Why Big Red Diary?

christmas magnums

The format seems to much more christmassy and for sharing, so here’s the first this season.

1981 Maison Clavelier – Hospices de Nuits, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Corvées Pagets – Cuvée Saint-Laurent
A length of name that’s right up there with many from Deutschland! Noted, the label is only 75cl.
The corks starts to move very easily until it crumbles through the middle – a combination of Ah-So and normal cork-screw worm does the trick in multiple pieces though with hardly any ‘bits’ dropping into the neck. Browner colour but the nose is not particularly oxidised for the age of the wine. Actually it’s a more floral nose – aged for sure but not a hint of brett or leather. The flavour is easy and elegant – this is an elegant senior citizen of a wine – a touch of oxidation that shows only through some suggestion of balsamic, there’s no tannin to speak of as it has long-since been deposited on the walls of the heavy, older-style bottle. Tasty, easy – everyone loved. A good start..
Rebuy – No need (I have more :))

icymi – week 51 2018 – investment burgundy


There’s an obvious problem with this, and you can see that right from the bold title of the table introducing you to such delights – the table is by value, not by volume. Of-course a few of the wines in the table have decent volume too – Ponsot’s Clos de la Roche is not bad, 3.3 hectares and at a rough 30 hl/ha that’s about 13,000 bottles – a big cuvée for Burgundy. The Clos des Lambrays and Clos de Tart are even bigger cuvées – no surprise for grand cru (sometimes quasi) monopolies – even the Rousseau Chambertin is not so bad – but that’s where the volume stops, there are wines in this list that often produce 1-2 barrels – yes – 1-2 barrels. A table based on such things has no real perspective.

I do not deny the rise of worth of Burgundy, that would be a ridiculous standpoint, but today the chance of buying full 12-bottle cases, indeed 6-bottle cases of important wines shrinks by the year – it is already a few years since importers introduced the 3-bottle case, and there’s a queue for those too! I know that the superstars bring the headlines – DRC, Leroy – but at least DRC has some volume, Leroy is the typical poster-child of this ‘investment perspective’ – “The preponderance of Leroy in this adjusted top 10 and its strong price performance overall is the reason why it was ranked as the strongest brand in this year’s ‘Power 100’ list” – bombastic – no? They may have 0.5 hectares of the Chambertin that is noted, but they rarely produce more than a couple of barrels, indeed they produce only 1-2 barrels of many things, but no more.

A real indicator would be all the grand crus sold at major auctions, and their price tracked – of-course it would still be skewed by a big DRC sale, or single bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti sold for $0.5 million. But then there is at least a volume of transactions behind a number that you can track each year. Of-course I’m glossing over the fact that less than 4% of the Côte d’Or’s production is grand cru, closer to 1% if you look at burgundy wine as a whole. But when a single 6 pack of Leroy Chambertin (and there are not many of those) is traded twice in a year, but makes 20% less on the second occasion – it depends on who is in the room, bidding – does that mean that the market has tanked?

€9 coffee, €40 brunch – then back to beaune for pizza…

Wednesday was a rainy day, so we decided to hop on the train to Monaco – only €2.30 on the train – I decided that there must be some nice hotels or casinos where we could drink a coffee and pretend to be Mr and Mrs Bond – indeed there are – but the rain was firing down which made the experience sub-optimal!

Today we quit our AirBnB early for Beaune – but with a stop for brunch in St.Tropez – a mere €40 in the Café de Paris – lovely, creamily scrambled eggs though! Out of season there are still very big boats here, but the feeling is smaller, cosier and certainly prettier than much of the Côte d’Azur. Then we headed back to Beaune and real life – i.e. a pizza after 740 km in front of the steering wheel…

