Why Big Red Diary?

prince florent de merode 2007 corton clos du roi

2007 Prince Florent de Merode, Corton Clos du Roi
Medium colour. The nose is a little estery though smooth and red too. In the mouth the fruit is not bad, but it’s quite high-toned to match the estery nose – nice ripeness though and understated tannin too for a Corton. The acidity is fine enough – understated but silky. A wine that is a bit of a curate’s egg; a little estery but it has a comfy texture and decent balance too. Perhaps not a bottle for the long-term(?) but it’s tasty enough today – that said, I’ve the impression that this is more of a good premier cru level wine.
Rebuy – Maybe

mugneret-gibourg 2007 bourgogne

2007 Mugneret-Gibourg, Bourgogne
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts a little disappointing with a note that has me recalling paint – it takes a while to fade, leaving quite an understated and slightly nonedescript red cherry – a long wait brings a little more focus. The flavour has the focus with decent acid cherry flavour, limited depth but the balance and overall impression is quite positive.
Rebuy – Maybe

mugnier 2007 nuits clos de la maréchale

The Fourrier from the other night was excellent, so I can see myself looking at a few more 07s over the next days…

2007 JF Mugnier, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de la Marechale
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is of punchy red fruit and a hint of kirsch. Smooth, good concentration and with understated but balancing acidity. The tannins of Nuits are largely tamed, there’s just a little stickiness to them, but you really couldn’t say ‘rustic’. The finishing flavours have a hint of cherry-stone bitterness to them. This is a good wine but clearly a wine that needs more time than the Fourrier of the other night – so leave it in the cellar for a while!
Rebuy – Yes


I don’t do this very often, but what about a bit of blind Bordeaux tasting? :-)

We have twelve wines; multiple vintages of the Pomerol Château Hosanna before us, arranged into four flights of three – but each flight containing a ringer, or as they say in Switzerland, ‘a Pirate’! We know the identities of each wine in the flight but don’t know which is which, scoring is mandatory and out of 20. Let’s see…

Flight 1: Containing 1999 and 2007 Hosanna plus 2002 L’Eglise Clinet
Wine 1. Medium-plus colour. Oldest colour of the three wines. The nose is top-to-bottom interesting, with a hint of cream though also a powdery fruit that borders on ‘musty’. Time in the glass clears the must and adds dark plum fruit. In the mouth this starts a little soft but builds a wiry muscle – plenty of bitter-chocolate in the finish. 18/20
Wine 2. Middle-aged colour of the three. The nose is more floral and higher toned – no bass notes to start. Slowly the aromas fill out adding a little leather. In the mouth this wine is much younger / less resolved – lots of structure – super acidity and grippy tannin. Long oak-tannin notes in the finish. 17/20
Wine 3. Youngest colour. The nose is very round and creamy – if anything too much vanilla-cream, it is almost tending to lactic. This wine mirrors the nose with a very round impression in the mouth, but, is there something behind this curtain of oak(?) I’m not sure that there is real depth here. The finish is understated but lingers well. Overall not as charming as the nose would have you expect. 15.5/20

From colour alone it is clear that the wines are easy to place: my order 1999, 2002, 2007. Result 3 correct. This ‘blind’ tasting is pretty easy 😉 Running total 3 from 3.

Flight 2: Containing 2000 and 2001 Hosanna plus 2001 Valandraud
Wine 4. Youngest looking colour. A deep but not so full nose, edged with hints of green. Full and round in the mouth with a little grain to understated tannins. Dark flavours, and very long too with a saline finish. Super wine. 19/20
Wine 5. Same colour as wine 6. Young fruit and tobacco on the nose and also like the last wine a twist of something green. Velvet texture and a little more acidity than wine 4. Fresher, peppery flavours and though the flavours grow more in the mid-palate I’m not sure the finish is as long as the first wine. 18/20
Wine 6. A silky, plummy nose though not as demonstrative as the others in the flight. Clean, fresh entry with soft fine tannins. Again I’m not so sure about the length but this is clearly the most elegantly proportioned wine of the three. 17.5/20

The colours were the best clues in the last flight so I’ll use that again – two are the same so they must be the 01s, but that’s inconvenient because the oldest wine would have the youngest colour! Still there’s only 1 year difference and 2000 is supposed to be a great vintage. Okay I’m decided 4=2000 H. 5=2001 V. 6=2001 H. Result (ouch) 4=01 V. 5=00 H. 6=01 H. Only 1 correct – maybe blind tasting is not so easy! Running total 4 from 6.

