Why Big Red Diary?

emmental pinot?

Just 20km from my door, what an idyllic place to make a few bottles of wine – eh?

Too much contrast for you to see it, but from the top of this vineyard you could see the snow-covered peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – gorgeoous!

Is there a future for this, or other forum(s)?

WARNING – for me, at least, a long-ish post. And because many people will not follow this discussion if it stays on the Burgundy Report forum, I’m also posting it in my Diary 😉

I guess, as background, some of my experience may be mirrored by others, but…

I stopped with the forum of erobertparker when the junta closed it down – it was mainly closed due to critique, and much of it both unrepeatable and unnecessary, despite the general undertow of brown-nosing – but it was the best ‘meeting place’ I’ve ever known on the web. I paid a small subscription to go back and delete as many of my previous posts as I could (my freely given content) but much had already been archived – one could say stolen…

I started this forum by popular – well at least a dozen people(!) – demand, people who needed a new place ‘to go’. It took some work to set up, and then much more work to weed out and eventually stop the spam. But it seems, to say the very least now, to be in a persistent vegetative state…

I had a dalliance with wineberserkers, but often the tenor of discussion was (is) unpleasant – never to me – but plenty of shilling and self-importance was carried over from erp. I only go there today if somebody specifically points me to a link, or a bunch of people come to Burgundy Report because of a discussion there.

What I have noticed is that a couple of Burgundy-related groups (two, only because the moderators of the first had a fall-out!) on Facebook now have thousands of members and whilst as always it’s a small core of posters, wines and even sometimes tasting-notes, abound. There’s definitely a core of ‘look at me with my Leroy’ posters, who have not that much to say, but I like that it’s a different demographic – many more from China/HK/Singapore et-cetera than the ‘traditional’ fora. Plus, Facebook seems to have an ever finer focus – first, Burgundy Geeks group, then come individual village groups like Vosne-Romanée – I expect it might take longer for somebody to set up a group devoted to Monthèlie!

So, is Facebook the forum for the next years? In the current circumstances, I don’t see much possibility of this particular forum surviving 2016.

But that’s up to you of-course 😉

Did somebody say free stuff?


Those of you with good memories will of-course remember my promise to make the older subscription Burgundy Reports free to view.

Burgundy is about sharing, so I feel it important that things don’t remain hidden. Yet the people who support this site deserve that their inside line on the new vintages, new wines and new producers remains theirs for long enough that they can derive the benefits from that info.

So, all of the Burgundy Reports that have been published for more than 18 months (currently January & February 2014) are now free to view. It’s automatic, so I won’t send you an email alert every month 😉

You will find them at the bottom of this page.

Looking Forward…

The 11 reports per year publishing schedule of Burgundy Report seems to be bedding in and you can already look forward to the following, each published at the end of the month that follows:

  • September – The 2015 growing season and all about those grapes…
  • October – Vintage 2014 Whites – the Domaines
  • November – Vintage 2014 Reds – the Domaines
  • December – Vintage 2014 – the Grands Maisons
  • January – Vintage 2014 – Chablis
  • February to July – Reportage, new domaines, vineyard profiles et-cetera

For those of you with such a focused interest, individual reports can be purchased, starting with the October 2015 Burgundy Report.

some weekend stuff….


2012 Alex Gambal, Meursault Clos du Cromin
This wine has always had ample width and weight – almost old-style Meursault from both the aromas and impression across the tongue – but there’s really plenty of energy to keep pace. That said, it’s a bottle that I prefer to drink a glass of, before moving onto a red – it stays open 3 days, and it’s just as good at the end as the start. Good wine.
Rebuy – Yes

2010 Domaine Ramonet, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Oh how pleased I am! I bought both the 2009 and 2010 on release. The 09 was lovely but the 10 was hard and a bit acidic. about 3 years down the line and this has really settled into it’s stride. The aromas are precise, fresh and inviting, and in the mouth it’s still fresh but now mouth-wateringly-so and very tasty too. Indeed Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

wine of the year – with a bullet – so far…


No, not the one on the right – very good as it was – the one on the left. It was a Paulée wine. Only two bottles remained in the cellar; this one with a little air-space and a second one which had a perfect fill – presumably from re-corking. You know when everybody puts their nose in their glass and almost en ensemble exhorts – ouf! – that was this wine. We never felt the need to open the second bottle, there was, however, also the 2005 previously opened, and there was a clear family resemblance…

ponsot’s 2005…


Okay, I realise that was just a bit clickbaity, but I really did open one – if only the Bourgogne Rouge – fortunately it was drinking very well indeed 😉

Since Allen Meadows scored this domaine’s 2005s, they basically departed the world’s list of ‘available’ wines – at least for mere mortal pricing. My recent cellar move was allowed me discover lots of interesting bottles, so here was the tester.

2005 Ponsot, Bourgogne Cuvée du Pinson
According to the label there were just 1704 bottles of this domaine wine produced, (plus magnum+jeroboams? – probably not…) and it reached a mere 12.6% alcohol – according to the label anyway. The temperature ‘spot’ on my label remains pristine and white – though don’t take that as a guarantee of anything in particular as the earlier implementations are notoriously unreliable.
A good, not too young colour that you can easily see through – no opaque monster. Hmm – nice – the nose is clearly ripe but also freshly direct like fresh cranberry juice. In the mouth too, this is certainly not in the top league of powerful, extracted 2005 bourgognes, rather it is a wine of nice intensity, really excellent balance and an uncommonly silky texture. Very yum drinking now, and really no rush at all to consume. Excellent Bourgogne if not a ‘special’ wine in the context of the vintage!
Rebuy – Yes (if ever seen)

not half good – 1999 mugnier chambolle


I’m really at a loss with these half bottles – luckily I have less and less of them…

Way-back-when, when the 1999s were released I was fortunate enough to buy Mugnier’s Musigny, Amoureuses and villages Chambolle. I didn’t have much of the villages, but it tasted great, so I jumped in and bought a dozen halves too – just as well, I thought, as those 75cls are long-gone.

