Why Big Red Diary?

how green & how red are my grapes? (beaune today)

Despite the header image (above) there’s no harvesting in the Burgundy yet.

Since the big rain of the 5th of September, it’s been pretty warm here – wall-to-wall 30°C – or thereabouts. The weather was supposed to break tomorrow and bring a couple of cooler days with rain – it looked like it would come early today, with darker cloud and some wind in the early afternoon. But by 4pm the cloud was gone – just sun and blue sky remained. The rain is now forecast for Friday, or maybe Saturday…(?)

Up and down Burgundy, almost everyone would be happy with a little more rain, though the need is less in the Côte de Nuits. Even though they lack a little juice, the grapes are looking in quite good condition on the vines – in both colours – those that you can find, anyway! In the Côte d’Or, it’s going to be the vines that saw virtually no frost that will reach ripeness first – Maranges and Santenay were hardly touched, so might already be harvesting about the 20-24th. Those vines that were partially frosted, lost some time and really won’t be ready to harvest before the 26th, possibly a little later – and like the incidence of frost, it will be a question of parcel by parcel ripening.

I’ll keep you posted…

“can I refill it and put the cork back?”


I guess I’m going to have to see this one*. I guess I’m still not the only one trying to workout how the auctioneers; Acker, Bagheera, Spectrum and previous Christies management – and they are probably not alone – could make so much money from this – without sanction…

*By the way, Ponsot said that 80% of all pre-1980 wines from a handful of Burgundy producers, at auction, was fake – not 80% of ALL Burgundy wines at auction!

beaujolais from domaine bertrand…


When I did my big tasting in Beaujolais, way back in April, there was a problem with one producer’s wine – so he asked if he could send a replacement – and while we were at it, why not the whole range?

Domaine Bertrand
69200 Charentay
Tel: +33 4 74 66 85 96

2015 Beaujolais Villages
Medium-plus colour. Fresh, a little herby, but with some flashes of pretty and precise red fruits. An obvious BJ fruit but also with vivacity and energy. Packing a mid-palate punch, this is a tasty wine which holds a great finish for the label. I like!

2014 Brouilly
The back label says Vuril.
A little deeper colour. Hmm – this has a very pretty nose with fine and precise dark berries – it’s lovely! Much wider and with more fresh volume than the 2015 BJV. The flavour is fresh and with a faint bitter extraction – faintly tart but attractively so. Slow moving waves of concentrated finishing flavour. This finish is more subdued than the BJV – unlike the rest – but certainly not shorter. Very tasty wine indeed…

2014 Brouilly Pisse-Vielle
This time the back label says only Brouilly.
An open and fresh nose, perhaps a little smoke and menthol too. Much fresher wine, lots of energy with the backing of lots of herb-inflected fresh fruit. Bigger in the mouth but less fine than the Vuril. Impressively finishing, but I prefer the last wine.

2014 Fleurie
Modestly medium-plus coloured. Pinched top notes but a deeper bass-line of fresh fruit – it seems a little tight, but this nose remains very inviting. Lots of energy and complexity here – perhaps a little minerality too. A super, narrow line of intense flavour, perhaps with a hint of licorice in the finishing flavours. Tasty!

2013 Moulin-à-Vent Cuvée Infini(ment)
Deeper colour. Here is a nose that takes a little time to unwind but slowly offers more and more dark fruits edged with a little after-eight mintiness – cold from the fridge (it’s 30°C outside) there’s a clear creamy, oaky-vanilla impression, but as the wine warms it’s gone. Supple, and concentrated, here is some herb-edged dark fruit – but this is a wine of concentration – super texture and just a little bitter-chocolate finishing flavours to add to the fine blackcurrant fruit. Of all these, this is the one that would most obviously benefit from more cellar time – but I like the fact that it’s showing no obvious oak artifacts at a correct drinking temperature, despite its 25 months in barrel. Really super! I re-checked this on day 2, and the oak impression was much more forward – not my favourite when showing like this – but you should probably wait another 5 years…

To drink today, I think I’m going to take the Brouilly Vuril – a good set of wines…

