Why Big Red Diary?

New Reference Pages – History

The history page is up and running – more of an almanac really.
Am at the same time working on the databse info for the ‘Note Finder’ which should find a lot more than notes!
Cheers, Bill

New Reference Pages – Introduction

8th April 2006. A short introduction with a few nice remarks from Neal Martin that I will probably expand at my (occasional) leisure.

A New Reference

4th April 2006. I noted a problem with the mac browser that my older pages did not display correctly – seemingly not a problem with the index pages, or content pages from the ‘reports’ – but basically all the reference pages were implicated. So this is where I’m starting.

The new main reference page is updated in the new index style. Content to follow.

Site Stats Q1 2006

Still haven’t managed 500 unique visitors in a day, but it’s getting closer – 463. It seems that readers are tasting-note junkies – these pages continue to draw that largest crowds, de Vogue continues it’s run as the most directly referred to page, whereas the equally ‘hard-work’ Hospices de Beaune feature has sunk without trace – maybe I should think again about doing something on the Hospice de Nuits!

Included for the first time a note on the index page to the most interesting three wines of the previous months

Cheers, Bill

Spring 2006 Report

The Spring Report is finally up and running. A look at ~100 wines from 2004, amongst notes on the DRC 2003’s, a focus on the village of Puligny, likewise a look at the trials and new prospects for Beaujolais and last but not least, a profile of the Clos de Tart and Maison Boisset plus all the usual stuff.

Let me know if there is something particularly irksome or enjoyable.
Thanks, Bill

New Format

Burgundy-Report has a new style for the frontpage. A nice update I think vs the older version, of which I was equally proud then! Now must work on some content…

Perfect Picking

meursault harvestWe are most of the way through the Côte de Nuits harvest now – let’s say 90% complete – though given a good forecast not everyone is picking just yet. The weather has been great – except for the early morning pickers who get blue fingers due to the cold – the blue skies have continued and the tempertaure has increased by about a degree per day. Suncream is required for pale-skinned types like me – but please don’t get it on the grapes!

In the end it will come down to the quality of the fruit. With the exception of a few hailed areas (quite early in the growing season) the fruit seems to be in great shape. As noted during the weekend, the grapes have very little rot, the pips are brown and it is only the how ripe the tannins from the skins taste that is driving some of the domaines’ decisions. Yields from the vines look like they will be a little down on 2004, but much more was discarded last year, so wine in bottle could be more plentiful.

Growers are still laking of another 1990 or 2002 but better – we will find out in due course, but anyway it looks like we will have fun tasting!

For those interested in one domaine’s detailed look at the harvest, you can find an interesting MSWord document here from Domaine de la Vougeraie

sunny days

Now We Start

meursault vendangesThe sun is shining and yesterday’s breeze is today’s wind – the flags stand proud. Despite the sun, I didn’t see anybody in the (outdoor) hotel pool this morning – at 10:00am it was still 7°C! At the cuverie everything is ready; the table de trie is waiting, the plastic cases for the grapes stand in line and triage team try to agree on the choice of music – Placebo or Romanian folk music – it could be a tougher day than anticipated!

Here we go – close to three tonnes of grapes from Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peiullets. This vineyard had real heat stress in August and was desperate for the early September rain. Despite the cool weather, the grapes were harvested in the sun and are warm to the touch. They are very ripe and, compared to last year they are easy to sort; everything is ripe, some dried grapes need to be removed and there is a tiny amount of rot in the centre of some bunches – done.

It’s only small team today as a) it’s Sunday and b) we’re only expecting about 5-6 tonnes of grapes. Lunch is washed down with a surprisingly good 2002 Dugat-Py Gevrey – where’s the wood? – it needed testing, and what more appreciative audience 🙂 Later in the afternoon we start getting the grapes for the Bourgogne Rouge; the fruit hails from Meursault. Compared to the Savigny, the grapes have less dried berries but do require the removal of the occasional unripe or rotten bunch. We decide on ‘Europe 2’ for the radio and a quick rythmn is established

As the last grapes go through the triage, the wind has gone and the temperature is a balmy(!) 14°C at 8:30pm. Unfortunately duty calls (plus a tasting of multiple vintages of La Tâche!) and I must head for home, however, the local team will be our eyes and ears as the grapes come in over the next 5 or so days. If we avoid rain on Monday and Tuesday any future rain will be inconsequential for the wine quality – just the colour of the picker’s boots and legs!

No Ill-Wind

smileI arrived today in Beaune with a car full of waterproof clothing – rain was forecast but thankfully never arrived – instead we had sun, 17°C and, if you were caught out in the open, a chilly breeze. It had rained a little the previous two days which is always a nightmare in the vineyards – like some bad dream; you walk slower and slower as your feet get bigger and heavier – the mud really clings. The breeze was such that the Côte de Beaune vineyards I wandered round this afternoon were completely dry – no heavy shoes – and the grape clusters were also dry.

I spent the afternoon wandering around vineyards in Pommard, Volnay, Meursault & Puligny, followed by quick drive through St.Aubin. Much of the village vines have been harvested though many of the premier cru vineyard’s grapes still hang in anticipation.

Harvesting was going on in all the appellations except St.Aubin – but I could have missed them as it was close to 6:00pm by the time I got there. I have to say the grapes look in very good shape – I saw almost zero rot, not many shrivelled grapes either. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some grapes tomorrow.

This evening we repair to Beaune for the last evening of the annual Jazz à Beaune. We stumble out into the cold (sub 10°C and cold breeze) morning (it’s almost 1:00am) following great sets by the Elio Villafranca Quartet and the Kenny Baron Trio.

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