Why Big Red Diary?

weekend wines – week 37 2017

Some great wines – nearly all 1997s – but that’s the start for a write-up about the 1997 reds – 20 years on – to be published in my September report. But there was a lovely Ampeau too!

1995 Robert Ampeau, Meursault 1er La Piece Sous la Bois
The nose is deep and slightly toasty, perhaps even still a suggestion of reduction together with an attractive sweetness. The finishing notes have a similar salty sweetness. Wide, melting flavor – not incisive, not mineral – or hardly – but simply delicious wine that I’d never have guessed to be a 1995. Very yum!
Rebuy – Yes

marko de morey’s côte de nuits harvest gallery – days 5 + 6

marko de morey’s côte de nuits harvest gallery – days 2+3+4

2017 harvest – 15 september

Nuits St.Georges – almost a double rainbow 5 minutes later…

Today was more like April – despite a dry forecast – the showers came blustery and sometimes heavy. There was even hail at lunchtime at Gevrey rail-station – but the localised nature of these squalls seems to have completely missed the Route des Grands Crus. A quick coffee in Gevrey (with Huguette!) and then we took the vineyard road as far as Vosne-Romanée before the route nationale back to Beaune.

Yesterday there was almost no-one in the vines – there weren’t many today, but first we met a small team from Henri Rebourseau who were picking Mazis-Chambertin. A little further down the road, on the other side were a team from Pierre Damoy who were bringing in some Chapelle-Chambertin. Further down the hillside in Charmes-Chambertin was another team – but I decided not to slide down the wet grass bank to ask who!

Approaching the invisible boundary with Morey St.Denis there was the smallest team I’ve seen – two people! – in Latricières-Chambertin – from Chantal Remy in Morey. They said that they would probably be finishing their harvest on Sunday. The team seemed to be mainly cleaning at Domaine Ponsot – apparently they will finish in a little less than one week – they are still waiting for the maturity in Monts Luisants and their Clos de la Roche. At Taupenot-Merme are close to finishing their harvest, a little aligoté passing over the triage table was one of their last vineyards to be picked.

Onwards towards Vosne-Romanée and up a side ‘street’ a team was getting involved in some Echézeaux picking – this was Domaine Grivot – and they have at least another 5 days of harvesting to go. Then onwards through the rainbow back to Beaune!

And for a little fun – do you want to see how much work Thibault Liger-Belair’s team put into their Richebourg? Hand-destemming every grape…

marko de morey’s côte de nuits harvest gallery – days 1 + 2

marko de morey – arrival day plus day 1 – côte de nuits harvest…

Our man in Morey is fully on-station this year, unfortunately his James Bond supply of electronics has let him down. But his camera is working, if unfortunately sans commentary this year.

Photos from 05+06 September:

2017 harvest – 14 september

Nuits’ Clos de l’Arlot , this afternoon…

Although I ‘did’ Nuits and Chambolle yesterday, I’m a sucker for a nice view – so today, the team of l’Arlot were at it again, plus more again in the swathe of vines (Premeaux) south of Nuits close to Les St.Georges. As I pulled off the D974, direction Chambolle, I was planning to take the Route des Grands Crus into Morey – but had to double-back as a delivery truck was blocking the road. The detour through the vines brought me to a team from Boisset, picking some Chambolle villages.

Onward to Morey, and it was deathly calm, even the winery of Domaine Ponsot seemed becalmed. Then the Route des Grands Crus once more towards Gevrey-Chambertin. Again silent – only one team could be seen picking – just below Griotte-Chambertin – so I assume in villages Aux Etelois. This important stretch of vines between Morey and Gevrey seemed, maybe, half-picked. I stopped just before the town of Gevery, the other side of the road to Mazis-Chambertin to look at the vines. Here is En Pallud and La Perrière. Like in Grands Echézeaux, yesterday, some vines looked to be be supporting as much as a dozen bunches of grapes – just a little smaller berries and with less rot here though. I walked for a while through the centre of Gevrey-Chambertin but all seemed becalmed – virtually no-one to quiz.

The Côte St.Jacques was empty apart from just one team from Domaine Philippe Seguin who were bringing in grapes from a seemingly quite high parcel of Lavaux St.Jacques. A team from Faiveley were on a smoke-break, just the other side of the main road.

Back in the car I took the vineyard road towards Brochon, Fixin and Marsannay beyond. Brochon was quiet, though one team were at work high on the hillside of Gevrey Les Evocelles – maybe from Vougeraie. Fixin was very quiet until exiting the village where a small team were hard at work in Fixin Le Village. Marsannay was also quiet – here it looked like around two-thirds of the grapes have been harvested – The Château de Marsannay were busy triaging but I saw no teams in the vines on this (Couchey) side of the village – but in the direction of Grasses Têtes, Clos de Jeu and Charme aux Prêtres many teams were at work – the number of people in the vines slowly petering out from Longeroies to Clos du Roy – and here I turned round and headed back to Beaune…

2017 harvest – 13 september

Chambolle today…

The morning was pretty Autumnal and cold, so it was a surprise when it became a little muggy and 24°C in the afternoon – rain was forecast but never really materialised.

