Why Big Red Diary?

a new record for the hospices de nuits

The auction of the Hospices de Nuits:

To quote Le Bien Public – or at least to translate them:

“The sale is over! The record set last year with 1.157 million euros was pulverised. The new record stands at 1.750M €. This record was expected since the number of barrels was much higher than in 2017 (143 vs 90.5)”

It’s worth noting that if the average price per barrel had been the same as last year, then the total would have been higher – €1.83 million. But it’s still a very good result for the charity!

a little (mainly) st.romain action today…

Having, first, dispatched the first mosquito of the year, the forecast wasn’t great for the afternoon – but we still had sun in the middle of the day – So we decided to take a chance and go for a walk in St.Romain. We couldn’t have calculated it better – the first drops of rain started to fall just as we got back to the car. Onward to Hotel Montrachet for mid-afternoon coffee – always to a back-drop of blackened skies, flashes of lightening and the sound of thunder. Kindly the heavy rain and hail waited until we were on the inside, looking out.

I’ve seen heavier rain in the Côtes, but not for a long time – the roads quickly flooded and there were intermittent power-cuts – everything was reset back at the apartment in Beaune. I may not jog!

a cheeky mid-weeker…

Despite being shaken up in a van on Tuesday, not bad at all…

2005 des Croix, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
A satisfying ‘pop’ as the cork comes out. Still plenty of colour. The nose with a trace of reduction, but the fruit is also deep. Finally this wine has some secondary flavours – this was pure fruit liqueur a few years back. Open and very tasty indeed – a hint of reduction on the palate too – there was none of this on previous bottles. Previously a very great wine considering the label – it remains so. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

the case workout…

Whilst I didn’t upload it to my Strava, and despite no jogging yesterday, I still did quite a workout, and I have some residue of that in my muscles today! Starting out on Monday evening at 8pm, and returning home yesterday at 13h30 (over 700km later), I had one of my shortest ever trips to Beaune – the reason, to repatriate the other two-thirds of my wine-cellar.

When I moved house in 2015, I had some place for wine but it didn’t look enough. So a friendly vigneron offered space in their cuverie for what turned out to be two very highly stacked pallets worth of wine and the rent was only a bottle here and there. After 3 years of kindness, they needed the space. I didn’t find another place in Beaune, so it was all coming back to Switzerland with me. There are, of-course, technically, some issues with that. The wine started in Switzerland, which is not in the EU, but I anyway drove to Beaune with it, without a hitch. Coming back to Switzerland was also potentially fraught with customs issues, even though that’s where the wine started out from. Anyway, maybe yesterday’s rain (on the French side of the border) kept the roving patrols of the douane in their cafés. I made it home intact.

I’d hired a van for my two pallets, and in theory it only had a little under 1,100kg as a payload limit – I think I had closer to 1,200kg – but with no passengers – so that’s fair, no(?!) Thankfully the pallets could be loaded with a forklift so all those cases didnt have to be individually stacked! After arriving home, I’d got 3 hours to unload the van or I’d be paying for a second day of van-hire – that concentrated the mind – oh and the leg and arm muscles! Give-or-take it was 120 cases of wine to take out of the van, carry them down into the cellar, work out how best to stack them, and then head back up the stairs for the next one(s). Whilst I said 120 cases, many were 6-packs (1 6-pack, I still counted as 1 case) and the majority of the cases were not complete.

I’m guessing I brought back 650-750 bottles, and I didn’t have the chance to check the contents of all the cases – yes I am completely unorganised and only the foggiest idea what now lies in wait for me! But drinking at home will now be a little more (Burgundian) diverse, and always with a nice surprise as I find things, I already noted some unopened six-packs of 1999s… 🙂

And on Friday – it’s back to Beaune!

weekend corkscrew work – week 9 2018

Oedoria, Cremant, Extra-Brut
From the Cave Cooperative of that name in Beaujolais, made with chardonnay.
A modest but pure nose. Plenty of slightly rustic bubbles – it gets better with air as the CO2 calms. The flavour is excellent, wide and with a fine purity – totally sans artifice. This is very good stuff.

2015 Nicolas Burguet, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium-plus colour. The nose is a little pinched but pure and with a widening depth of fruit. Hmm – a very silky entry, clarity, purity of long, direct flavour with a faint salinity. Not a big or overtly ripe 2015 but an exceedingly classy and very tasty wine too. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

1993 Daniel Bocquenet, Echézeaux
Now 25 years old. It’s my last bottle of this – and I only had two – the first had some spoilage, it was bad. This is good, actually it’s better than good!
The nose starts width and freshness, and a super silkiness too – yes! With time the nose does develop a very low-level of brett, but like a Rhone, I’m calling this complexity! This wine glides across the palate with a combination of freshness, depth, clarity and intensity – this starts with a bloody/iron aspect and whilst that fades, it remains great! The finishing width is complex and truly delicious. A great wine!
Rebuy – Yes

1998 Vincent et Jacques Audras, Juliénas Clos de Haute Combe
The nose starts round and warm, but given a little air it becomes, fresh and even vibrant. The palate, from the start, is fresh and direct – it’s also layered with delicious flavour and not a hint of oxidation /marsala. Three of us drank this oh-so quickly. Great Juliénas – what a wine!
Rebuy – Yes