2015 Beaujolais Blanc
From an argilo-calcaire soil.
Medium-pale lemon yellow colour. A pungently deep, sweet nose – some boiled sweets perhaps. Mouth-filling and with quite some concentration of sweet fruit, almost a little cloying – yet the acidity seems not so bad. A frank wine…

bergs not burgs

On Monday I’m back in Beaune, in anticipation of the harvesting to come. But today, and maybe Sunday too, needed a fresh injection of mountains before the Côte d’Or…

Today, the highly ‘recommendable’ Schynige Platte:

hats, dogs and pruning…

Found. A super (2010) article about Michel Duclos:

Does he ever remove his hat? No, he says, never. He shows me his car: The back seat has more hats, in case he feels like a change
Margaret Rand / World of Fine Wine

two mid-week tipples…


Two worthy wines, one of which offered much more pizzazz…

2011 Nicolas Rossignol, Volnay 1er Roncerets
There’s just a trace of oak on both the nose and flavours to this wine – nothing overdone, it’s just a faint accent. The wine itself is much more subdued than all the other 2011s I’ve drunk from Nico. It’s a tasty wine yet it’s also a wine that makes me think that I’m missing something. Quite possibly it has been scalped by the cork.
Rebuy – Maybe

2007 Camille Giroud, Chapelle-Chambertin
I seem to remember that the last time I tasted this wine it was a bit tight, surly and young. That’s really not the case today. The colour is rather light – certainly more-so than last weekend’s Camille Giroud 07 Cazetiers. This nose is almost but not quite as good as that wine – there’s a hint of a harder minerality in the aromas here – but wonderful depth of aroma too. In the mouth this belies its colour, offering dimensions of flavour with great clarity. Actually I’d still put it behind the Cazetiers for clarity, precision and deliciousness, but this is way improved on the last time I tried! And still yum!
Rebuy – Yes

vintage chart update – v1.60

Fullscreen capture 972016 113915 AMI’ve finally got an update for my vintage chart, including the 2014 vintage for the first time – amazing what you can get done when the harvest is a little later – though I know that I’ll pay for it when I’m supposed to be visiting producers, but haven’t yet finished sorting grapes 😉

My initial rating of the 2014 vintage for whites, reflects that it is easily the greatest vintage I’ve seen for consistency – and that includes the Mâconnais and Chablis too! That almost goes for the reds too – whilst there won’t be the same level of attainment for the greatest wines as previous vintages, like the whites this is also a very consistent vintage at the mid and lower ranges – actually similar to 2005 and 2009 – if you can find good pricing, then you’ll certainly get a thumbs-up from my direction.

There are relatively few changes to other vintages – mainly the 2011 vintage – and in both colours too. First I’ve reduced the score by 1 point for the worst from the 2013 reds – some wines really do show their acidity more than others – even I can wince here. I’ve also met some very green 2011 reds that I didn’t like at all, so I’ve reduced the ‘worst’ score by a point to reflect that – the vintage is still much better than 2004 though! One the other hand, I’ve been very impressed by the development of the same vintage’s whites – I’ve seen green whites, but they are pretty rare – so in this case I’ve added points to both the average and best levels. After some disappointments that were nothing to do with greens. I’ve reduced the average score for 2010 whites by a point too.

Lastly, you may note an increase in the number of white vintage indexes that are now in red colour. This reflects the addition of vintages 2005, 2009 and 2010 to my p.ox watch…

burgundy – no weather change?


Well, that would be yes and no.

French meteorologists recently, through the BIVB, made presentations to the local wine producers. They showed some interesting data-sets that both confirmed and disproved some of what people were thinking re changing weather patterns. I offer a very quick summary of what was presented – second-hand – from someone who was at the presentation:

In recent years, the seasons have certainly shown some changes in terms of the average temperatures – currently, only Autumn is about the same average temperature as before – all the other seasons have clearly shown a shift to warmer average temperatures.

We have short memories when it comes to hail, communication is now instant, but before, we only heard of hail in wine magazines weeks after the fact. Whist taking France as a whole, it is clear that there have been exceptional hail events in 2016, but statistically there is no significant change in the incidence of such hail – Volnay for instance has previously been hit 3 years in a row. I think we need to keep a watching brief on that one!

I’m certainly not the only one that has the impression of more rain storms or a change in their frequencies, but the weather forecasters have gone back and checked their historic data for the amounts of rain; first per month, then per week and then per day et-cetera, and within statistical error – a surprise to everyone – it’s unchained.

