Why Big Red Diary?

baghera at it again

– with 1,363 bottles, 158 magnums and 3 jeroboams of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines up for auction in December. PDF here.

The pre-sale estimates look much more realistic, in the current market, than those by Sothebys for the recent record-breakers, and if you haven’t previously seen magnum format DRC ‘Assortments,’ here is your chance – and offered in multiple vintages too!

Certainly there were very many questions surrounding the lots in earlier auctions from this auction house, but the last sale, dedicated to Henri Jayer, was seemingly beyond reproach. Personally, I wouldn’t touch the older lots – that simply reflects my own risk-reward approach – but wines of the 1990s and younger I would be more open to, that said, additional provenance info would still be a pre-requisite. It is good that there are high-resolution photos of all the lots available on the auction website which you can access here – though it seems naive of them to make the serial numbers visible. I note the statement by Baghera that “this December 2nd sale is a golden opportunity to acquire Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines embracing ideal conditions of origin, of traceability and of storage” – so it would be essential to have some expansion of that information.

A spokesperson for Baghera told me:

“This couple of European collectors were wine passionates and had been purchasing Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines for many years, directly from the Domaine.
When consigning with us, they wished that they identity wasn’t disclosed and we respect their decision.

The wines had never been moved since purchased, and have lying all those years in an underground temperature-cellar. Most original wooden cases were still sealed (as per photographs on our website : www.bagherawines.auction) when we had access to this incredible cellar (pictures of the sealed cases can be found on our website : https://www.bagherawines.auction/en/catalogue/voir/27 — under the lot description). The wines were inspected and picked up by Baghera/wines last July and delivered to Geneva after temperature-controlled shipment as it should be. “

For the younger wines I completely understand, for the older ones, this is very murky territory; clearly the two collectors didn’t buy them direct and they will have been moved multiple times, if genuine. There are many more questions in respect of provenance to be answered here.

One thing to note, despite the bottle-posing elegance of Baghera’s photos – the enviable collection of many, many lots of DRC Montrachet when posed against a green background, above (from their catalogue), renders all the bottles – young and old – looking completely oxidised. Who knows, maybe there is method in their madness…

[Edit:] As always, it’s the old bottles that are problematic: See here.
In this particular segment of the market, there are many more fake than genuine wines to be found – to be taken seriously, this auction house has to be more forthcoming on why they stand behind these wines. It may be that just a handful of questionable wines can take the shine from an otherwise brilliant collection of a lifetime. This is the attention to detail that all modern auction houses have to aspire to – 95% good isn’t good enough – and, even if this attention to detail is there, it is not yet evident to me. For extra sleuthing, I’ll leave that to Don Cornwell and Maureen Downey. NB – two things; I do note the final thanks (page 433 of the catalogue!) to Jean-Charles Cuvelier, long of DRC, “for his precious help” – but the detail and extent of that help can only be guessed at. Finally The last page of the catalogue reports the sale date as 02.12.2008 – hmm – it’s always the biggest bloopers that pass people by…

icymi – week 43 2018…

From a week where the first clouds are appearing (literally, not metaphorically) in Burgundy since, for like, weeks! Above, Chassagne village yesterday afternoon…

young talents 2018

The big tasting was this week, and here for your interest is the list of nominees for the trophy in each category.

Some are well-known to readers of Burgundy Report, some naturally, are new. There will be a ‘taste-off’ with the trophy’s main judges – this year Olivier Poussier and Estelle Touzet (me last year ;-)) – and the trophies will be awarded at a dinner on Friday 16 November where anyone can attend – and even bring some of their own wine! Enjoy:

30ème Trophées Jeunes Talents
Les Nominés 2018:

Damien MARTIN – Domaine de LA DENANTE
Mâcon Verzé
Saint Véran « Les Maillettes »
Pouilly Fuissé

Viré Clessé « Climat Brechen »
Viré Clessé « Aux Quarts »

Charles Edouard DROUIN – Domaine Thierry DROUIN
Mâcon Vergisson « La Roche »
Pouilly Fuissé « Maréchaude »
Pouilly Fuissé « En Buland »

Virginie FOURNIER – Domaine de la PIROLETTE
Beaujolais Villages
Saint Amour
Saint Amour « le Carjot »

Didier LAGNEAU – Domaine LAGNEAU
Beaujolais Villages
Régnié Vieilles Vignes
Côte de Brouilly

Cyril CHIROUZE – Château des JACQUES
Bourgogne Clos de Loyse – chardonnay
Moulin à Vent
Moulin à Vent « Clos de Rochegrès »

Côte de Beaune
Alexandre PARIGOT – Domaine PARIGOT
Hautes Côtes de Beaune « Clos de la Perrière » – pinot noir
Beaune 1er cru « Les Grèves »
Pommard 1er cru « Les Charmots »

Aloxe Corton
Gevrey Chambertin
Ladoix 1er cru « Les Corvées »

Matthieu THEVENARD – Domaine Alex GAMBAL
Bourgogne – pinot noir
Saint Romain
Saint Aubin 1er cru « les Murgers des dents de chien »

