Why Big Red Diary?

top tipple…

Second bottle of this yesterday evening – just lovely…

clerget 1997 meursault chevalières

This wine was a great match to a steaming plate of curry! Although the colour looked quite light through the bottle-glass, it was concerningly deep in the glass – yet, in the end, the colour was an indicator of, well, nothing in particular. A very enjoyable bottle!

1997 Yvon Clerget, Meursault Chevalières
Quite a deep golden colour. The nose has a faint nutty sweetness, a little crystallised lemon too. Quite fresh and direct with a typical Chevalières minerality that also remains the dominant note in the finish. There’s almost a sorbet-like aspect to this wine – lemon, like the nose with good intensity too – and I have to say that I’m enjoying it very much.
Rebuy – Yes

2009 dufouleur frères nuits st.georges…

2009 Dufouleur Frères, Nuits St.Georges
Medium-plus colour. The nose is deep with a little roast dark cherry. In the mouth there is texture, concentration and a dark, tasty intensity – particularly in the mid-palate – this is rather good! The dark flavours hang around really well, just accented with a little tannic bitterness. That tannin has a little grain if you search long enough and I suppose some of the dark flavour elements may have barrels at their base, but this is wine that seems to talk about – wine. Good stuff!
Rebuy – Yes

a chambolle repast…

Sometimes things all come together – or perhaps, better said, all at once. I could have split this over three separate posts but why(…?)

I’ve just loved the working my way through the first edition of ‘wine magazine’ Repast. I usually have a long line of ‘worthy’ books to work my way through, but rarely do I just sit their chuckling-away, having to read out passages to all and sundry – but this is just such a publication. Written by Jeremy Holmes, an Australian wine importer, together with his wife and photographer Heidi. Just over 160 pages are filled for your entertainment, not just with words but images of mouth-watering dishes. Actually you could knock-off the whole thing in a couple of hours – but it will be worth it. I found the discussion and selection of restaurants to be the most interesting part – more addresses for a rainy day in Burgundy!

To be honest, it’s uplifting writing such as this that makes me even question why I bother – pertinent as my Summer issue remains largely in note-form at the moment!

An amuse bouche for you:

“We powered through some sightseeing and hit Mon Vieil Ami for our midday booking. I could wank on about how this restaurant is like an old friend. But I won’t, because an old friend wouldn’t leave us standing outside in the cold for 15 minutes after our agreed time of commencement of our luncheon. Nor would a good friend be a little slack in attention to water or cutlery requirements. But this is ‘lagged Jeremy’ being a picky prick. The service, when evident, was very warm and friendly.”

I read much of the above whilst sipping a Chambolle or two…

2005 Remoissenet, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Deep colour. The nose has depth, plenty of herbs and just a hint of green foliage – it’s not a classically floral and elegant Chambolle, but it is reasonably engaging. In the mouth this is both concentrated and offers a super acid-led intensity. The greeny herbal aromatics also have a role in the flavours, the tannins are there, but remain submerged. I doubt you’d pick this blind as a Chambolle – there’s a certain masculinity to it – but in terms of the concentration and intensity, a 2005 masculinity – it’s not about chunky structure, this is well-enough balanced. Interesting and, I suppose, showing not so bad versus many from the vintage – I’ll be interested to see where it ends up…
Rebuy – Yes

2009 Hudelot-Noellat, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
After the 2005 this seems wan, weedy and disappointing. The nose is certainly less challenging than the 05 – faintly sweet with creamy vanilla inflected red berries – but just a little confected, perhaps. The palate also seems more about make-up than a depth of Chambolle-ness – despite a decent intensity there seems little concentration to back it up – vacuous would just about define my first 10 minutes with this wine. Recalibrate (forget 2005s), wait 30 minutes and start again. Faintly powdery red fruit with a subtle, creamy undertow. Sweet, slowly insinuating flavour, with a little strawberry that’s borne on a lovely acidity. Long and but understated flavours. Pretty and easy to drink – still short of a little substance.
Rebuy – Maybe

A Vineyard in My Glass, Gerald Asher (2011)

Published by UCP.
Buy from Amazon.