Now who would have thought it!

weekend wines – week 35


Well, the 2007 Camille Giroud Cazetiers was simply brilliant; a floral-inflected fruit of freshness and purity that you rarely find in an 07. I drank this over two nights – with massive joy. The 2006 Chenu Savigny Lavières was a lighter wine – in both intensity, concentration and colour! Yet it was a delightful ‘small’ wine that well-showed the earthy-flavoured characteristics of a good Lavières – of-course if you’re looking for a concentrated Lavières, you would be better choosing Chandon de Briailles, Bouchard Père or Tollot-Beaut – though you need a hint more oak tolerance for those latter two wines. Then we have the 2000 Jean-Marc Boillot Pommard 1er Jarollières – a wine that, over the years, I’ve found to be highly variable and sometimes bretty. This was a very good one; strawberry-fruited aromatics and a nice width of decently concentrated and well-textured flavour. This Jarollières was really enjoyed.

Lastly, my final M&M, the 2007 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets (again!) This bottle, like the last, delivers a deeply coloured wine but without any obvious oxidation. Like the last, and surprisingly given the vintage, it shows quite some fat – and certainly a very impressive volume in the mouth. It’s very complex without actually being moreish – for that you would certainly have to wait for a higher level of maturity – give this summer’s experiences of the M&M 2005s, that’s not a ship that I would personally sail on, but this is an impressive wine all the same!

burgundian wine theatre…

 Pic taken at the weekend…

There’s more than a touch of theatre to the (work in progress) new cuverie of JC Boisset in Nuits St.Georges. It’s not going to be ready for this year’s harvest – but that’s probably just as well given the low yields in 2016 – Can’t you hear the obvious conversation that would ensue?

“Why did we make is so big?”

a few wines from the château de meursault

DSC00846A chance weekend tasting 😉
Whilst the local pricing is rather high, these wines really do have more than a pretension to be high-value wines these days…

2013 Beaune 1er Les Grèves
Optical sorting with 3 different cameras, foudres too since 2013
A really super depth of aroma – clearly edged with oak notes, but this nose is really inviting. Good volume in the mouth, fresh fruit, lots of complexity too. This is very tasty, the oak component is not too overt and seems quite attractive here.

2013 Pommard 1er Clos des Epenots
A more obvious floral aroma, pretty, though cushioned red fruit. Layered, complex, very faintly salted – I find this very much more elegant and gorgeously tasting than the Beaune. A long line of flavour, faintly herbed, but fabulous!

2013 Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
‘The only plot in Volnay where you will find white marl – something much more common in the Côte de Nuits’ – says our host…
A deep nose of dark red fruit, faintly herbed. Lovely mouth-feel – there is a tannin that you can chew, almost, but velvet and no dryness. A wine of more volume than the Epenots, but super, super in the mouth.

2013 Corton
A faintly smoky-fruited nose, but there are no stems. Pure silk – hmmmm… This has fine freshness and a cushioned delivery of flavour. Really not the most powerful of Cortons and rounder rather than direct and sinewy – but really something to appreciate in the glass. More mineral and faintly saline in the finish. Super stuff to drink, already!


2014 Bourgogne Clos du Château
From the vines planted in the front ‘garden’ of the Château.
A discreet nose, rounded. Fresh, direct, round – a growing complexity with a slowly growing mouth-watering aspect. A sneakily good wine.

2014 Meursault 1er Charmes
A wide fresh, not super-powerful nose, but I find the width super. Hmm, layered, growing in volume. Just a great wine. Some tightness but really a rather haunting length – just a brilliant wine in the making.

2012 Meursault 1er Perrières
A bigger, rounder nose, accented with a faint barrel vanilla. Big, clearly mineral, layered and complex – honestly I’d like just a hint more acidity, but that won’t matter at all in a couple more years.

2013 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs Canet
A lovely bright bouquet of fresh yellow citrus. Silky, mineral, very silky – this is lovely. What a super and elegant wine. Excellent!

legal: don’t speak to him…

It is said in Nuits that the people of Maison Ilan or their legal representatives have contacted suppliers, warning them not speak to the journalist inquiring about Mr. Walker’s woes – apparently with “discrete but obvious legal threats…

I assume that those representatives no-longer want grape business from their previous suppliers, hence, 2015 would effectively be the last grapes ‘bought’ by Maison Ilan…

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