Why Big Red Diary?

news for burgundy report…

I just wanted to keep you updated with content and news for Burgundy Report.

First – thanks to all my subscribers in this launch year – you are managing to make an old man very happy. Thank-you! I’m currently working through masses of 2013s to get the reports online in the next weeks. My time-table for you is as follows:
2014 EXTRA!
October Report: Focusing on ‘domaine’ 2013 vintage whites (next week)
November Report: Focusing on ‘domaine’ 2013 vintage reds (mid December)
December Report: Grands Maisons 2013s (before Christmas lunch – I hope!)
2015 EXTRA!
January: Chablis 2013
February: Mâconnais 2013

And for those of you who hated the Paypal approach to subscribing, there is now a new credit-card payment option. Hopefully this avoids the issues for those that who found things not to their liking! Here: https://www.burgundy-report.com/subscribe/?level=1

Second – for 2015, I’m working on a big Paulée event in the Swiss capital – Bern. More info for you on that very soon.

Lastly – The Burgundy Report site needs restructuring after 12 years of organic growth. Changes are afoot but it will be 2015 before a new face shows itself!

That’s all for now
Many thanks to you all, again…

a new domaine to follow…


Another domaine to add to the Rebourgeon clan(s) of Pommard. I tasted the 2013s this week and found them lovely – not dissimilar to Rebourgeon-Mure (cousins) whose plots are often side-by-side.

The wine above was fresh and tasty – despite hailing from 2003…!

offer of the day – Faiveley 2013…

DOMAINE FAIVELEY 2013 – En Primeur

Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2013 75 cl 72.50 (69.80*) Swiss Francs
Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges 2013 75 cl 98.00 (98.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuées 2013 75 cl 119.00 (119.00)
Chambolle-Musigny la Combe d’Orveau 2013 75 cl 119.00 (119.00)
Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 2013 75 cl 228.00 (228.00)

Corton Clos des Cortons 2013 75 cl 139.00 (139)
Corton Clos des Cortons 2013 150 cl 283.00 (283)
Mazis-Chambertin 2013 75 cl 167.00 (169)
Grands Echezeaux 2013 75 cl 198.00 (—)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2013 75 cl 249.00 (235)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2013 150 cl 503.00 (475)
Chambertin Clos de Bèze Les Ouvrées Rodin 2013 75 cl 598.00 (598)

Corton Charlemagne 2013 75 cl 169.00 (159)

*Same merchant, 2012 prices. As we can see, largely, steady as she goes…
(8% Tax to add in Switzerland, but then these are delivered prices)

fluffy clouds & autumn colour…

Perhaps a little sad on my part – but great clouds before it got dark yesterday ;-) Actually it was a very clear-skied night, so much so that the Hautes Côtes had their first frost of the Autumn – but beautiful skies and colours in abundance today, interspersed between tastings in Vougeot, Gevrey and Vosne. Dinner with Jancis and Neal where we put the world to rights too!

Probably no time to post anything tomorrow, but I’ll be starting in Pommard, moving to Nuits (to congratulate Jacques Desvauges, the (soon to be) winemaker at Clos de Tart and then finishing at an address in Marsannay!

to be, or not to be, 2004…

I know, I know, ‘here we go again’ you are thinking. Well yes, and no…

I’ve actually tried a few very good 2004s in the last days – I looked very hard at them, but found nothing amiss. So everything’s alright now say some. Hold your horses say I! The three wines that were fine, in every way, have not suddenly got better and lost their pyrazines – not as far as I know anyway – because I’d never tasted these wines before (as far as I remember) so I don’t know how good or bad they were before. But let’s be fair to those good wines and note them here, because I’d happily drink all three again:

2004 Domaine Lafon, Volnay 1er Champans
2004 Domaine Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Lavaux St.Jacques
2004 Maison Lucien Le Moine, Clos St.Denis

But all is still not rosy. On Saturday, a gathering of friends delivered many bottles; some great, some sad, some in-between – it also, most importantly, delivered a great evening. It wasn’t at my house, so I’m not responsible – but I know all-too-well the urge, late in the evening to finish the evening off (maybe ;-)) with something special. So it was with our host: He returned with a magnum in a blind-tasting sock. My pour looked young in the glass but -ouf! – smelled strongly of pyrazines. I immediately said ‘2011!’ As I slowly pulled up the ‘sock’ I read the words Clos de Tart. I was pretty shocked – why would anyone open such a young magnum? But soon I found I was wrong, it wasn’t 2011, it was the 2004 in the headline image above. Okay, now I’m no-longer mad with my host – maybe there is a case for opening magnums of 2004! I was fooled by the young colour and the silky freshness of the wine – hard to believe a wine in such great, young condition was a 2004. It was also a great wine; a German winemaker amongst our number loved it but could also see and taste the character. But it was strong enough that (not only) I couldn’t enjoy it.

