Why Big Red Diary?

drc corton-charlemagne… ‘what has gone so wrong, so fast?’

The quality of the vineyard work and resulting wines of the new team of DRC are assured, as are the open arms of DRC customers wishing to buy these wines, so, initially, I only have a couple of thoughts on this news:

  1. Price. Well, it didn’t take people long did it? In the first minute that the news was posted on the interweb, all the talk was about how the price of Corton-Charlemagne was going to massively increase. But why? There are over 70 hectares of Corton-Charlemagne – 3 hectares is peanuts. The same was said about Corton after the DRC + Florent de Merode agreement, and it never happened. Of-course the DRC Corton is expensive (even from first tier DRC distributors) but a) it remains cheap versus Leroy’s Corton, and b) the wider market pricing for Corton is, seemingly, unaffected since the first DRC wine in 2009. So I don’t see it happening. Of-course Corton-Charlemagne is more sought-after than its red brother and DRC’s Corton-Charlemagne will certainly be expensive, 3-4 times more expensive than Bonneau de Martray were asking, but I’m not expecting the wider market to be significantly affected.
  2. Why? My main thought is ‘What has gone so wrong, so fast?‘ Why can’t (new) Bonneau du Martray sell their own wine? Is this a marketing strategy that just hasn’t worked out – or quite the reverse – the pragmatic result of their review of strategic options? They historically held a lot of wine back, so are, anyway, not used to (attempting) full commercialisation of each vintage – but given a lot of oxidation problems, the stock that they hold has to have questionable value. Of-course this announcement is intriguing but, honestly, it’s a bit of a stain on the history of Bonneau du Martray. That renting out their vines to DRC is financially more attractive, is hardly surprising news, but to actually choose to follow such a business strategy is shocking…

both côtes today…

Côte de Nuits vineyard royalty this afternoon…

The weather just got better and better today – until nearly 9pm – when just as I was searching for my running shoes the heavens opened. Maybe I’ll run tomorrow instead, but the forecast isn’t good…

the last few days…

A weekend of Beaujolais samples, visits to the ‘fair’ in Bern and watching my irises (slowly) open!

It’s good to compare the types of iris, because despite lots of ice and snow between February and April, and so feeling that the plants have a later start this year versus the last, I have one type of iris that has opened on exactly the same day this year as last!

Anyway, back to Beaune today and it’s cold – 12°C. What a difference a few days make!

2015 reds from jules desjourneys

Samples shipped to me by Fabien Dupperay’s PR company – there’s €10 there, just in corks…

I tasted some of these just one year ago with Fabien (here for subscribers), but they were still in tank as he bottles late – he was planning for August 2017. Here I get to try the finished product.

2015 Fleurie
From Morriers and Chapelle du Bois
Very deep colour – if not quite saturated. The nose starts a little yeasty – it needs air. A couple of minutes are enough to release such an impressive depth of kirsch-style dark fruit – it remains a little tight above though. Hmm, this wine melts into the palate, ingraining itself, initially with an inky depth of fruit before emphasising the mineral. The flavour is direct and carried with deft freshness – no mean feat given the concentration. This is great Fleurie!

2015 Chénas Judgement Derniere
Only 9-10 hl/ha
Just a shade lighter in colour. A much rounder and initially brighter nose – there’s some zing – a vibration to the red fruit here. A more overt freshness, here with a very fine but present tannin – texturally it’s a drag over the tongue rather than any apparent grain. Holding a width of impressive flavour in the finish with a more licorice aspect in those flavours. Rounder and redder in character, a wine to wait for – or you will have to take a carafe and wait two hours – then you have more focus, more silk and it becomes the only wine from these five that brings a lovely perfume of violet flowers. Modestly attractive if you pop and pour, but treat it well and you will be rewarded.

