Why Big Red Diary?

a couple of weekend glass-fillers…

2007 Robert-Denogent, Mâcon-Solutré Clos Bertillonnes
My last magnum (I think!). The first of these half-dozen mags wasn’t that brilliant – maybe that was cork-related – the problem wasn’t oxidation, rather just not tasting great but all the rest have been excellent. An inspired auction buy about 4-5 years ago! This was crisp but weighty, ripe but fresh. It was devoured by 4 people – enough said!
Rebuy – Yes

1996 Bertagna, Vougeot 1er Clos de la Perrière
The first one of these I drank a few years back – it was sugary and not completely inspiring – could this be better now? This was a very modest nose – indeed tight – but something sweet and older was trying to get out – and it was certainly inviting. In the mouth, sweet, a little interesting flavour and actually very drinkable – but as a (sometimes!) great 1er cru, this remains a disappointment; rather lacking life, energy and even concentration. I have 1 more I think – but I’m not holding out much hope as this was less exciting than the last one…
Rebuy – No

2011 ramonet bourgogne pinot noir…

2011 Ramonet, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Both I and my girlfriend sniffed this as soon as it was poured – we both decreed that is was pyrazine free – she’s more sensitive to it that I – Excellent! – so we both began to drink. 20 minutes later, we both decided we were wrong, indeed it had become modestly smelly but more than modestly tasting of pyrazines. Initially, it was fresh, faintly minty red fruit – hardly medium weight. Fresh on the palate with a similar (almost) medium-weight concentration of transparent, sweet-enough flavour. Lots of people will be happy with this, but I found it hard to drink.
Rebuy – No

gros frère et soeur 98 grands-echézeaux

I knew exactly what I was looking for, end even more surprising I found it straight away – well, almost! Except, it wasn’t what I expected. I was sure that this was the 1995, but no. Hmm, maybe I do have a 1995, somewhere, but clearly I wasn’t going to find it in 5 minutes! Okay, I really prefer 20 years on a wine like this, but hey, I decided that I was already committed!

What I do have in mind is that the vines were not long replanted at this time(?) if that was really the case, I have to say that this was a brilliant performance, indeed a performance of bravado!

WP_20150424_0021998 Gros Frère et Soeur, Grands-Echézeaux
Deeply coloured – clearly not young, but it already looks a wine of weight in the glass. Very aromatic – quite some impact to the nose too, a little spice, a little leaf and dark-red, slightly roast fruit edged with graphite and spice – though to be fair, it could be oak-spice rather than Vosne-spice! Large-scaled in the mouth, architectural but with enough padding to make the wine more than just interesting. Quite some weight of flavour again and complex in the mid-palate too – where tannin still swirls, but does not jar. Really a wine of character, still with a little oak in the finish, but really it’s one of those ‘who cares!’ wines. Excellent!
Rebuy – Yes

joseph henriot r.i.p…

Henriot-7729LoResJoseph Henriot was certainly a giant of more than one (wine) stage, and Jancis offers a wider perspective of his works than any Burgundy specialist could:

I remember an anecdote from Philippe Prost who was wine-maker at the time of the Henriot acquisition of Bouchard Père et Fils, Philippe related that Joseph Henriot told everyone to put their wish-list on the table for dragging Bouchard back into the top quality level. Philippe’s list extended to xxx new barrels to be bought for the forthcoming vintage. Joseph looked him in the eye and asked – “But in a perfect world, what would you have asked for?”“300 more new barrels, in addition to the ones I’ve already asked for” replied Philippe. Joseph paused and then said – “Okay, well you’d better go order them then…”

The fine portrait (right) is courtesy Jon Wyand.

See also these:

march report online…

A few more Chalonnaise domaines, a return to the Artisans-Vignerons of the Mâconnais plus tastings of Chambolle-Musigny, Echézeaux and Nuits Blanc. Plus a few more things!


the news today…

french rainstorms & fear of frost in chablis…

my chainThe lovely weather of last week(+) is now taking something of a pause – today it’s largely kept to about 10°C.

Yesterday I managed to drive to Beaune avoiding all but a few drops of rain, despite storms roving across both France and Switzerland – indeed Chablis already had thunder and lightning on Saturday.

On the subject of Chablis, that was my location today (tasting a selection of 2013s from Saint Bris and Irancy) and it’s certainly rained plenty today, in fact it began during the night. The locals of Chablis have more than a little concern because there’s frost forecast for Tuesday night – they would much rather that it kept raining! It’s meant to become cold at night in the Côte d’Or too, but the forecasts, at least so-far, deem that it should stay safely above zero.

On the subject of thunder and lightning, a bottle of Chablis I’d ordered for a tasting had to be paid for in hard cash, as the seller claimed that Saturday’s lightning had put paid to his card payment terminal – and they still weren’t cured.


the scent is in the air…


Beaune’s wisteria (today, above) is just a couple of days behind the Mâconnais, where every small village hangs heavy with the scent of the those blooms.

The growers in Mâcon are quite happy with the year’s progress – so far – as the vines are just about perfectly ‘average’ in terms of their growth cycle versus ‘the average.’

But. It could be as cold as 2°C on Monday/Tuesday evening and plenty of rain is forecast too – that will hurt after a few days of 26°C+ – and I’m sure it won’t be great for Beaune’s wisteria population!

château de la crée – all change…


A great piece of news from Bruce Sanderson today – I can’t see Ken hooking up the plough though!

snakes and sheep in the mâconnais…

Not the only thing on the roads in the Mâconnais today, I saw a metre-long snake zip across the road, gleaming in the sun – they really are fast!

Another day of fine and warm weather – my second day in the Mâconnais, today visiting four solid producers – but cold and wet is forecast for Sunday-Monday; I’d best make the most of it now!

a warm day in the mâconnais

I saw 26°C registered today – maybe it was warmer – it was certainly picturesque! Lots of visits today and I learnt a lot!


My ‘home domaine’ has attacked the bottling this week – the soundtrack to the week will be incessant clinking of glass bottles. The chief is very happy about the conjunction of the calendar and the fine, calm weather. He’s also very happy with his wines 😉

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