I’ve had this book ‘waiting in-line’ for a while now, but what a lovely introduction to the writings of Gerald Asher it is. Although the book was published only last year, the vast majority of the short essays were originally published in the 1980s and ’90s when Asher was a ‘house writer’ for the magazine Gourmet. Largely the text is in the original form and then post-scripted by ‘x is now owned by y‘ updates, only the very last entry hails from recent times – a piece on ‘Rutherford’ which was originally published in the World of Fine Wine in 2010.

Enclosed within the book’s 260 pages are 27 essays, split into three subject areas: France, Other European Wine Regions and California. I found a languid, easy writing style, though occasionally trying to fit too much into a sentence – I’m far from immune to that! The content is easy to dip into as even the individual essays have easy stopping-off points, so this is the perfect book to leave lying around the house or have in a travel bag. Personally I took the most pleasure from the last section on California; a fascinating if, in Europe (at least), much overlooked region – I learned a lot.

I have only one criticism; the format of the book leaves little room for exploring what the author has learned or how his perceptions have changed in the (often) twenty years since he wrote the original pieces – I’m sure that would have been as fascinating as the original words themselves!

I’ll leave you with a couple of snippets to whet your appetite:

  • “There was a time when weekly shipments to the bars and cafés of Paris absorbed much of the production, but that demand seems to have disappeared along with the Art Nouveau décor to which a glass of Vouvray, it must be admitted, once added a shimmering dimension. Vouvray is a period wine with an intrinsic style that is not always in accord with present sensibilities. A white wine that needs a modicum of sweetness to be in balance and some age to show its quality meets resistance when the first duties of a modern white wine are to be dry and young”
    Vouvray, 1984
  • “In fact, Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignons remind me of Médoc wines in the once-upon-a-time before it became fashionable to edge Bordeaux closer to the engagingly forward fruit and blaze of flavour we normally expect of California Cabernets. If I’m saying that Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignons are not typical of California, that might be why I have felt particularly at ease with Pedroncelli’s Cabernet Sauvignon when I first arrived, my palate still attuned to the more restrained style of European wines.”
    Dry Creek Valley, 1990

want to get your hands dirty? :-)

derain @ st.aubin

Lovely profile by Bert of the St.Aubin grower, Dominique Derain….
And a very interesting discussion of ICONE therein!


thomas-moillard 1998 nuits 1er clos de thorey

1998 Thomas-Moillard, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de Thorey
Medium-plus colour. Deep, dark, macerated fruit aromas, perhaps a little roasted with some coffee but slightly alcoholic notes too. There’s plenty of background tannin, but given the Moillard extraction techniques coupled to the early presentation of the vintage tannins, this is much better than I hoped. The fruit is quite sweet and like the nose slightly roast. Overall this is not bad – indeed it was an easy, if not particularly transparent, drink.
Rebuy – Maybe

la gibryotte 2006 charmes-chambertin

A bit of a step-up from the villages – or it should be – but this wine’s still not that much more expensive than father Claude’s domaine villages wine.

2006 La Gibryotte, Charmes-Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a little more mineral than the villages and shows plenty of wood spice too but the core is a very lovely dark, macerating cherry. In the mouth there’s a lot grainy texture – and that’s from the wood. The intensity is fine with a very nice supporting acidity, eventually the fruit comes too. Overall I find it too woody – after 5 years should be better balanced than this – there is lovely acidity, lovely fruit but marring, jarring, oak texture and finally a bitterness from those wood tannins too. About 70% of this wine I love.
Rebuy – No

Proportionally the villages Gevrey is the real winner here – I’ll buy some more of that – but despite some lovely parts, this curate’s egg is (for me) spoiled by its woodiness. Will it get better? – maybe, but I’d rather invest in something that gives me confidence.

there’s a lot of it about

It’s not “Gevrey-Chambertchang”, but…

jean-marc bouley 2010 Beaune les reversées

2010 Jean-Marc Bouley, Beaune 1er Les Reversées
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts with a bit of reduction, slowly clearing to give a hint of toffee and sweet red cherry fruit. Wide, lovely fresh acidity and a slowly growing intensity of flavour in the mid-palate – long and lingering to, if more mineral in aspect – this is fine stuff. The short note reflects the amount of time it took to finish the bottle!
Rebuy – Yes

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