Why Big Red Diary?

one (special) day in the climats…


Yesterday was a celebration of the successful entry of ‘Burgundy’ into the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. If you have seen some/most of the coverage since this was announced on Saturday, you will have mainly noted that Champagne, also a new ‘inscription’ has taken the headlines, and that only the last paragraph mentions Burgundy.

Truth be told, it’s really a sub-set of Burgundy, one that we Anglo-Saxon’s refer to as the Côte d’Or, but the locals will quietly correct you and say that the inscription is actually for the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits – and in this instance, the definition used was Chenove to Maranges – inclusive. And the ‘grounds’ for inscription?

  • To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.
  • To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.

Beginning in 2007, it’s been a long road to achieve this local enhancement of ‘status’ – if it was ever required – and make no mistake it has been both resource intensive and requiring strong leadership. Clearly Aubert de Villaine was the symbol of the bid concept, but not merely a symbol, he was a driver and tireless promoter; his goal now achieved, don’t be surprised if Guillaume d’Angerville takes over what will inevitably now become a more symbolic rôle. One major positive of the successful UNESCO bid will be the greater attention to the fabric of the vineyards themselves – many have ramshackle walls and boundaries, sometimes shored-up with ugly daubs of concrete – I think (and hope) that maintenance will now be more ‘considered’ – after-all, ignoring weather traumas, the inflow of cash into the cellars of Burgundy has never been higher…

I had a special day of visits yesterday, arranged by the BIVB, to the most emblematic corners of Burgundy (sorry, I mean the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits!) – fundamental showcases of the cultural fabric of the region – and in much more bearable temperatures too; let’s say 28°C. We finished with a press conference and a garden picnic with a band and then fireworks in the grounds of the Château de Meursault – about 3,000 other people joined in the celebration too!

A day to remember!

99 volnay clos des ‘xxx’

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Age shows the difference! My two wines from the Elégance de Volnay:

As young wines, i.e. the first year or two from release, this Potel was qualitatively on the same level as the Lafon Santenots and the d’Angerville Clos des Ducs – I really can’t say that anymore. Today the Potel is wild, complex and interesting, but also a little rustic – but the d’Angerville is a wine of grand cru interest and a fabulous silky texture – differences that really weren’t apparent when young. I didn’t bring a bottle of the Lafon to compare, because I know I have only 1 more…

1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
Hmm – this smells good: complex, faint forest floor yet still with fine fruit notes too – super complexity. In the mouth it’s rather young, still showing plenty of grainy tannic teeth. Tasty wine and long too – in isolation a very good wine too – unfortunately for this bottle, it wasn’t drunk in isolation…
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Marquis d’Angerville, Volnay 1er Clos des Ducs
Aromatically this is similar to the Potel – complex, a little earthy development but with flashes of fine fruit too. In the mouth – wow – still young, direct and intense but with a cool sophistication and the purest of silk textures. Ouf! Gorgeous. Special wine.
Rebuy – Yes

relocation, muscle ache and 99 volnay (as a starting point…)


It was a quiet week in this Diary – eh?

Not so for me, in general, the above was my transport for part of the week. Full-power house-moving this week, and the refrigerated truck was just for my wine relocation. Although all my wine would have (just about!) fit into the truck, apparently I was not allowed to fill it with more than 1.5 tonnes – so I had to split the journeys. One trip to Bern and another slightly bigger parcel for a trip the Beaune – and fortunately no complications by customs/douane/zoll along the way – phew!

Did I say phew? Maybe phew what a scorcher – and getting warmer every day. I did note one design fault on my truck – yes climate control for the load, but no air-conditioning in the cab – oh-well only 3+ hours to Beaune with a coffee stop!!!

I can honestly say that I had a few aches afterwards – one case at a time (I’m something of a weakling) up the stairs from the cellar, up the steps into the truck, then back down the stairs for the next. Then reversed for the offload – fortunately in Beaune, the ‘reception’ was a little more professional – two palets piled impressively high, wrapped in saran and then transported to the cellar by forklift followed by lift – I gave thanks…

Friday was about catching up with a the wall of email, and today, Saturday is a very relaxing day – almost without muscle pain! Tonight the there is there is the dinner of the ‘Elegance de Volnay‘ the weather is warm with a medium breeze, but fortunately, unlike last year, all is calm…

I’ve two 99s lined-up to take to the dinner, I’ve just opened them and they seem fine; Potel’s 99 Clos des Chênes and d’Angerville’s Clos des Ducs. I’m anticipating ‘YUM!’



Coming soon to a monopole vineyard near you (me!)….

你好 – こんにちは – bonjour…


Over 10 years ago, I had multiple language options as standard on these pages – but after a few alleged updates, they didn’t really work well. But after a long pause, there’s (potentially!) a more elegant solution, so…

Okay, it may be that the bottom of the page isn’t the first place that you’d look – I understand – but everywhere else looked just too scruffy to place the new ‘choose your language’ option. I’m happy to add other languages – as requested by you – but didn’t add German (so-far) as I find the translations pretty terrible. French looks not too bad to me, though don’t even bother asking me what I think of the accuracy of the (simplified) Chinese and Japanese translations 😉

The main problem with translation ‘engines’ for a wine site such as this, is that they also try to translate the vineyrad/wine/producer names – that will always be a bit of a mess, but:

这就是生活 / それが人生です / c’est la vie!

producer map of meursault-perrières…


I’m really happy to have my hands on a copy of this.

