Why Big Red Diary?

gevrey, st.romain, chablis – and not just dogs!

Cold but not very cold in Chablis today, but no snow below 500metres – unlike Beaune early this morning!

Here are a couple of weekend pictures and some from today in Chablis…

chablis last week…

My rogues gallery of visits from last week.

Of-course there will be more visits this week, starting with the producer with the best hat for the last two vintages! Forecasts are for -8°C too – though it seems without the snow that was originally forecast – maybe I’ll get to exercise the camera more – that would be something then 🙂

1995 pinson, chablis 1er montmains…

What a wine – already the candidate for white wine of the year!

1995 Pinson, Chablis 1er Montmains
Here’s a modest golden colour but it’s still relatively light hued. A deep, vibrant, mineral, beautiful older wine aroma – not even the barest trace of oxidation. Wide, a little hint of fat, really fine acidity and with slowly evolving flavours that start to add a little lanolin and a creamy base to the texture of this wine. Energy, super complex, simply great – what a wine!
Rebuy – No Chance

week 1, weekend wines…

There is plenty of blah-blah about the pricing of 2015 reds, but looking farther afield than Vosne and Chambolle, and there is much to enjoy. So, a modest selection this weekend, but not normally modest wines – unfortunately one was a stinker – literally!

2002 Nicolas Potel, Aloxe-Corton Les Boutières
I’ve probably never bought more of a single wine – 18 bottles – which I started drinking right away, early in 2004. They have all been lovely – and it has been brilliant to follow the evolution of a wine, one bottle per year – I think that I still have 2 or 3 more. This particular bottle had been sat in my fridge in Beaune for the best part of 2 years – it seems only wasting space.
Ugh – what is that smell – like the strongest brett – totally DNPIM. I left it un-stoppered for 24 hours – it was no better when I returned. Yuk!

2012 Camille Giroud, Santenay 1er Clos Rousseau
Always a very good cuvée chez CG and at a great price for the last years. I remember that one barrel of this tasted fabulous – approaching grand cru. Of course the blended cuvée was on a lower order, but still damn good!
Dark colour – a big, slightly wild nose that implies freshness, a little minerality and plenty of dark-red fruit. In the mouth there’s structure, though the tannin is not drying – there’s also fine volume of clean, interesting and mouth-filling flavour. Really drinking very well and quite powerful wine too. It tastes great today, and will only get better – Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

offer of the day – 2014 clos de tart

The last offer from my Swiss merchant (that I have notes for) was 2009, and the jump to 2014 is not very big in the context of the current market – maybe there was market push-back on their recent pricing? Of-course I’d be much more interested in what the 2015 will be ‘going for!’


CLOS DE TART Grand Cru 2014 75cl 324.00 (2009=298.00 Swiss francs)
CLOS DE TART Grand Cru 2014 150cl 678.00 (626.00)
CLOS DE TART Grand Cru 2014 300cl 1,424 (not offered)

Mercurey – Saint Vincent – 28-29 Januray

It’s getting closer and closer – the Saint Vincent in Mercurey, that is – and let’s not forget its co-host, Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu! Don’t forget to save the date!

Unfortunately (and typically!) I can’t attend, I’m already too much in France in January and February, but I’m hoping that it runs well and everyone enjoys better weather than was the case in Irancy last January.

Still, the team at Bourgogne Aujourd’hui have put together a really useful Mercurey spotlight for their up-coming issue, including appellation info, Saint Vincent info, a very complex ‘soil map’ of the appellation, and notes from tasting various crus – which you can read/see here (it is in French).

For more information from the organisers, including the programme (et-cetera) you can visit their website here.

bonneau du martray – part 2 – more info

The best (most) information to date on the transaction and some of the drivers for the sale.


chablis – day 2

Oof! Today was chilly.

Before I could go anywhere, I needed I needed 10 environmentally unfriendly minutes for my car to warm-up and shed its layer of ice – overnight temperatures of about -9°C were to blame.