2015 Morgon
Back to the deep colour of the Fleurie. Here is a tight nose, one that implies a concentration of dark fruit at its core – but without letting you touch it! Sleek, fresh, like the Chénas it’s showing a little dryness but on a lower level to that wine. It’s brooding, mega-serious stuff, yet open in the finish and fabulously long. Definitely a wine for those with patience, but it has everything going for it – incisive flavour and a hauntingly long finish. Great wine but easily the most backward/least accessible today versus the last two.

2015 Moulin à Vent
25 hl/ha – his highest yield in 2015!
Deep colour. A nose of width, energy and a little spice to the slightly reductive, hence, darker fruit. Extra volume – a mouth-filling wine of energy and concentration – faint bitters in the finish – but this is such a bravado performance – there’s almost braggadocio here. Flavour that melts over the palate into the finish – such a delicious, complex and long finish. If you just want to pop and pour, this is the most delicious and giving of all these today.

2015 Moulin à Vent Les Michelons
A deep colour. There’s such a depth of aroma but there’s an overall tightness too – like the Morgon – don’t touch! Slowly it starts to add some floral complexity. Ooh – despite all that has gone before, there is more volume and energy here and a more overtly mouth-watering, juiciness of flavour too. Juicy, but it’s not all fruit, there’s lots of minerality here. Beautiful texture that’s accented with a hint of dryness. Another great wine, whose energy makes this very accessible.

The Chénas is showing a little behind its siblings today – unless you have a carafe and a little patience – the others are more obviously great wines.

For all their €2 corks, lovingly applied wax capsules and beautiful presentation, the price of these wines is shocking by the standards of Beaujolais, though still quite modest when compared to the Côte d’Or. I’ve no problem with such pricing when people get it right – I’ve placed an order!

the decadence of fourrier’s 2003 clos st.jacques

I bought the wines of this estate from about 1998-2005 – usually a mix of village Gevrey and Chambolle VVs plus the ubiquitous Clos St.Jacques and the Griotte – I think there may have been a couple of Morey Clos Solon purchases afterwards, but even that got to a price that I wasn’t prepared to pay. Not that I ever had bad wines – in fact even the 2004s were pleasers from here – a few corked bottles not withstanding. The biggest shame of the price appreciation of this producer is that these wines never seem to be opened/talked about these days.

Today I’m down to my last few – maybe 15+ bottles – and given that my weekend bottles were of a lighter style, I decided that it was time for a change of gear:

2003 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos St.Jacques
I seem to remember that about the time that this was released, you could buy a whole case (of 12!) of this wine for £300 IB – winesearcher tells me that I can buy a case for £3,300 (IB) today! Before this vintage I had often mused that this CSJ was a more mineral and complex wine than the domaine’s Griotte-Chambertin – so intellectually a more interesting wine – that Griotte being all about accessible fruit and luxurious texture. I see 2003 as a bit of a crossover vintage – the domaine’s Griotte today is all that it should be and has put a gap between itself and the still admirable Clos St.Jacques.
Ooh – now that’s a deeper colour than the weekend’s 96 and 95! The nose has a padded volume of ripe, voluptuous fruit – both engaging and very inviting – becoming a blend of dried fruits, florals and blood! Ooh – and the palate’s a match too! Round, plush – such a decadent texture. Rich flavoured to match the texture but with a nice line – layers of flavour that are a little stony at the core but mouth-watering as it extends into the finish. It’s hard to pinpoint an age – there is so little maturity in the flavour, it’s timeless – almost and so-far – only the colour is telling me that it’s not a youngster. There are days that I could drink this bottle in one sitting, but I’ll hold firm and force myself to follow it over two days – the sacrifices!
Day 2; The floral aroma remains, today with a hint of meaty earth to add to the fruit. The palate seems a little shrill versus day 1 – Fourrier wines never seem as good on day 2 – so drink up on day 1 – it’s worth it!
Rebuy – Yes

weekend wines – week 19 2018

The Spiess was a cheap and super-cheerful wine with sweetness but balanced, gushing acidity – one to be careful of in the sunshine as the bottle will empty very quickly!