Flight 3: Containing 2003 and 2004 Hosanna plus 2002 Le Plus de Lafleur Bouard
Wine 7. A little darker than wine 9, lighter than wine 8. High toned and a little estery with some leather. Plenty of dimension in the mouth, high-toned fruit and the intensity fighting to make you swallow. The finish is subtle and undemonstrative but really long. 18/20
Wine 8. Saturated colour – must be 2003! Really good width to the aromas though with limited depth and a subtle hint of green herb. Lots of grainy tannin here – it’s like sucking a little flavour through sand – but good flavour despite the sand! 16.5/20
Wine 9. Has the most interesting aromas – to start with there’s not quite the width of the other two wines but it fills out a little in the glass – perhaps even a hint of tar. Lovely balance and a clear hint of mocha to the flavour. 16.5/20

The colour mandates that number 8 must be the 2003. A co-taster asks what mocha means as he’s seen it a note for one of the wines – which one I ask, ‘2003’ he says. Shame, I had mocha for wine 9 but that’s not the 2003! In the end I choose 7=2004 H. 8=2003 H. 9=2002 Le Plus. Result (ouch) 7=04 8=02(!!!) 9=03(!!!) Oh-dear, I should have stuck with my palate not the colours, that 02 was remarkably extracted for the vintage then. Running total 5 from 9.

Flight 4: Containing 2005 and 2006 Hosanna plus 2005 Gazin
Wine 10. Saturated colour. High-toned aromas and a little alcohol burn in your nose, there’s also dried meat and a spicy plum compote. Super-full in the mouth, concentrated and intense. Plenty of grainy tannin but it’s not too forward. Very long and a little heat here too. Very long, though a little less exciting than the wine that follows and perhaps just a hint less ripe fruit. 18.5/20
Wine 11. Almost saturated. The nose is deeper and more fruit-driven than the last wine – there’s also a hint of alcohol burning the nose but a lower level than wine 10. Almost silky to start and super-intense. The wine’s flavour grows and grows with lovely acidity – there’s an extra dimension of flavour here which is mirrored in the finish too. The best yet! 19.5/20
Wine 12. Almost saturated colour. The nose is round, but a little tight – no burn though. Concentrated and incredibly elegant in the mouth, the tannin is a little sticky rather than grainy – the only wine (of the whole tasting) like this. Clearly different to the other two I love the style of this. It is more understated than wine number 11 today – but might be better one day – it’s a beauty. 19/20

So the colour worked for me once but failed me twice – I’m ignoring that then! Wine 12 is quite different in style to the other two but is that a vintage or a producer difference(….?) Given the lack of burn on the nose I will guess that wine 12 is from a less ripe vintage, which would imply (possibly…) 2006. But which of the others is Gazin? I find wine 11 stands apart from all the others in the tasting because of the extra dimension of flavour in the mid-palate and finish, and despite the flavour fireworks it also seems a hint rustic when compared to the other two wines. Okay I’m ready, 10 and 12 same producer, 12 a different vintage so end I choose 10=2005 H. 11=2005 G. 12=2006 H. Result 10=05 Gazin(!) 11=06 H.(!) 12=05 H.
Final total 5 from 12 – oh well…

Great fun, thanks to Vinifera-Mundi!


Not the worst ‘critique‘ (good thing!) but one I’d been waiting a while for…

Clos des Mouches L’Ouvrée des Dames

…symbolic of femininity and also the transmission of know-how from woman to woman, to design a unique jeroboam wine label as well as a custom made piece of furniture…

Beauty will be in the eye of the beholder!

fourrier 2007 morey st.denis clos solon

To be honest, I’ve pretty much given-up buying the wines from this domaine – such is the market demand that prices have skyrocketed in the last 10 years. The Clos Solon was traditionally something of a bargain, and whilst it might not have increased in price by the same number of multiples as the domaine’s Clos St.Jacques or Griotte-Chambertin, this is the last vintage I bought. But it’s still a great wine…

2007 Fourrier, Morey St.Denis Clos Solon VV
There’s plenty of CO2 to purge from the bottle, you can even ‘smell’ it, so the bottle is shaken 3 or 4 times to release some of it, then rested a couple of hours. The colour is just a little more than ‘medium’ in depth, the forward nose grabbing you with dark-skinned fruit notes over a more reticent powdery, redder fruit – eventually a liqueur-cherry starts to show itself – to be honest I can’t ‘see’ Morey, but it’s begging to be drunk! The entry seems a hint saline or with just a slight edge to the acidity, but behind is a palate to luxuriate in, with smooth, relatively concentrated dark-red fruit. There’s still a very slight ‘prickle’ at the back of the palate – so not all the gas is gone yet – but the finishing flavour has both depth and interest, coupled to a twist of old-vine creaminess. A finer wine than many that carry a 1er Cru label!
Rebuy – Yes

a good dinner…

Yesterday evening we had the good fortune that some ‘wine friends’ were in town for dinner. Just to give an impression of the wines, we started with an apero of 1979 Thevenot Meursault-Goutte d’Or, I’ve had better bottles as there was a bit of persistent (but faint) musty oxidative note, but overal good sucrosite and tasty enough. With dinner we started with a 1999 Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet, this was in great shape – a quite powerful wine but balanced and tasty, even if the finish was not particularly long. The 2010 Ramonet, Chassagne 1er Les Ruchottes that came next was really a beauty; balanced, intense, complex and with a beautiful lingering flavour.

