Why Big Red Diary?

dr.georges mugneret’s 2002 gevrey – the baby ruchottes…


I was, perhaps, a little dumb to open this one; I’m in the early stages of a cold, and despite losing many of my sniffing faculties, I just happened to reach for the cork-screw anyway!

The 2002 was the first vintage for this wine (I think), the declassified young vines from Ruchottes-Chambertin. On release I though it excellent, unlike the 2003 or 2004, each compromised but for different reasons. I also have a 2005 ready to open, but maybe my nose will demand that I wait a few days for that!

2002 Dr. Georges Mugneret, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium-plus colour. The nose is a little tight (or maybe my nose is a little tight!) but there is still a sweet dark-cherry or plum fruit. In the mouth this has a lovely, welcoming, sweetness, a round yet lithe impression that is both balanced and texturally very nice indeed. There is tannin but it is little more than an anecdote, and a perfect acidity that supports medium-plus length flavours. I could almost guess Chambolle! Just a very, very pretty wine indeed – I have a few more bottles, but I really wish I’d pushed the boat out a little more. Lovely!
Rebuy – Yes

ambroise: a carbonated beverage or wine?


I cannot lie, these days I’m having a bit of a love-hate relationship with dissolved CO2 in young wines – I can only love the wines when it’s gone – before I hate them…!

2009 Maison Ambroise, Bourgogne
I like the screw-cap – it’s quick and easy – there, the wine is already in my glass. I have to say, don’t like the smell though; there’s the toasty oak of Bordeaux – or Pousse d’Or – and the CO2 backed sweetness makes me think of well-known carbonated beverages, not wine – all I can say is, at least it’s not reduced! The advantage of a screw-cap, though, is that you don’t have to get your finger wet: put the cap back on and shake for all your worth! After half an hour, this is real wine, and not oaky wine either; there’s a friendly red cherry and a hint of herb too – actually it’s quite nice now the oak smell has left us. In the mouth the overall stance has a decent focus, more than adequate concentration (for the label) and the balance is fine. There are no wines from Ambroise in my cellar, and that’s down to my perception of their oak, but once it fades, you are left with a very successful wine, I really rather liked it!!!
Rebuy – Yes

kent rasmussen – failed by the cork – almost…

kentFollowing my recent cellar investigation, my last bottle from this producer turned up – it was the youngest I ever owned – a 1999.

During the late 1990s the doyen of British independent wine-retailers was Oddbins, and whilst they made as much money selling beer and cigarettes as they did wine, they had a treasure trove of small and interesting producers side-by-side with walls of the latest Shiraz on special offer – here is one such example. Such a shame that the shops that currently wear that name bear no more than a skin-deep resemblance!

Anyway, back to Kent! I bought this cuvée from the 1996 to 1999 vintages, inclusive, and enjoyed them all, but it was nearly 10 years since my last bottle. Along the way there had been other interesting bottles from Kent; the Ramsey Petite Syrah and a 1996 Ramsey Reserve Napa Valley Syrah – the latter could have been sourced from Berry Bros.(?) – but back to my first love: As it was an ‘older bottle’ I chose the screwpull – my lever-action ‘tool’ has a habit of snapping the older corks in two – well in this case the cork simply disintegrated, erupting into a heap of bits. Fortunately very little ended up in the bottle-neck. Frankly there was a little oxidation to the aromas, dovetailing with a little vanilla and plum, but the fat, flavour and texture of this wine was still remarkably lovely – I’d probably be bemoaning a lack of acidity if it came from the Côte d’Or, but regardless, it seems that this one was drunk in the nick (maybe 2-3 years too late?) of time!

easy 85s…


Tonight it’s a Beaune Grèves from 1985. It is round, sweet and nicely textured. There is not that much excitement, but not that much to complain about either. For (too) many, 1985 in a glass…

closing in on the 2013 vintage…

I chatted with the ‘home domaine’ today to get a better feel for how things are running:

It seems that, despite great weather in August and (so far) in September, the harvesting timeline has been extended a little further. Whites and the first Côte de Nuits reds will probably arrive at the winery around 27-28th September, but this year will not be the usual concentrated 10-day blast, probably the Côte d’Or harvest could easily last 3 weeks (the Hautes Côtes is often a couple of weeks later).

The hailed Côte de Beaune vines lost about 2 weeks of maturity (versus the unhailed), and whilst you might expect them to catch back up (as there’s less fruit to ripen) there’s no sign of that yet. Another domaine that I know of in Morey isn’t planning to start until ~4th October, so I guess Laurent Ponsot will be penciling-in a Halloween party to coincide with his vendanges, but whether that aligns with his start or finish is yet to be seen!

Given the awful news of hail for Côte de Beaune vignerons, many people (even the French!) have fixed in their mind that 2013 is going to be a difficult/poor vintage, yet they lose sight of the fact that hail hit from the Meursault/Volnay border to Pernand-Vergelesses, but no more. The whites largely look magnificent, and the Côte de Nuits still has the potential for a Great vintage. Disease pressure was only very early in the season due to the wet spring / early summer, thereafter, the weather has been dream-like. Let’s see how that weather treats them over the next 4 weeks.