1996 Guy Castagnier, Clos St.Denis
Bottle one – such a brutal level of TCA – I didn’t like how the cork smelled when pulled, and the wine did indeed prove to be devastatingly corked – so bottle 2:
Really a very compact nose – it’s certainly clean and fresh – no mushroom, no brett – only very slowly developing a little wild-strawberry – always subtle, never unlikeable. The mouth is classic for the vintage; direct, mouth-watering and almost surprisingly for a Clos St.Denis, with a lovely mid-palate vibration of minerality. In terms of overall size you could be disappointed, but in terms of its delicacy and its modest but engaging complexity, I found this a treat.
Rebuy – Yes (but not he first one of-course!)

1995 Jean Grivot, Nuits St.Georges Les Lavières
I have the impression that everyone has either given up on this vintage, or drunk them all, because I hear nothing about it anymore. But all my recent bottles have been in a fine place:
Another nose of faint strawberry, good clean aromas and a nice line. The palate has more width that the Clos St.Denis but less concentration – this seems ‘lite’ these days but it is open, transparent and engaging – no tannin worth mentioning despite the producer. Very easy to drink, transparent, tasty, accessible wine.
Rebuy – Yes

a replacement for the shocker…

2005 JC Boisset, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Hautes-Jarrons
​As ‘understudy’ to the poor Ecard Savigny I looked to see if I had the same vineyard/vintage from another source – almost – it was a super-sub more like!
A deep colour and still quite young-looking too. The nose is fresh, wide and direct, dark fruit and faint spice. In the mouth too this is a sleek, silky, wine of direction and young dark fruit. It’s a baby, but it’s reasonably approachable too. Really excellent – I’ll try not to touch the remaining three or four bottles for a few more years!
Rebuy – Yes

And for the fun:

2005 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Corton-Perrières
I had one of these when my 6-pack was first delivered – monstrous wine for the patient. As you can see, I’m not totally patient!
What a sublime nose! Transparent, airy yet with a beautiful fresh perfume that intertwines flowers and pure red berry fruit. The palate has lost the massive impact of youth, though is actually still a little one-dimensional today – at least compared to the nose. A super shape and line to this wine, even if the flavours are a little tight. Still, it’s fresh and delivers fine intensity but watch this space for some complexity though. Perhaps another 5 years should elapse before the next one!
Rebuy – Yes

Online – Burgundy Report, March 2018

It’s a couple of days late – sorry about that – but now online is my March report for subscribers:

Included in this issue are the wines of over 50 domaines – about 40 of which are new names to the report.

The domaines cover the full geographic spectrum of Burgundy – from Beaujolais, Chablis, Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits. One includes a visit to Domaine Rebourseau in Gevrey, looking at the changes put in place since they finally sold their picking machine!

Then there are two tastings from during the Grands Jours de Bourgogne, covering over 60 grand crus.

Finally – what is it about amphora?

So, since my October 2017 report, that’s now over 260 domaines covered and over 2,750 wines from the 2016 vintage tasted. Enjoy…

a shocker of a 2005 savigny…

You could say that this was a disappointment! Maurice Ecard was bought by Bejot in 2006, so certainly before this was bottled. Of-course since the adulteration scandal of 2016, the parent for this ‘brand’ (yes – they all become brands…) is now maison François Martenot…

2005 Maurice Ecard, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Jarrons
I last opened one of these in 2008 – and it was lovely. Hmm, the nose starts with an impression of funk/brett. In the mouth it’s a very raisined style of fruit and even tending to oxidation. I decide to leave it for half an hour to see if it clears up a little – I returned to totally oxidised! Most 40 year-old wines don’t taste like this. The cork is admittedly not very long, but looks to have been a correct seal. Not good. I have another, but I’ll let the pain fade a little before opening it!
Rebuy – No

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