I started my afternoon tour on the northern border of Chambolle-Musigny with Morey – where Marko de Morey was picking some Aligoté (his computer refused to play this year, but I’ll still be posting some of his harvest images). Then I took a walk through the village of Chambolle to see what everyone was up to – here, together with Marsannay was the was of the frost last year – it seems that things have recovered nicely this year.

The team at Domaine Hervé Sigaut were triaging some villages Chambolle ‘Babillières’ – and beautiful it looked. Over the road at Hudelot-Baillet they said that they’d already finished all of the important 1er and grand crus – they were triaging the last of their Passetoutgrains when I passed, the main thing still waiting for them is their Hautes Côtes.

Michel Digioia was bringing in a nice looking load of grapes – when I asked which cru it was, he smiled and said – ‘It’s actually Nuits St.Georges!’

De Vogüé were cleaning when I visited – their harvesting was 02-08 September – “We had the maturity” said Jean-Luc Pepin. Francois Millet was as inscrutable as ever – “Let’s see” was his response to my (all) my questions! But the domaine confirmed that yields had recovered since the terrible frost of 2016 – they have so little that Jean-Luc said “I don’t know how we can commercialize 2016 – but this year we had nothing more than 40 hl/ha and all the frosted vines recovered well” he said.

Looking down on the Clos des Perrières

Then onwards I drove through the vines of Chambolle – lots of parked cars but not many people – towards the Clos de Vougeot. Here in their Clos des Perrières, Bertagna were harvesting – Pascal Marchand had picked his neighbouring parcel of Musigny the same morning. Onward towards Vosne, some vines remain unpicked and the amount and size of the the grapes were certainly impressive – but how does one make great wine with 12-16 bunches of grapes – per vine! There was a little rot starting to appear too – with the forecast change in the weather, I think these need to be cut pretty quickly…

Vosne-Romanée looked like it was hosting a football-match or something – just so many cars. Here there were also some massive yields in the villages vines – I’ve heard of 80+ hl/ha – t will be interesting to see how much Bourgogne Rouge will be produced this year! One grower told me that they mad a hard ‘green harvest’ when they got back from their August holiday (the grapes were not so green!) just so that they would hit the allowed yields.

Nuits had a few pickers, and particularly southern Nuits – I saw Thibault Liger-Belair exiting Les St.Georges with a nice truck-full of grapes. The team of Arlot were also busy in the Clos des Forets. Further south, heading home, I noted a couple of groups in picking Ladoix and another that looked busy in what could have been the very top of Clos du Roi – next to Le Corton. A few more in the Chorey Les Beaumonts – this is on the Aloxe side of the road – but generally this far south, the vineyards are now quiet, spent…

weekend wines – week 36 2017

A little harvest (if not wine!) pause, with friends who were visiting, in Pommard.

2013 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
Starting a little toasty – slightly reductive – becoming more open and prettier with air. Good line and even a little minerality here. A modest but tasty wine with a little finishing sweetness. Tasty.
Rebuy – Maybe

2012 Alex Gambal, Corton-Charlemagne
Ooh! Now this has a super nose with a profound bass line and very attractive top nose – this is exceptionally inviting. Volume, power, growing intensity and waves of stony fruit that (only) slowly fade into the distance. This has opened and relaxed versus the last time I had it. Simply top-notch Corton-Charlemagne and very yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2002 Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Gaudichots
My second bottle from this case – the first had some kind of problem so I had my fingers crossed for this – but it’s super. It really is in that ‘middle-age’ where the palate and aromas are a little pinched, but both are beautifully complex, focused and show excellent clarity. Really a brilliant wine in the making, yet at 15 years old it is still such a baby, but a beautiful one.
Rebuy – Yes

2017 harvest – 12 september (home domaine finish)

There followed a very enthusiastic and global use of water-hoses – to many shouts of ‘No – not on my phone!’…

Starting our day with the last white – a small parcel in Pernand-Vergelesses Les Pins – here just 0.2 ha in a high sector that was once predominantly planted to aligoté behind Sur Frétile – not Sous Frétile – i.e. the unplanted viewing area at the top of the hill in Pernand. From relatively you vines. Very easy to triage versus the Charlemagne yesterday. Very nice, and today we cheating with the press a little – the first load getting a sneaky short press so there’s enough space for the final delivery!