I drank an early Musigny at it was brilliant (note that I’m very happy to have drunk that young bottle, despite Frederic deciding it’s not up to us when to drink them). I’ve had a couple of Amoureuses too – the last 2 years ago – and, likewise, it was brilliant – perhaps even more brilliant, certainly aromatically. But! I’ve ‘tested’ these villages halves every 2-3 years, and frankly they have never been that great, i.e. consistently not great – I think I now have 3 or 4 left. This week’s bottle seems to offer a modest but not classically Chambolle aroma, but the finishing flavours are frankly bitter and not that much fun. I don’t, however, see any obvious faults, just a not very tasty, 15 year-old villages, from a renowned producer. I questioned my timing in previous years, but at some stage that becomes a false crutch.

Good storage, good looking condition, consistently poor results versus the excellent ‘other’ Mugnier 99s from the same source in my cellar.

I remain bemused …

changing the guard at clos de tart…

It’s en Français but here is a great post by Jacques Perrin, covering the recent Clos de Tart tastings, celebrating the vintages and retirement of Sylvain Pitiot as winemaker. There will another, similar, tasting at his UK importers in October, but unfortunately I’m fully booked!

Look out for the floral descriptor ‘gentiane’ (gentian) in the notes – that’s French-taster-speak for pyrazine 😉 Anyway, a great map of the Clos is included – it’s not attributed, but I assume it was directly the handiwork of Sylvain…


vougeraie’s 2000 clos de vougeot…


2000 Vougeraie, Clos de Vougeot
A big round, faintly developed nose of leaves with a sweeter, complex depth – a great start. Versus the last time I opened one of these, the overall impression is a little more direct and less padded, yet still with just a hint of Clos de Vougeot strictness. I’m liking this, yet without the total love of previous bottles. A phase or this bottle? One never knows, but all the same, a more than adequately satisfying wine, even one with such an ‘important’ label.
Rebuy – Yes

19 september – 2015 harvest day 16

Le Roi Chambertin.

Harvest day 16, but only our 12th day with grapes…

As we say, it’s only over after the Chambertin is in – and today, finally, it was. Despite the wait, no complaints about the cleanliness and presentation of the grapes. More info after a short (maybe long) Paulée… 😉


17 september – 2015 harvest day 14


Hooray! At 16h00 today, the rain stopped – so that was only 23 hours of rain…
That said, the sky remains very dark with just a few patches of blue – in fact it’s averaged several hours of rain per day since Saturday!

At the home domaine there is nothing to report – our last grapes are still on the vine, and it’s not certain if they will be picked on Friday or Saturday.


I’ll be signing-off from this series of reports just as soon as those grapes are sorted, but for info on the ferments, and something of the analytics of the 2015 vintage, I’ll include that in my September report.

16 september – 2015 harvest day 13

For those who were asking, here’s the difference between (very ripe) pinot noir and pinot gris – locally called pinot beurot – from Charmes-Chambertin today.
[2x life-size]

We wake to rain – not particularly heavy, but unyielding. It’s still raining when our first truck of grapes arrives from Gevrey-Chambertin – avec nos Charmes-Chambertin – I bet the cases will be rather muddy (again) too! As it turns out the cases are in good shape – this grower fills them differently to the one in Marsannay.

DSC07888Our grower’s Charmes is always something of a challenge to triage as it’s normally full of rot. This year, hardly a sight of rot – maybe a dozen bunches from many pallets of fruit – and they have also managed the oïdium better than most too, I found only 2 or 3 bunches in the 2 hour session of triage – chapeau! The grapes are dark and ripe, and it seems to me that they were needing to be picked – any hard handling and the berries begin to part with their stems – but yet again, what stems! Like the yesterday’s Marsannay, approaching brown/red colour for many – really lignified. I’ve never seen that before, but it’s really just these last two appellations that have presented themselves in such a way. These are our only grapes of the day – half the cleaning is done before lunch, the rest after. Fortunately today we triaged just a little longer than we cleaned!

Halfway through our triage there was sunshine but also an ever-growing force of wind. After lunch the floors of Beaune are littered with discarded branches and hundreds of horse chestnuts – the temperature was impressive too, whilst this wind alone could easily dry the vines, the temperature was well over 20°C – warmer outdoors than in. In Switzerland we would call this a Föhn wind, the Swiss also took this word for a hairdryer! Our forecasters suggested thunder and lightning would return by 19h00, so I went jogging at 16h30 – the thunder and first drops of rain started before I was back – and I was only out for 30 minutes. Rain returned with a vengence about 18h30.

Will our last appellation arrive tomorrow? It seems not, the talk is now of Friday or even Saturday – hmm – our Paulée is planned for Friday, and I’m not sure it’s allowed to bring in grapes after the Paulée. Tough decisions await 😉

(Part of!) Lunch:


I said it was windy! :

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