Why Big Red Diary?

offer of the day – Ponsot 2014…

Offer of the day, once again from my tame Swiss merchant, the first for this producer:

DOMAINE PONSOT 2014 – Morey St.Denis

Morey St.Denis 1er Clos des Monts Luisants TVV (blanc) 75cl 99.00 (Swiss Francs)
Morey St.Denis 1er Clos des Monts Luisants TVV (blanc) 150cl 208.00
Morey St.Denis 1er Cuvée des Alouettes 75cl 99.00

Corton Cuvée du Bourdon 75cl 189.00
Corton Bressandes 75cl 219.00
Charmes-Chambertin Cuvée des Merles 75cl 239.00
Chapelle-Chambertin 75cl 299.00
Griotte-Chambertin 75cl 319.00
Clos de la Roche 75cl 499.00
Clos de la Roche 75cl 1,078.00

I need a rest, and I only typed that. I wonder how I’d have felt if I’d paid that!

a little crispy beaune today…

Although it has tried, for the last days, Beaune couldn’t really escape the grasp of a freezing mist – it was only mid-afternoon today before the first patches of blue sky could be seen. I took advantage and grabbed a few shots before the frost started to fall from the trees and vines:

offer of the day – Leflaive 2015…

Offer of the day from my tame Swiss merchant again – unfortunately I never saw an offer for 2014s:

DOMAINE LEFLAIVE 2015 – Puligny-Montrachet (En Primeur)
Just for reflection, you will see the same offer prices of their (2013s, 2012s) in the brackets.

Pouilly-Fuissé 2015 75cl 37.00
Bourgogne 2015 75cl 38.00 Swiss Francs (35.00, 35.00)
Puligny-Montrachet 2015 75cl 69.00 (65.00, 65.00)

Puligny-Montrachet Les Clavoillons 75cl 89.00 (88.00, 85.00)
Meursault Sous Le Dos d’Âne 75cl 99.00 (99.00, 96.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 75cl 145.00 (148.00, 139.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 75cl 155.00 (159.00, 149.00)
Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 75cl 195.00 (175.00, 175.00)

Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 325.00 (319.00. 289.00)
Bâtard-Montrachet 75cl 348.00 (355.00, 310.00)
Chevalier-Montrachet 75cl 445.00 (450.00, 395.00)

A vintage where on one hand they give (a little), and on the other hand they take – relative to 2013…

some week 48 wines…


I’m sitting at home today with a virus, but I have to be thankfull for its timing, because Saturday was a great night of wines with friends – more from that (maybe) tomorrow. My nose chose to close only on Sunday night! And provided my nose re-opens in time for next Monday’s return to Beaune for my last week of tastings, I’ll count my lucky stars!

This was a lovely group of wines from the modest to the virtual cult!

The 2014 Louis Max, Mercurey Clos de la Marche is drinking better than any villages Mercurey has the right to just now – everybody loved it – well done! Then there was the 2014 Gravité by Anne-Marie & Jean-Marc Vincent, a cuvée of selected old vines – complex, with plenty muscle, energy and great texture – really a special wine.

Then came the 1985 Bertagna, Vougeot 1er Clos de la Perrière– this was a very good old wine, but with emphasis on the old. This particular bottle was tasty but on the way down – quite a contrast to the last that I opened which was from every single aspect, a beauty to behold. Versus that last bottle, this mustered no more than 5/10!

My last wine, I describe as a cult wine, but only because almost nobody gets to buy them – the domaine has only 4 climats – 3 are 1er cru and one villages, and all in Chassagne – oh and they extend over just 1.2 hectares! The 2013 Lamy-Caillat, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Champs Gains exudes quality right from my piercing of the wax-topped bottle with the corkscrew, to draining the last of its complex but beautifully and balanced and weighted flavour. This was really top-quality Chassagne – not padded by wood or other make-up. Really a super bottle. I can’t wait to pay a visit…

tasting beyond the limit…


It’s not without peril this wine-tasting thing.

Yesterday was a modest day from the perspective of ‘number of tastings’ – I had just four appointments, one in the morning and three in the afternoon. But it was far from a modest quantity of samples:
Tasting #1 – 31 wines
Tasting #2 – 31 wines
Tasting #3 – 38 wines
And tasting number 4? Well, there was no number 4 – I had to cancel it. I was feeling quite alcoholically light-headed at the end of tasting number 3. Of-course I was spitting, not drinking, and I’ve done 100 wines before without this effect – but 2015s have more alcohol than most vintages, so I guess that may have been a contributing factor.

But there are various factors to consider; firstly I probably should have driven anywhere – though I did drive 2 minutes to Beaune’s Grand Frais – or rather its bakery – to take on some stomach ballast. I felt much better after. But I really wouldn’t have done a professional job at rendezvous number 4, and certainly shouldn’t drive after yet another 20 wines.

So how do those reviewers who make 8-12 visits per day a) drive safely and b) not suffer from alcohol-related medical issues?

Still, the excess of major Côte d’Or tastings finishes for me in a couple of weeks. Then, after a short tasting holiday, I’ll be doing the same again in Chablis in January and then in Beaujolais in February 🙂

tuesday – 2 côtes…


Just a few pics from Tuesday. Chilly but the Christmas lights are on in Beaune – so that’s a nice balance 🙂

a chilly monday…

oof – it’s chilly this week.

The skies are blue, and whilst it was a modest 7°C yesterday, the north wind was ‘to the bone’ – today it was more like 3° in the morning (after -2°C overnight in town) – it definitely doesn’t feel warmer 🙂

my favourite comment of last week:

I was worried about putting air-conditioning into a 250 year-old cellar, because then I have the power of god – as I decide when it’s winter or not.
Jean-Marie Fourrier

offer of the day – le grappin

Not from a merchant this time, as Le Grappin sell direct. But you can see their offer here.