So another 2004 I hadn’t tasted before – but this time with a different result. Is the difference in this case only the format, and the relative youth of this wine, whilst all the others are getting older and better? Well, let’s see. Every couple of years I retest a number of retained bottles – but that’s not due until early 2016…

But let’s not forget a great evening:

By the way:
1999 Roulot Bourgogne surprisingly fresh if a little rich – did somebody really say Corton-Charlemagne?
1993 Leflaive Bourgogne – brilliant, but (very!) unfortunately, it was my last. My white of the night.
Thevenot 1979 was just lovely in that indeterminable age-ness thing.
JM Vincent’s 2010 Auxey was also lovely – as would have been expected, if everything wasn’t blind! I couldn’t make my mind up if was Puligny or St.Aubin…
2003 Pommard was, well, quite nice and I can’t remember what I guessed, but not 2003.
Swiss Wolfer? I really didn’t like – I said Beaujolais as I thought carbonic maceration but really couldn’t place it in Burgundy (go figure…!)
1994 Drouhin Musigny? Given the general poorness of the vintage, this triumphed to be wine of the night – I thought it a rather beautiful 1985!
2008 Claude Dugat Gevrey was a wine I could drink all night – yes the acidity of 08 but like biting into fresh fruit – almost my (red) wine of the night.
JM Pillot’s 2009 in isolation would have been nice enough, but in this company – particularly set against the Dugat, it was simply too full and too ripe to take a second glass.
Dominique Laurent’s 1998 Gevrey Cazetiers – completely and overwhelmingly corked – ouf!
Gaunoux Pommard – I forget it – I think it may also have been corked!
Jadot’s 1993 Clos des Corvées is at it’s first plateau of maturity – it is lovely and still with a bite of Premeaux tannin…
Dubiously labelled Clos St.Denis – villages standard wine, maybe…
Jean-Michel Guillon’s 2003 (I think!) Gevrey VV – tasty but but a lot of funkiness on the nose…
Denis Mortet’s 2004 Lavaux was lovely, cushioned, fine wine.
Clos de Tart 2004 – well you already know – for some people, great wine.
Benoit’s Tante Berthe – well, it wasn’t really a great tribute to him – a bit hot with unbalanced, spiky acidity – shame.
And to finish, 2005 Francois Jobard’s Meursault Genevrières – now that was a nice wine!

de l’eau…

I drove to the Côtes yesterday evening – it started dry in Switzerland, but it soon got very wet in France. Only the last few kms before Beaune allowed me the luxury of ‘intermittent’ windscreen-wipers! It seems that the department of the Côte d’Or got it (the rain!) quite badly – about 1 month’s rain in 24 hours. The Côte d’Or itself seemed to have only very limited patches of standing-water in the vines, but my first appointment today was at Vougeraie in Premeaux – Pierre Vincent was having to pump-out some of his cellar – “Perfect humidity” he quipped, also noting “That’s why it’s called Premeaux – it’s the first with water!”

Hard to believe, but it was actually dry today (post-7am!) and the first rays of sun shone just an hour before darkness. Cool dark clouds as a backdrop!

a year in corton…


A very cool book – really super photos from Jon Wyand – it also looks like he’s been flying a very sturdy kite, given some stunning aerial shots…

what to do on a friday?

Easy – visit Domaine Leflaive…

good day, thursday…

The mist blew off by lunchtime (again!) today, and beautiful it was. Afternoon in the Côte de Nuits for me and I thought I’d take plenty of pics after my 3pm appointment in Chambolle – unfortunately I didn’t leave the cellar until 6pm – when it was already dark!

Not many pics then!

mist, sun, barrels, horses, trees and sky…

It just felt like that kind of day!

On my way through the mist to visit Le Grappin today, I even saw peoples’ breath steaming a little – it didn’t seem that cool, but apparently…

The sun managed to break through quite early today, it was already sunny around lunchtime. The vineyards close to the RN(9)74 have lost much of their leaves, but on the hillsides they remain beautifully coloured, delineating the vineyards – none more-so than Monthelie and St.Aubin in the Côte de Beaune.