Our first red was a (decanted) 1990 Comte Armand, Pommard 1er Clos des Epeneaux – clearly it could have done with a little more time to settle as the sediment had been disturbed so delivered a cloudy wine – cloudy, but full of flavour in an iron/blood vernacular and with some grainy tannin still – probably accentuated by the sediment – good wine nonetheless. The next bottle was a beauty, the 1990 Rossignol-Trapet, Latricières-Chambertin was lighter in colour and clean and bright but it was the first sniff that hooked us – lovely. The palate was clean, detailed and very lovely indeed – as good an aged Latricières as I can remember – really super! Our last Burgundy was the 1969 Chanson, Grands-Echézeaux: the cork came out in one piece, but was really stinky – oxidised – just handling the cork made the smell cling to your fingers. I wiped out inside the neck of the bottle with some damp tissue and the wine below didn’t seem as bad, so I then left it in a cool place for a few hours before dinner. The first glasses poured had a great colour, deep and still showing a little red. The nose began with plenty of must, but kept changing in the glass – leather, spice, and sometimes, maybe even a suggestion of fruit! The savoury palate was nicely textured and complex with a saline length – in truth interesting rather than tasty, but far from objectionable. We finished with an excellent Italian whose name I forget! [Edit: Barbaresco Asili Red Label Riserva, Bruno Giacosa 2000!]

And a good read for today…

birthday bottles…

Not a dud amongst them – lovely…

1961 corton-andré clos de bèze

This wine had very little going for it. Corton-André – hardly a name to search out. A large ullage – the angels certainly helped themselves to a large glass. A corroded capsule, and then to add insult to injury, the cork with only the lightest of touches, falls into the bottle.

UPDATED: 1961 Corton-André, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
An impressively deep colour – amber at the rim, but certainly no brown – looks rather glossy in the glass too. The aromas are almost overpoweringly of saddle leather, perhaps polished wood and a faint undertow of mushroom. Those notes largely influence the flavours too, yet this wine has silk and weight plus a beautiful acidity. I can only be sure about this wine with extended aeration – so more tomorrow. Day two: Of-course the angels had drunk too much – the smell of rancio and leather still shouts ‘do not put in mouth’ on day two. Such a shame that (most probably) the cork let this wine down as the depth and shade of colour plus the concentration, balance and texture were first class – shame!
Rebuy – No Chance!

To rescue my empty glass, the following…

1996 Jean Grivot, Nuits St.Georges Les Lavières
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has the merest hint of maturing leaf, but is more about faint spice and red berries. Decent acidity and nice flavour – it’s not yet ‘too thin’ – though the tannin suggest wait another 3 to 5…
Rebuy – Yes

visiting pommard?

For those in the neighbourhood, Pommard is opening its doors on the 20th and 21st October. Amongst other activities there is an ‘open house’ for tastings at lots of domaines on Sunday 21st – see here.

offer of the day – henri boillot 2011s…

BOURGOGNE Chardonnay 75cl 20.00 (Swiss francs)
MEURSAULT 75cl 39.00

MEURSAULT Les Genevrières 75cl 79.00 (68.00)
MEURSAULT Les Perrières 75cl 79.00 (69.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Clos de La Mouchère 75cl 72.00 (68.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Caillerets 75cl 75.00 (69.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Pucelles 75cl 78.00 (72.00)

CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 75cl 99.50 (98.00)
CRIOTS BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 168.00 (159.00)
BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 249.00 (235.00)
CHEVALIER-MONTRACHET 75cl 359.00 (349.00)
MONTRACHET 75cl 448.00 (399.00)

VOLNAY 75cl 39.00
VOLNAY Les Caillerets 75cl 69.00 (66.00)
POMMARD Les Rugiens 75cl 69.00

CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 105.00 (98.00)
BONNES MARES 75cl 169.00 (159.00)
CHAMBERTIN 75cl 169.00 (159.00)

2011 was certainly a vintage with modest yields, though I expect the miserly yields of 2012 will put things in a starker focus. Above are the local offer prices for 2011 with the equivalent 2010 price in brackets afterwards – no bracket, then no price change. It seems that, Rugiens excepted, only the villages wines have escaped increases.

And while we’re on the subject of buying wine, here’s a worthwhile article. Though therein, in reference to premature oxidation, I note the following quote – I wonder how they ‘control’ that then!!!

Burgundians claim that these issues have all now been addressed. The Burgundy Wine Council now controls the amount of oxygen that enters during bottling and has issued directives about how oxygen-free bottling can best be done.
Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast Magazine [Archived]

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