No afilliation, et-cetera, but you can find my report and notes on their 2015s in my last (October) Burgundy Report – here.

just a few bottles from last week/end – week 46


Of-course it was something of a week of spoiling ourselves – almost exclusively in the company of Marko de Morey and his wife, celebrating his 60th birthday. I’m not the biggest fan of conspicuous ‘trophy bottle’ pictures, but they are made to be drunk – and drunk they were 🙂

Just a quick run-down:

The 1990 Veuve-Cliquot was a much more oxidised style than is my preference, but was fresh and certainly complex, though for me personally, I stop short of saying ‘yum!’ The 2002 Albert Grivault Meursault Clos des Perrières followed, and that was a wine in great shape – a hint fat but layered complexity and super length. A really excellent bottle, and – yum! Then there was the 1993 Domaine Faiveley, Mazis-Chambertin, A surprisingly supple and easy wine – considering that it was a) 1993, b) Mazis-Chambertin and c) Faiveley that we were drinking, it was amazingly unstructured grand cru wine. The cork was almost completely soaked through with wine – perhaps this was the reason. Nice wine, but nothing of a), b) and c)…

Our second sitting began with the Taittinger, already a few years from release, and this was very tasty wine indeed. There followed our major disappointment – dark brown and totally oxidised 2001 Lafon, Meursault-Perrières – totally undrinkable – and before anyone asks, it was bought on release and removed from professional storage only 2 weeks before opening. The 2003 René Engel, Echézeaux was, however, very drinkable indeed – full, warm, not much tannin to speak of – a lush, ripe, opulent wine that shows the vintage far more than the domaine’s Grands Echézeaux of the same vintage. Lunch the next day allowed also the 2011 Clos Frantin, Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts – rather modest of nose but it rolls over the palate with ever-wider flavour and fine interest – a really good wine.

Our last sitting, and our ‘piece de resistance‘ began with 2001 Pierre Morey, Bâtard-Montrachet. If Marko had any trepidation following the performance of our last 2001, he didn’t show it – and neither did the wine! It’s still a very toasty-oaked nose and still with a trace of reduction – presumably the oak contributing to the dark colour, but there was clearly no oxidative aromas or flavours. The palate started great and just kept getting better – despite the oak, Super wine. and I’d say still a youngster. the 2007 Pierre-Yves Colin-Mory, Puligny-Champs Gains was light coloured, super fresh and beautifully penetrating. Perfect, young 2007 – I love 2007s when they are like this! PYCM was followed by the 1998 Roumier, Bonnes-Mares – simply a magical wine and probably the best I have drunk this year. The nose was dark-fruited, precise and with more than a hint of graphite-style minerality. In the mouth it was fresh, darkly-fruited wine of rare clarity and energy – simply fabulous. It was almost embarrassing how quickly the 4 of us drained the bottle! To finish, Jean-Nicolas’s 1998 Méo-Camuzet, Vosne-Cros Parantoux was a super drink, but one that struggled to hold its head high after the Bonnes-Mares; the nose was faintly lactic/bretty. The palate was much redder-fruited, riper-fruited, and whilst it had a very nice complexity in isolation, when paired with the BM, it seemed broad-brush and couldn’t begin to compare to the thrilling clarity of that wine. Probably we should have taken them in the reverse order – and yes, it was also bought on release and kept in storage like the Meursault-Perrières and Bonnes-Mares – but hey! I’m still not complaining 🙂

the (ex) tree of aux reignots…

 A superb pic, courtesy of fellow Burgundy tour-guide, Sue Boxell.

Updated: With feedback from Charles Lachaux.

For a long time, and particularly in early spring, the Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru of Aux Reignots could easily be spotted above Romanée-Conti and La Romanée – because towards the bottom of the 1er cru was an ‘amandier’ (almond) tree – full of white blossom. At its worst, this was just a tree on a hillside of vines, at it’s best, for a couple of weeks per year – as above – it was resplendent.

Well, there was a tree.

I was told by a third party that one evening in the late summer, about 18h30, that it was chopped it down. It’s not hard to guess who the somebody was, as the tree was on an un-planted piece (en friche) of Aux Reignots owned by Arnoux-Lachaux. Charles was quite open about this when I visited two weeks ago to taste 2015s. They now plan to plant this area to vine, an area that Charles Lachaux says has never before been planted with vines. They will make a ‘high-density’ planting which will eventually bring another barrel of wine.

One of Vosne’s very well-known producers confided in me – ‘Well it’s pretty clear why they cut it down in the evening, because if they’d tried to cut it down at ten in the morning, they would have been spotted and we would have tried to put a stop to it – after-all with UNESCO World Heritage status, we have to protect all the countryside. And you know they could have been more subtle about it, it’s easy to kill a tree..

But Charles tells me “The tree was cut at 9:00 am in full light, it took the whole day.

I actually prefer that Charles is quite upfront about this and chose not to be devious either in his timing or by resorting to poison.

But spare a thought for one of the tiniest producers of an Aux Reignots – Gilbert et Christine Felettig, who in a good year make 1 barrel of this wine. They have just designed a new label for their bottles of Aux Reignots – and it has the tree on the label…
Pictured last Friday…

(the organic) gevrey wine club…

No afilliation (et-cetera), but this looks potentially quite interesting, and it’s connected to the people who own/run the (very comfortable) Les Deux Chevres hotel in Gevery-Chambertin.


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