Heading back to Puligny from Saint Aubin I happened upon the horses of Leflaive doing their thing in Pucelles. Idyllic…

Le Grappin 2013s

DSC05312Tasted with Andrew Nielsen in Beaune 29th October, 2014. Pictured right, Andrew and Emma Nielsen.

Le Grappin

Well, there was no point in making you wait 2+ more weeks for the October issue of Burgundy Report EXTRA! to read this – because the Le Grappin 2013 offer closes on the 4th of November – so here you go for a free view of what’s assembled in the EXTRA! The highlighted wines are personal my favourites.

Andrew and Emma were moving, scrubbing and moving (again) everything in sight when I visited. The former cuverie of Fanny Sabre in the centre of Beaune remains their compact and bijou home. It could have been an even tighter squeeze were it not for the hail of 2013: With the addition of a contract for Santenay-Gravières blanc they had the potential to produce roughly 35 barrels of wine in 2013, but of-course their vines were hit by hail – so just 18 barrels of 13s await…

The wines…
Andrew plans to bottle his whole production next week – he notes that the year he used a contract bottler for his 18 barrels, it took them just a few hours – when he did the same himself last year it took them over a week! I guess the contract option looks rather appealing ;-) Overall, a lovely set of wines – there’s nothing here that I wouldn’t consider buying:

2013 Savigny-lès-Beaune
From 60 year-old, organic managed, vines in Aux Fourneau. Really badly hit by hail in 13 so he was able to get a few more rows from the same grower, but they took a whole week, pre-harvest, to drop sub-standard and damaged fruit. That said, they took a further 14 hours to sort the remaining 3 barrels-worth of fruit once harvested. Still, they managed to find about 10% good whole-clusters too. There was no pigeage and just 3 remontages with the whole-clusters on the top of the grapes.
Really great colour. The nose has fine depth of aroma, and is seemingly almost textured – really lovely. Round yet with the upmarket concentration expected of a 1er cru – lovely weight of extract. I think this an excellent result

2013 Beaune 1er Boucherottes
Also hailed, but less dramatically than in Savigny – it was also ‘hit-and-miss’ hail – unlike Savigny where every single cluster was damaged, in this plot some remained perfect. Andrew has managed to make 7 barrels worth, and also include 25% whole-clusters in his recipe. Daily remontage plus 4 days of light pigeage here.
Again excellent medium-plus colour. The nose is darker and just faintly spicy. Despite a little CO2 this is clearly a more direct and transparent wine of good intensity. Lovely width and purity to the flavours from the mid-palate onwards into the finish. Really good!

2013 Savigny-lès-Beaune Blanc
This plot was basically destroyed by the hail: Instead of his normal 4-5 barrels, Andrew was able to assemble only 90 litres of pressed juice. Although he prefers to make only from the same plots each year, there wasn’t enough to properly vinify, so he was forced to buy must from a grower in a neighbouring plot. He now has 3 barrels worth – ‘It had to be done’ he says…
The aromatic here is nicely round with a slowly growing, fresher aspect. Round in the mouth too with a slowly bubbling acidity below. It would be even better with just a twist more of acidity, but the depth of flavour is lovely – it remains a really tasty wine.

2013 Santenay 1er Les Gravières Blanc
The grower tells Andrew that this is the only chardonnay on the terres blanches of Gravières – easy for him to say ;-) Vines have a good age of about 40 years and provided enough for two (older) barrels worth of wine.
Here is a fresher, modestly mineral nose that has fine floral top-notes. There’s faint CO2 on the palate but behind, the wine is clearly lithe, wide and very tasty. I find a fine tension from the mid-palate into the finish. Very lovely!

2013 Beaune 1er Les Grèves Blanc
Again, lower yields due to hail, There’s no new oak used here.
Once-more there’s something floral in the aromatic – but below is more depth of aroma. Lithe and wide in the mouth – the depth of flavour growing all the time and leaving a suggestion of salt on your tongue. Lovely wine again.

weekend wines and misty burgundy


A couple of wines from the weekend above – and why not 2008! The Pillot was nicely muscled and in perfect drinking order. The Camille Giroud Corton was a pig to taste before bottling but has rounded out to a very pretty and engaging wine – very yummy. 2 hits from 2008!

Monday, back to the Côtes. It was a misty/low cloud day, and it never really left, just covered everything with a faint shimmer of dampness. Tuesday started exactly the same. I saw Blair Pethel and he said that it was just wet enough to keep him from ploughing – oh well, it seems like Autumn is arriving. But late afternoon the sun managed to break through the cloud and we were treated to a lovely last 2 hours of sun and sunset…

My tour of white domaines continues unabated, lovely wines to discover…

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