Two weeks ago (maybe 3…), Laurent Gotti made a presentation in Beaune of some of the producers’ wines and discussed a little of the complex terroirs of Meursault Perrières – illustrated with this new map. The syndicate of Meursault producers were very happy to help Laurent produce the map, as the only other maps of this style are for much lowlier wines; Montrachet and the Clos de Vougeot!

If you want a copy of the map, it will cost you €19.90 from @laurentgotti – it’s worth it. Now a trip to the picture-framers…

an evening in the clos vougeot with yo-yo ma?


That sounds good to me.

Here you can find the programme of ‘Musique et Vin’ at the Clos de Vougeot, starting with Yo-Yo next Sunday:


lundi – le grand deluge!

 Monday’s view down Chablis Les Clos

Well if Saturday was a perfect day, Sunday was fine until the evening, when the rain began. From then-on, it just got heavier and heavier – torrential was the only apt word for Monday morning – so yesterday I headed with my touring group for Chablis.

It was still raining in Chablis, but on a much more modest scale – in-line with a very modest, practically disappointing tasting at Le Chablisienne. Still, lunch and the service at Au fils du zinc was excellent, and with tear-inducing prices for those without private allocations of Dauvissat and Raveneau – here, their grand crus cost only €60 in the restaurant…!

A brilliant tasting of brilliant wines followed under the tutelage of Christian Moreau before a short window of rain-free wandering through Les Clos.

Despite the weather – a good day!

Lots of standing water in the lower vines of Beaune at the end of the day – and as a side note, this rain was perfectly timed, because the flowering was 99% finished. It would have been a different story if we’d had rain like this one week earlier…

saturday – such a perfect day in the vines…

Traveling with a family – on a Burgundy Report wine tour. We were so lucky with the weather…

the ‘not just’ la romanée tasting last friday…


Something of an honour; 72 wines from the domaine of Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, commemorating 200 years since the family established their presence in Burgundy. There was also a brilliant music concert in the evening (including a 302 year-old Stradivarius) followed by dinner, prepared by Pascal Barbot and his team from the 3-star restaurant in Paris, l’Astrance.

My tasting notes will be in my June report for subscribers, but a small flavour of the day can be seen in the photos below:

montrachet, clos des mouches

A couple of afternoon appointments afforded these views today – fully 33°C too!

last saturday’s blind burgundy extravaganza!

I get together with a couple of friends once every 6 months or-so, and last weekend we drank (blind) a lovely selection of wines – a modest 12 bottles with good food and good company!


The first wine was mine. The Jadot was a 2010 but already with oxidised notes – we cut it some slack, and it got better and better in the glass. Clearly still faulty (that’s 2 in a row now!) but as the ox fades, just a wonderful line of mouth-watering minerality – but certainly Rebuy – No!
The second was super; tense and intense though I didn’t find any pointers to Meursault. Really as good a 99 as you’re likely to drink! Rebuy – Yes
The Charlemagne was also mine, a 2007 and a real beauty of line and length with super-fine acidity. I loved it. Rebuy – Yes
Lastly the Vincent Dancer Chevalier! It was big, textured and clearly from a warm vintage, yet it had a really good balance and super length. I don’t remember what my guess was, but I thought it really super. Another Rebuy – Yes

My favourite of the flight: The Chandon 2007 Charlemagne!


The Roumier was the 2008, and for some reason had been decanted – I don’t know why. Anyway, it was transparent with a beautiful line of flavour. I easily guessed that it was from 2008, but I had the wrong côte – I guessed Volnay Caillerets. A beauty! Rebuy – Yes
The second wine was not my high-point in guessing! The fruit was big, warm but round and complex – like Clos St.Denis. I thought the acidity not bad either, so I guessed CSD 2010. Ouf! Beaune 2009! What a super wine! Rebuy – Yes
Okay, I couldn’t get the third wine wrong – it was mine! This Clos Ursules was the 1993 and the nose didn’t start as good as the Roumier but got better over time – but the palate was excellent in the best ’93 tradition; muscled yet direct and transparent with super acidity, energy and clarity. Wow wine.
Rebuy – Yes

My favourite of the flight: The Jadot 1993 Ursules!


Two wines here, purely by chance, both 90’s Echézeaux. The first I guessed to be a 98 wine of Vosne. The Gerard Mugneret Echézeaux turned out to be the 1995 and what a beautiful wine at that, complex Vosne aromatics and a tannin less overt than many from the vintage – simply a super wine. Rebuy – Yes
The Grivot was my wine. Entertaining aromatics, and plenty of weight and complexity – a much younger wine than the 95 was my impression. In isolation this would be very enjoyable, but really put into the shade by the Mugneret. Rebuy – Yes

My wine of the flight was very easily the Gerard Mugneret 1995 Echézeaux!


Well, what an interesting collection for the last three! The first was Ghislaine Barthod’s 1998 Chambolle 1er Charmes. A good wine both aromatically and from a flavour perspective – quite big and round, though the tannins not yet fully rounded. I liked it a lot. Rebuy – Yes
The first real, and quite major disappointment was the 96 Engel GE, my wine. It’s simply not that great – since I bought them about 2000 I kept telling myself that time will heal – well, so-far not. I’d expect more from a 96 Vosne villages. Rebuy – No
Our last wine was also something of a disappointment. For my palate this was broad and round, a little cushioned and silky, but sweet, dark oak notes clouded any sense of place or vintage for me – I really had no pointer. Simply a little soupy pinot. Shame. Rebuy – No

And my wine of the flight? Well, it didn’t really have any competition did it(?) The Barthod 1998 Chambolle Charmes!

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