Why Big Red Diary?

a vendangeur’s (pictoral) tale… (part seven)


books in the post…


Ooh! Another day another book – it’s an avalanche! A nice delivery this morning – just leave it with me for a couple of weeks to digest 😉

oh, and yet another DRC fraud story broke cover yesterday too…

wresting the crown back from jasper?


1-WP_20131017_004I spotted a fantastic new book while I was doing the vendanges, not cheap at €69 in Athenaeum in Beaune, but once the pages are thumbed you are (I was!) compelled to buy.

Let’s be clear, it’s in French, but who cares with such wonderful new maps from Sylvain Pitiot – but wait, how can they have made such a mistake with such a beautifully presented (and expensive) book? There are two maps of Gevrey-Chambertin! Indeed there turns out to be two maps of most communes! Eventually the penny drops; one map is for the climats of that village e.g. Chapelle-Chambertin, the other is for the lieu-dits e.g. Gemeaux! Ooh! now that’s useful. There are also tables that define each climat (village lieu-dits too) to 4 decimal places (hectares) and list (for instance) exactly which lieu-dits make up Fixin’s Clos de Perrières. Add to that a list of the producers (almost, there is an occasional ‘missing’) who declared a particular Grand Cru in 2011 and this is a pretty terrific reference work.

I spoke with somebody at the BIVB, and they told me that there is another book with descriptions of the climats by the producers that is currently going through final ‘proofs’ – should be available in time for (my!) Christmas stocking. If they are indeed companion copies, then the locals are clearly trying to wrest the guru title back from Jasper Morris – though this book’s scope is narrower, and for most of the world, they will have to think about English versions for that to happen 😉

PS Sorry about the site being down yesterday – but my hosting company (it was them not me) didn’t feel the need to rush into doing anything remedial, after-all, it was only MIA for about 18 hours and nothing moves in Switzerland on a Sunday…!

catching-up with andrew @legrappin

andrew nielsen @ le grappin

In-between clearing-up the aftermath from the previous evening’s Paulée, and lunch on Thursday, I and the traveling Kiwi & Jura winemakers (from the home domaine) paid a visit to Andrew Nielsen in the shiny-new premises for Le Grappin, that he recently acquired in the centre of Beaune.

Okay, shiny-new it certainly isn’t – not yet anyway. Andrew moved in just before the harvest and his first job was to move all his tanks and barrels from Savigny-lès-Beaune to his new home – the former winery of Fanny Sabre. There may be apartments above him, but Andrew just has the ground-floor and cellar below – a cellar that once housed gunpowder! – It’s clearly a tight fit during the harvest period, but things will get easier over the next weeks, I’m sure.

It was good to see Andrew’s small production (smaller than it should have been) of (ex Morey) old gamay which was just about starting to ferment via carbonic maceration. More interesting for me was the chance to taste Andrew’s 2012s, the ones I’d ordered from his release offer – I’d ordered Savigny Blanc et Rouge and Beaune 1ers Boucherottes and Grèves blanc – and lovely they tasted too, I’m a happy purchaser. He is not quite sold-out if you are interested.

Based in London, Andrew has done good business, personally selling his wines at farmers’ markets etcetera, he’s also done a good trade in ‘boxed’ wines – red, rosé and white – which sell well and massively cut down on the cost of transport versus heavy glass. Well-done Andrew!


Waiting for the pressings

Waiting for the pressings…

Decuvage: Emptying the fermentation tanks, digging out the cap from those tanks and pressing the cap.

The day after our Paulée seems more Spring-like than Autumn; there’s a cool-ish blue sky, but bright sunshine too. I thought I was going to get my hands (and probably a lot more!) dirty this afternoon, as we planned to start the first ‘decuvage’ after lunch, but the boss decided to wait one more day – shame, my TGV awaits!

The whites are looking really good, so-far no surprises have lain in wait. The reds have extracted their colour rather easily and seem to offer very nice aromatics. Fermentations are well under-way here, with many temperatures closing in on to 30°C now. Despite apparently high potential alcohols (lots of people quoting 12-13+ at harvest), the truth is in the detail – these quoted figures are almost always based on the ‘legal’ potential alcohol, which deviates from the (different calculation) actual (analytical) alcohols achieved by as much as 0.8% this year – many are the domaines that planned to add 0.3-0.5% sugar (pretty-much as ‘usual’) but are finding that 0.5-1.0(+)% is required.

Very early days of-course, but the wines look surprisingly good after the harvest and triage travails. Let’s see how this continues…

2008 maison romaine’s corton perrières…


2008 Maison Romaine, Corton Les Perrières
Maison Romain is a side-line label for one man and his horse; the pair occasionally manage to get paid in grapes for ploughing between the vines, rather than in hard cash. The wine-making approach has been described to me as ‘natural’, and in this case at least, I would say very successfully-so…
This wine offers up a a healthy whiff of stems but I have to say that they are very pretty stems – this is rather perfumed – and with a lovely red fruit underpinning too. I really like it! Mouth-filling flavours are edged with a slightly salty note and there’s a fine but far from bright acidity that’s coupled with very good length. This is very nice wine indeed, and wine which I would happily go out and buy, but given its low-sulfur credentials, I think that I would be looking to drink it over the short-to-medium term – and frankly, that’s no shame as it drinks very well already today!
Rebuy – Yes

it’s called the paulée…

I should mention that the food was rather good too!

enough grapes…(?)

A get-away-from-all-the-grapes:

a vendangeur’s (pictoral) tale… (part six)

We finished lunchtime, praise be the lord, after another testing episode – it was so cold first thing back on that damn Haut Cotes de Nuit plateau, with a claggy mist exacerbating the cold, that my jacket had ice on the left arm (honestly) and you can imagine what one’s hands felt like – yes, blocks of ice. Really bad. Herve was shamed into a mid break before we turned back for a second pass with coffee and croissants supplied – sun out by then. Absolutely without a shadow of doubt THE most testing vendange one can imagine with a legacy of ailments for your’s truly who’s semi crippled. Cyprien agreed with me earlier this p.m the grapes from here were depressingly bad with rot, although deceptively looked good at the start . This is another new, first time for this year, terroir where Cyprien told me he had not had the ability to manage the vineyard how he’d have wished and that it was way too prolific. Flippin freezin again now sat typing here at the back of the cuverie and my RSI’d right arm is going bonkers – really painful. Hey ho !

seguin-manuel grows…


Domaine Seguin-Manuel gets a toehold in the Côte de Nuits

Domaine Seguin-Manuel takes over a 1,8-hectare vineyard in Vosne-Romanée « Aux Communes ». Hand harvested on October 3-4, the grapes coming from these old vines are showing a high quality potential.

The estate now covers a total area of 8,5 hectares. Initially located in Savigny-lès-Beaune, Domaine Seguin-Manuel has been farming several new plots in Beaune, Pommard, Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet since its acquisition by Thibaut Marion in 2004. In the process of certification, all the vineyards are organically grown.

« This new plot in Vosne-Romanée makes it possible for us to get a toehold in an iconic village of the Côte de Nuits. It contributes to the control of our supplies of sought-after appellations wines and strengthens the artisan dimension of our winery».

Seguin-Manuel produce 80 000 bottles a year and export 70% of them in some thirty countries.

Thibaut Marion


a vendangeur’s (pictoral) tale… (part cinq)

a vendangeur’s (pictoral) tale… (part 4)

Our intrepid vendangeur is now battling a little RSI, the cold, the wet…

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