weekday wines, week 51 2018…

A holiday week in the south of France – though plenty of typing was interwoven. Our first bottle was the 2016 Château Thivin, Côte de Brouilly Les Griottes de Brulhié – and like most Thivin, for my palate, it was delicious. Deeply coloured and fruited – just a great bottle – the oak is not completely gone, but now is on a quite modest level. Next the crémant, 2014 Louis Bouillot, Perle d’Or – a sample, but drunk as any bottle should be. Open, good fizz – even a decent fizz for the last glass on day two. Tasty wine, and for about €12 a bit of a steal to be honest – excellent! Another bottle of the Roty – that’s at the third of this case in the last 2 weeks and it was as delicious as the previous bottles. Why not some white? okay, 2016 Domaine de Serrigny, Savigny-lès-Beaune – fresh, aromatic, depth of fresh, alive, concentrated yellow-citrus flavour – the first time that I’ve noticed some barrel notes in the finish – but frankly the wine remains delicious. The last of this week’s south of france selection was 2016 Laurent Martray, Côte de Brouilly Loïs – eventually deeply coloured wine – I say eventually because the cork was like a piece of cement in the neck – eventually being removed in 3 pieces – not the fault of the attractive wax capsule – I’m sure. More direct and acid-forward than the Thivin – like an acid cherry. Tasty but not showing at it’s best – I think the cork could have some bearing on that…

monday-tuesday on the côte (d’azure!)

Azure is the colour – of-course! Sunday bought plenty of rain – as will tomorrow – but yesterday and today we were out and about. Nice – what to say, I simply loved. Today we hopped into Italy – Ventimiglia – a super market and an old town not for those with a bad head for heights. Considering the weather forecast, I think that tomorrow I may mainly be typing…

a little dark menton…

We would have had a little more light for arrival on the south-coast, yesterday, but the gillets-jaunes caused more than a few problems on French motorways!

the week so-far

54, 53, 52, 51…..

Of-course nothing much tops the return of the Scooby this week – covered in frost when recovered on Wednesday morning – an early train trip to Chalon was required, and then a taxi. Subaru is not that well-developed in France – what would have been a 2 day job to fix back home in Switzerland (one day to get the part), took 12 days in France; fault diagnosis, a part ordered from Belgium, which when it arrived was the wrong part, then re-ordering, then fixing. But all is now good, and only 4 appointments were cancelled in the process, as a planned week at home was included, plus some days of French car-hire.

But the weather’s been kind this week – fortunately – as Tuesday was just 4 appointments in Beaune, on foot. Wednesday, after Chalon, to Premeaux and today was Beaune again followed by Nuits St.Georges. Tomorrow to Nuits again for my penultimate tasting of 2018. Today’s tastings were marathons; starting slowly with a mere 26 wines – then hot-footing it to appointment number two – 54 wines! I really wasn’t in much shape for driving afterwards but the sandwich shop was close by, so munch, munch, munch… The afternoon was much easier – 3 hours and only 44 wines!

When I got back home I went straight out for a run – if I’d for one moment sat down, that would have been me immobile for the rest of the evening – as it was, I felt I deserved pizza afterwards!

week 49 weekend wines – 2018 BJ Nouveau, 2017 Chambolle, plus an older one…

Well, let me tell you that the Domaine Romy 2018 Beaujolais Nouveau Le Mouflet was that very rare beast – a Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé! This wine was light coloured, transparent, nicely structured and fresh in a way that the best gamay manages to surpass in the vas majority of rosé pinot noirs. It was simply great!
Rebuy – Yes

Then came the 1997 Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts
My last one of these was almost undrinkably bretty, but this starts fabulously with a great and complex mature burgundy nose – so good! After 30 minute, unfortunately, this adds a bit of brett into the mix. A wine that remains drinkable, but much less ‘sniffable’ as it nears its last pours.
Rebuy – No

Lastly the 2017 Bernard et Armelle Rion, Chambolle-Musigny Les Echezeaux
A deep colour for the vintage. The nose is herby but with a very fine fruit and faint flowers too. Big wine, some structure, some herb on the mid-palate complexity too – but what a great depth of fruit as we head into the finish. A wine that softens with air – becoming ever-more friendly. Pretty excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

the last days…

Well, I’m still pumping out some domaine visit reports, adding them to my 2017 white burgundy report, whilst jogging, whilst making more visits, whilst chasing French garages, whilst picking up hire cars – all the usual stuff!

I’ve about 5-6 more reports to add to complete the full white report – by far my biggest ever with over 40 domaines and well over 600 wines. Oh, and Monday evening should see the return of the scooby – they had to import a part from Belgium – try telling that to a Swiss Subaru dealer – they will just laugh – or cry!

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