Meanwhile I’ve culled a few ‘Facebook bunches’ for your delectation: As always, Alexandrine Roy leads the field with her photogenic clusters(…!), but for balance, I’ve include a few from Pommard too.

Can’t wait!

[Photo credits: Jeremy Seysses, Thomas Bouley, Nicolas Rossignol, Alexandrine Roy]

jean-marc boillot’s 2011 villages puligny


2011 Jean-Marc Boillot, Puligny-Montrachet
Medium-pale lemon yellow. The first few minutes after opening, this wine offers up plenty of toasty bread, but slowly this fades to leave you with a fainter vanilla and a nice clean 2010-style nose that hints of soap and a little ginger. There’s a pleasant freshness to this wine, it doesn’t offer a laser-like focus, but the acidity is decent enough and the flavour wraps nicely around your tongue. It’s very ‘easy’ wine in that 2011 vernacular and I suspect that a few 2010 Bourgognes might give it a run for its money, but that said, it was a wine that was easily enjoyed and greedily consumed!
Rebuy – Yes

thomas-moillard’s 2000 bonnes-mares


In well-regarded vintages, the wines of Thomas-Moillard were as hard as nails – the 99s are a case in point, where they will need the best part of (at least!) 10 more years before I would consider broaching more than a sample of their wares. Maybe in less auspicious vintages they chose to rotate their recumbent fermenters less, leaving behind just a little of the tannin in their pips and skins – maybe! But here is a decent enough 2000, yet a wine that is certainly built to last.

2000 Thomas-Moillard, Bonnes-Mares
Medium-plus colour. Aromatically this is an instant hit – wild, exciting and with great depth – already after 10 minutes it’s a little more pedestrian, but what an opening! Time restores my interest as there are new aromas of leather and meat, but they are cleanly delivered aromas. The first sip reveals sweet fruit, super intensity and a leading-edge of acidity that is faintly sharp/metallic – this acidity softens quickly – you really wouldn’t notice after a few minutes. There is a grain to the tannin, but it has very little astringency, more of a fresh sensation in the finish. So a concentrated wine that delivers impact and interest, yet seems relatively structured, given the vintage – it is an old-styled meaty wine but still with some style – even these 2000s beg at least 10 more years in the cellar, and given my experience of some 1960s T-Ms, maybe a good deal more than that!
Rebuy – Yes

visiting the neighbours (in alsace…)


Saturday involved a short (1 hour) hop into the Alsace. We took a friend to visit the impossibly pretty village of Eguisheim for lunch, where the large co-operative called Wolfberger is sited. They’d had quite a make-over since last time I visited – très impressive! Just for the record, half a dozen Cremant Vieilles Vignes, a brace of Rieslings (2010 Eichberg and 2012 Muenchberg) and fine Pinot Gris (2008 Rangen) made it back chez moi.

My wife bought some dodgy 20% alcohol ginger concoction – for adding to beer – presumably to make ginger beer! She was also a little tempted by their Alsacienne single malt whisky, but in the end stayed firm…

Of-course there are other domaines to visit in Eguisheim too! 😉

ardhuy’s 2005 pommard 1er fremiers…


2005 Ardhuy, Pommard 1er Les Fremiers
Deep colour, and still rather young-looking colour at that. Deep, dark blackcurrant and cherry notes, a faint whiff of (probably oak) spice too. Concentrated, intense, this conceals rippling muscle below a sauve-suited exterior – there’s simply no other vintage that this wine could come from, given the blend of density and concentration, yet balance too – though maybe I won’t go as far as to say ‘grace’. Ripe, understated tannin would beg a rule-change from the Pommard ‘norm’. Smooth, attention-holding drinking – just a superbly accomplished wine – I wish I had bought more; my recent ‘stock-check’ pointing to just one more in the cellar.
Rebuy – Yes

bergs not burgs…

A couple of pics from Friday…

camille-giroud’s 2010 savigny les peuillets….


Without doubt I’m a little biased, but what wonderful value this wine is, not just from the basic perspective of Savigny pricing, but for the impressive quality within too…

2010 Camille Giroud, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Peuillets
Medium, medium-plus colour. Aromatically there’s still more than a nod to the barrels with a creamy depth to pretty red fruit. In the mouth the oak adds multiple dimensions but can only do so because of the wine’s inherent depth of flavour – otherwise that oak would be very boring! Sweetness of cushioned red fruit and a peak of acid-borne, high-toned flavour in the mid-palate. This is just lovely – but the domaine is sold out of 2010s – thankfully there are more in this cellar!
Rebuy – Yes

leflaive’s 2002 puligny combettes


2002 Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Combettes
With my first sip, I wasn’t sure what to make of this wine – it seemed so dry – but by the third sip all was okay (something I ate?) The nose is really less about chardonnay, and perhaps less about Puligny, than about Leflaive; gunflint and savoury is the impression. In the mouth this is decently concentrated and shows a nice mid-palate intensity. The acidity is fine too. My overall impression is of a lithe, sinewy wine with truly excellent detail. I still think it is more ‘Leflaive’ than Puligny – at least aromatically – but no harm done; a wine in perfect condition that is also drinking perfectly…
Rebuy – Yes

Page 60 of 232« First...102030...5859606162...708090...Last »