour, this has the freshest nose, with a lovely yellow citrus. In the mouth it’s bright, fresh, intense – clearly some age here – a hint of salted-toffee in the brilliant length finish. Just a top wine with a beautiful shape. I guessed 2004 Charlemagne.
2004 JM Pillot, Chevalier-Montrachet (Magnum)

Red wine 1. Round, quite a floral nose adding a little herb. Fine dark-red fruit, oaky impression but mineral with good drive through the middle and an even tastier mid-length finish. Some modest maturity here but I have no reference points. I guess maybe something Swiss (Oops!)
2009 Jean-Marc Bouley, Pommard Petits Noizons

Red wine 2. More sous bois, maybe a little whole-cluster on this nose. In the mouth there’s much more energy, complexity, good intensity and less impression of oak. I like this very much – there is super dimension of flavour. Excellent. I guess that it’s Gevrey and a grand cru.
2006 Hudelot-Noellat, Clos de Vougeot

Red wine 3. A warm nose of sous-bois. Ooh – this is super-silky, intense yet wide with a flavour of sweet plum. Long and I think this lovely. I guess 1991 from Morey St.Denis.
1999 Cocquard-Loison-Fleurot, Clos de la Roche

Red wine 4. A deep nose with some sous-bois and herb – slowly a faint oak too – over time, much less faint. Supple, great texture but there is still some young tannin. Fresh dark fruit. Gevrey? the oak seems young, the nose a little older – so I guess 2009.
2007 Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin En Champs

Red wine 5. A modest but wide and complex nose that gains in intensity – some depth of sous-bois here. Big in the mouth, with great intensity, depth of flavour and a little wood flavour – but long! Still some tannin in the finish here, a super-long finish. Great wine. I guess 1999 and grand cru.
1991 Albert Morot, Beaune Teurons (Magnum!)

Red wine 6. Deep colour. A big, bright, floral nose with really great dark fruit – though a little extracted perhaps. Supple, quite young flavour with just a modest texture of tannin. Young, long, super and very drinkable, indeed delicious. I guess 2009.
2009 Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay Clos du Roy

Red wine 7. The nose is deep and showing more maturity – yet fresh and fine too.Lots of flavour dimension and energy here – still some tannin too. Faintly salted in the finish. Tasty wine but I think I’ve stopped guessing (or at least writing my guesses!) by now!
2005 Camus, Charmes-Chmabertin!

Red wine 8. Ohh, here is an oldie – I’m going to guess straight away that it’s a 1966 (our host is 50!). The colour is pale and the nose is of a warm smoke. There’s plenty of acidity here and an orange zest impression. A narrow but still attractive (not to everyone!) wine.For what it turns out to be, it’s in great shape!
1966 Valentin Bouchotte, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Hautes-Jarrons

A fun evening, great people and a great selection of wines!

offer of the day – louis jadot 2015s…

Out today.

For anyone looking for cold comfort, that’s the cheapest Montrachet that I’ve seen for a while 🙂
Actually I see value in a number of these wines – even if not the Montrachet! – at least relative to many other producers…


Beaune Clos des Ursules Monopole 1er Cru 2015 75cl 55.00 (Swiss Francs)
Corton Grèves Grand Cru 2015 75cl 79.00
Corton Pougets Grand Cru 2015 75cl 79.00
Corton Pougets Grand Cru 2015 150cl 163.00
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2015 75cl 128.00
Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru 2015 75cl 138.00
Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2015 75cl 169.00
Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru 2015 75cl 259.00
Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2015 75cl 278.00
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 2015 75cl 298.00

Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru 2015 75cl 88.00
Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2015 75cl 119.00
Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2015 75cl 239.00
Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Grand Cru 2015 75cl 319.00
Montrachet Grand Cru 2015 75cl 428.00

Union des Maisons de Vins de Grande Bourgogne (UMVGB)

documentCommuniqué de Presse – Fusion UMVB-UMVBM-1
The biggest news of last week was the fusion of the professional bodies for both northern and southern burgundy producers – the mythical ‘Greater Burgundy.’

It is of-course, politically speaking, long overdue, yet at the producer level, there is pitiful interaction or interest for (for instance) a producer in Gevrey-Chambertin and a producer of Beaujolais Villages working together. The producers in the south will now, however, be allowed to use some (Bourgogne) labels that were previously withheld. Let’s see what extra meat on the bone will appear – post announcement…

announcements wouldn’t come bigger…

If true… :

More info…

brurgundy reports nov+dec…

The November and December Burgundy Report ‘Participants’ 🙂


the 2015 red burgundy report is now online…

11-2016-motifNow online.

Of-course much of the hype surrounding the 2015 reds has some basis in fact – it is simply a great vintage – to see how great, hop over to the subscription report here.

600 wines fall from the pages to add to over 300 in the October issue – and there’s much more to come in my December report covering the grands maisons.

I’m hoping that the December report will published before my Christmas lunch – then I’ve actually the time to enjoy a drop myself – though no 2015s!


sculptured gevrey 1er cru?


A few weeks back I was walking through the vines in Gevrey-Chambertin, and I noticed that one of the most iconic vineyard houses of the Côte d’Or was shrouded in scaffolding!

The house in question neighbours Ruchottes-Chambertin, sitting in the wholly owned Gevrey-Chambertin 1er of Les Issarts – and Faiveley are the sole owners.

I visited Faiveley this week, so was finally able to ask Erwan about this small project…

“Ah the house in Les Issarts, I’ve wanted to renovate it for such a long time. I’m really glad that we finally did it this year, because literally the house was crumbling. It was once a drinking and smoking den so we blocked-up the doors and windows – it turned out that this was really lucky as the lintels were crumbling, so it was only the fact that we’d blocked up the windows and doors that stopped the walls falling down.

“It’s going to be an artist’s atelier, actually a sculptor, the lady that did the sitting sculpture of the monk that is outside the Château de Gevrey-Chambertin – this was really a great idea, as I didn’t really want a maison d’hôte. I’m really looking forward to it!

Me too!

a vosne walk in the morning…

I was unintentionally 1 hour early for my appointment this morning – always better than 1 hour late! – so took the opportunity to have a wander in the still freezing vines…

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