2008 Marc Roy, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur
This is rather deeply aromatic and not a little earthy – behind there’s a flash of concentrated, almost liqueur fruit. This has the same fresh zip and line as the Juliénas, but with extra mid-palate intensity and much more mouth-watering length. Fabulous length – as good as the Juliénas was, this is still better. Another great wine – three in a row – no complaints from me!
Rebuy – Yes


  • The weather of last week – i.e. the -12°C – was seemingly insufficient the freeze the opened bottles of wine that stood outside my kitchen window. Still, that was one chilly drop of wine…
  • Talking of the weather – my long-weekend visit to the Côtes was called off – more due to ice rain than the snow – so despite the all-round prowess of the scooby, it was to be a weekend at home, rescheduling some domaine visits.
  • Typing my visit to Franck Large of Domaine du Breuil in Salles-Arbuissonnas-en-Beaujolais. Franck noted that from 2017 he can include the name of his village on his Beaujolais Villages label. I told him that the name of his village isn’t easy for an English speaker to say – Franck joked ‘It’s not easy for the French either!
  • It was a short-term laugh, but following Google’s update to it’s search engine ‘to make it harder for people to buy guns(?)’ we also lost for a while the ability to buy bur-gun-dy. They fixed it in a couple of days, but it took longer still to recover the back-catalogue of the Sex Pistols!
  • Light afternoon reading… silver-tongues-ray-walker-hong-kong-and-the-rules-of-the-game/

my updated burgundy vintage charts – v.1.8

Updated to include, among other things, my early thoughts on the 2016s.

The ‘other things’ include:

  • Tada! Chablis!
  • Tada! Beaujolais!
  • A small increase in the average score for 2004 reds – rare bottles of-course 🙂
  • Increasing the number of ‘red flagged’ white vintages in the Côte d’Or – i.e. ones to drink up to minimise your exposure to oxidised bottles.
  • Lastly a small reduction in score for the ‘worst’ 2014 reds – I’ve ‘enjoyed’ some quite weedier, ‘meagre’ bottles.

week 8 2018 – weekend wines

Friday night with some of the Commanderie de Calgary saw 2x 2015 whites and a 2014 red. My short recollections are that we started with a Lamy St.Aubin 1er Clos de la Chatenière which was taut and fine – very lovely wine. The second was Alex Gambal’s St.Aubin 1er Mugers des Dents du Chien which was softer and much more open – tasty but definitely lacking the tension of the Lamy – villages level by comparison. The 2014 red was Tollot-Beaut’s Aloxe-Corton – a wine that was modest in almost all directions yet, again, tasty enough.

Then kicking off with two from Beaujolais:

2014 Lafarge-Vial, Fleurie Clos Vernay
The nose is a little narrow and showing plenty of herb and pyrazine. The palate is, likewise, quite pinched and a little meagre today – this wine has really shrunk in size in the last couple of years – I’d say don’t touch one for at least another three years – now, clearly, isn’t the time. I checked, and the pyrazine is consistent.
Rebuy – No

2011 Julien Sunier, Régnié
More volume and width of aroma – darker fruited, with that slight lactic impression that low sulfur wines exhibit. In the mouth there’s much more volume and complexity of flavour – layered in delivery – with great length too. This is still a young wine but much more open, concentrated and ‘giving’ today. Everyone’s favourite from these two. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2015 Trimbach, Riesling
It seemed a good idea for our Thai red curry!
A narrow but deep and fresh nose. The palate is direct and much more acid-driven than I anticipated in this warm vintage. Fresh, but incisive, not sharp. A great choice for our dish and the whole bottle was finished. Excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

2007 Michele et Patrice Rion, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Today this is one of the best addresses in Burgundy, and largely because the use of oak is much more sympathetic today than it once was…
A little vanilla on the nose – even at 10 years old. Very slowly the nose widens with a diffuse but quite appealing red berry-fruit. Plenty of volume in the mouth and the sweet, roundness and complexity of vanilla-tinged fruit. It’s delicious, but whilst I’ll happily eat a whole tub of vanilla ice-cream – without outside assistance(!) – you already know that I’m less of a fan of finding it in my wine – at least when I’m expecting some maturity. Very tasty but… On day two, the last third was virtually vanilla-free – maybe there is still some hope (for me)…
Rebuy – Maybe

new maps & saturday afternoon in the meursault sunshine

I love these maps – and now there are even more of them!

To the right you can see the new ‘wider picture’ maps in the Beaujolais series, which now means that it’s a set of 19(!) – and they are all now in my greedy hands! This set now comes in a much more user-friendly A3 size – as opposed to the more cumbersome A2 (roughly) versions that were previously available – so now they will be much less expensive to frame. Actually, they are the perfect size for laminating and using as place-mats – though that means that I’d have to find 19 ‘friends!

[Edit] And you can actually buy them here.

The Siberian cold isn’t quite in the Côtes yet, but the wind still has some chill to it – we bumped into Dominique Lafon in Beaune’s market on Saturday and I asked him if he was happy with the cold snap, he answered “For the vines yes, but I’m damn cold – I’ve got a hat in my jacket pocket, that I should be wearing, but my girlfriend doesn’t like the look of it – so there you go!” Haha!

Anyway in the afternoon we took a walk around the hillside of Tessons (plus, plus) with its views towards the town of Meursault – I liked the light so took far too many very similar pictures! Enjoy!

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