Following on from my discussion of reds with the consulting oenologue yesterday, the acids are pretty classic for the reds with the balance of tartaric and malic acids, so will reduce a little after malo. As for the whites, one sees why some vignerons chose to go relatively early – I spoke with a well-known Puligny-based producer yesterday and in our discussion he told me that “pH 3.2-3.3 is certainly good for the reds but for whites that’s getting borderline us.” I chatted with the oenologue about this, and he said that based on the analysis of the musts, there has certainly been a little ‘modest’ acidification at some domaine’s in the core of the Côte de Beaune’s white production area, but they do that more than half of the time anyway…

Suddenly it was lunchtime! A Champagne start (Deutz) a 2002 Pouilly-Fumé middle (I at least guess the grape!) and a 1981 Clos de Vougeot finish – the Mongeard-Mugneret CV certainly had aromatics and structure that you could describe as austere to start, but despite being narrow in the start the dimensions and complexity of the finish were clear – here it was obviously grand cru (blind). Given air, there’s an aromatic phase that’s captivating. Almost a fresh orange note in the finish, still with a touch of phenolic bitterness and a suggestion of coffee… I would open this at least a couple of hours before serving, because all the faults and rigor of the first 30 minutes are gone with air. Very robust and super, only getting better and better in the glass!

Pommard Vaumuriens…
After lunch a small parcel of Pommard Vaumuriens – once worked by Coche-Dury. Fine looking grapes, not too much to triage. Post water-fight, dripping, we finished with our second parcel from Beaune 1er Reversées, not quite to the same level of our first parcel but fine none-the-less. And that was 2017, just around the corner from my apartment in Beaune!

Of-course we finished with our Paulée yesterday evening…

2017 harvest – 11 september

An overused descriptor, but really, practically caviar…

Our penultimate harvesting day – and today was a grand cru day.

We started with Corton-Charlemagne – and we had quite a lot too. There was a little rot to remove, but as all our whites go over the triage table that was no problem – many white producers trie in the vines and don’t do a separate triage back at the domaine – the grapes going direct into the press. One surprise was how much pinot gris we had in these vines – less than 2% (I would guess) but it still looks a lot when in the bins – I also thought that only pinot blanc was allowed as a ‘cépage accessoire’ – but hey-ho… Of-course we had our pregnant pause again today – our press was too small to accommodate all the Charlemagne grapes, so we had to wait for that to finish its cycle before we could finish-off that parcel’s grapes.

I spoke with a consulting oenologist this morning about how the harvest was shaping-up. We mainly discussed reds today “The acidities of reds this year are on a good level – most reds are showing pH 3.2-3.3 and unlike the 2015s, there’s plenty of malic acid this year. The degrees are pretty good with early pronounced florals in tank and specific gravities are falling easily so far.

Lunch was par for the course – very tasty! As it was a Corton-Charlemagne day it seemed natural that it was also for the table. This 2011 was a beautiful, linear, but expressive and mouth-watering wine – great lines! Like the food, yum! The RSV was very nice – luckily as the first bottle (2 years ago) from this 6-pack was a little tired. This had wide and attractive aromas. The mouth was freshness and like the CC was quite linear and fresh before opening out beautifully from the mid-palate onwards. The best comment about these two wines, was that not a drop remained in the bottles!

After lunch we started with Beaune Montée Rouge – villages, not 1er cru – very good ripeness but starting to show some rot – I wouldn’t have wanted to see how bad this would have been if the grapes had waited another couple of days in the vines – but that’s why we triage 🙂 Last year the Montée Rouge was frosted, so from roughly 1 hectare they produced only 1 barrel – we have more this year! Easily the best was for last today – Beaune 1er Les Reversées – directly the smallest berries of our 7 days of triage so far, and easily the cleanest too – 99% of our work was removing the leaves. Great stuff!

2017 harvest – 10 september

Nothing much to add today – except that there were a number of tonnes of Chorey-lès-Beaune grapes that crossed over our triage table. But we finally finished the parcel at just past 6pm! Two more whites and two (or was it three?) more reds to bring in and we are done!

After yesterday’s rain, today was clear and sometimes bright with temperatures hovering around 20°C. The weather was nice enough that the bins of grapes delivered to us from the vines, stopped bringing in mud with them by the middle of the afternoon!

It’s a little boring for me to keep saying that the grapes were nice – even if they were. Maybe better to think of the lovely fillet-mignon with lentils for lunch – and a new cheese discovery for me – Cantal cheese from the Auvergne. A little creamy, crumbly – similar to an aged cheddar with a nice salty tang – very yum – indeed, so good that I passed on the Epoisses today! Oh, there was another 1979 too – it started spicy like a Nuits or Vosne, slowly adding depth and almost a smoky coffee – right from the start, this was delicious. A surprise – a Beaune. Delicious all the same. Think I’ll have to find something nice for lunch tomorrow!

Page 4 of 263« First...23456...102030...Last »