I managed a couple of short hops into the vines between appointments – a selection of photos below for you – have a nice weekend – I shall be warming-up in Beaune for my weekend, before returning to Chablis on Monday!

chablis – day 1

My first day of a three-week tour of duty in Chablis – almost 50 domaines lined up for some Vintage 2015 action. A chilly day but 3°C – it’s forecast to be -6 to -8°C overnight – that should be fun judging by the damp roads! Anyway, my first visits delivered delicious wines – one producer described them as more ‘commercial’ than the chiselled brilliance (my description) of the 2014s. Let’s see how it goes…

bonneau du martray (largely) sold

dsc02017Jancis (above) was the first to post on this, in English. One hour ahead of her was the following in French.

My rough commentary is:

American Stanley Kroenke has acquired the majority of the capital of Domaine Bonneau Martray
Kroenke, approaching 70 years old, and owner Arsenal football club in the UK, plus US basketball, soccer and football teams, is also the owner of, amongst others in the US, the Screaming Eagle winery.

The Bault de la Morinière family (Jean-Charles – pictured right – 15 Dec 2016) for a long time have told the tale of ‘only 3 owners in 1,250 years‘ but the family have now sold the majority (whatever that means) of their shares in the domaine to Stanley Kroenke for an undisclosed sum – and he’s not a Frenchman! – but maybe this allows the family to claim maintenance of ownership, even if a minority ownership.

At nearly 70 years of age, Kroenke is roughly the same age as Jean-Charles; whilst the latter has been looking for a successor, the former continues to forge deals. I had heard that the generations following Jean-Charles were not interested to take up the reigns of the domaine – maybe there was no other possibility – or indeed this was the least worst solution, assuming that Pinault and Arnault were potentially unwelcome suitors…

I hope that it works well for all the parties involved, Jean-Charles has been a fantastic steward of the domaine, I have always enjoyed my many discussions with him, though it’s also a domaine that has been blighted with oxidation issues in the last years. According to Les Echos, Armand de Maigret, ‘the French general manager for Mr Kroenke’s vineyards, will supervise the property while maintaining its unique identity.

hello 2017, hello taillepieds…

My first day, this year, in Burgundy today. A short trip to a producer in Volnay this afternoon was my only visit, and tomorrow I will start my campaign in Chablis. When I arrived at midday, the vines and hillsides were white with frost, but slowly as the afternoon temperatures reached the dizzy heights of 4°C, the white line of frost went ever higher. In the picture above only the trees above Taillepieds stayed white…

week 52, weekend wines…

There was more Pommery – it has served a very useful, delicious function this Christmas!

1985 Michel Voarick, Pernand-Vergelesses
A little must and apparently some deep, kind of dirty oak too – fortunately with this wine, aeration is our friend – it cleans up remarkably, delivering a deep nose with some sous-bois and an attractive plummy sweetness. That’s a pretty apt description of the flavours too – round deep, a little sweet, and putting on some nice weight with time in the glass – this wine went from unattractive to very nice in about 40 minutes. Tasty!
Rebuy – Yes

2008 Lucie et Auguste Lignier, Morey St.Denis 1er Chaffots
Still a deep and young colour, The nose implies a little gas and there’s certainly some modest reduction, above which there’s fruit – but you need to shake the bottle to release that gas, and wait another 20 minutes before you can get at that fruit – fruit of very fine clarity that’s worth the wait. In the mouth this has a subtle spritz to start and the reduction is also on the palate – indeed it never leaves despite half the bottle waiting for day 2 – at this stage I have to declare that a fault. The impression on the palate is of high acidity – drinkable but still high. A wine that’s the archetypal Curate’s Egg today as there is much that I like, and whilst the reduction is modest, it’s persistent so will need at least another 5-6 years to fade – if it fades.
Rebuy – No

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