Côte de Nuits
Alice et Louis HAMMANN RION – Domaine A&B RION
Bourgogne « La Croix Blanche » – pinot noir
Vosne Romanée Dame Juliette
Vosne Romanée 1er Cru « Les Chaumes »

François AMBROISE – AMBROISE frère & sœur
Bourgogne – pinot noir
Nuits Saint Georges
Nuits St Georges 1er cru « Les Vaucrains »

Pierre BART – Domaine BART
Bourgogne – pinot noir
Marsannay « les grandes vignes »
Marsannay « au champ Salomon »

Côte Chalonnaise
Arnaud et Xavier Desfontaine – Château de CHAMILLY
Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise- chardonnay
Montagny « les bassets »
Mercurey 1er cru « Les Puillets »

François Berthenet – Domaine Berthenet
Bourgogne – pinot noir
Montagny 1er Cru « Mont Cuchot »
Montagny 1er Cru « Les bonneveaux »

Rully « Les cailloux » – chardonnay
Rully « Les cailloux » – pinot noir
Rully 1er cru – chardonnay

Camille BESSON – Domaine BESSON
Petit Chablis
Chablis 1er cru « Vaillons »
Chablis 1er Cru « Montmains »

Petit Chablis
Chablis 1er cru « Vaillons »
Chablis 1er cru « Fourchaume »

Petit Chablis
Chablis 1er cru « Les Fourneaux »
Chablis 1er cru « Mont de Milieu »

Grand Auxerrois
Matthieu DANGIN – domaine Bruno DANGIN
Crémant cuvée Blanche
Crémant cuvée Rose – rosé
Crémant cuvée « Prestige de Narcès »

Sophie et Matthieu WOILLEZ – Domaine de la CROIX MONTJOIE
Bourgogne Vézelay « L’élégante »
Bourgogne Vézelay « L’impatiente »
Bourgogne Vézelay « La voluptueuse»

Bastien MATHIAS – domaine Alain MATHIAS
Bourgogne Tonnerre Côte de Grisey
Chablis 1er Cru « Côte de Juan »

sunday in the vines (:-))

Finishing with a long run through the vines, chasing the last of the sunlight. And who have thought that the medieval terror of tar and feathers would still be thing in modern-day France? 🙂

saturday in the vines…

There’s still a lovely light in the Côte d’Or, but the vine colours are less intense now as the vines begin to lose some of their leaves – the temperatures are not quite cracking the 20°C-mark now, but still we have none of the (normally!) ubiquitous fog of October…

for your (late) christmas stockings!

I’m thankful to Laurent Gotti for the alert about this:

After “Climats et lieux-dits des grands vignobles de Bourgogne“, Marie-Hélène Landrieu-Lussigny and Sylvain Pitiot’s reference work dedicated to the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits (Editions de Monza – Editions du Meurger 2012), the pair continue their exploration of the Burgundy terroirs by publishing “La Côte Chalonnaise – Atlas et Histoire des Noms de Climats et de Lieux” (also Editions de Monza – Editions du Meurger). I like to call this ‘The Third Côte‘ – the Côte de Dijon having been long-time lost to us…

Mercurey, Givry, Montagny, Rully, Bouzeron are covered by their associated maps and the names of their 561 Climats.

Now, cleverly, bi-lingual, so no need for two editions. I know that I will use it a little less than their first ‘atlas’ but it remains a ‘must have!

weekend wines – week 41 2018

Well, it was my birthday – so they tell me – I stopped counting a long time ago!

Just passing comments: The 2014 Jean-Claude Courtault, Chablis was fresh, phenolic, questionably ripe, but unquestionably energetic and enjoyed – then once the guests had all arrived I opened the champers! The Jacquesson Cuvée 741 is my style of wine – the nose could certainly have been more precise but the mid and finishing flavours had both nice energy and an engaging clarity – good! Then came three 2016 Pouilly-Fuissé, Roc de Boutires – samples – but why not let an audience appreciate them – details to follow. Then a brace of Chambolle-Charmes from Alex Gambal – the 2007 had a nose that was approaching if not fully volatile but as it began to blow off became engagingly floral. The palate was round but balanced and tasty – good. The 2008 was much nicer with more drive to both aromatic and flavour – it lingered well too – definitely a notch higher interest here. The 1998 Maume, Mazis-Chambertin will be written up in my forthcoming Burgundy Report (on 1998s) – but it was, just for the record, excellent. Lastly a half-bottle of something that looked like engine oil – a magnificent half-bottle of ’20 year-old’ Pedro-Ximenez, Fortnum & Mason – bought there in the summer – magnificent (encore!), great wine – totally unperturbed by either ripe Epoisses or desert. Fabulous stuff!

the end of ‘hearty burgundy’ et al?

cite: Image – Gallo® Family Vineyards

I wonder if this was once pillow talk for Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo? Anyway, I note the following from a couple of weeks ago – perhaps it portends the end of stolen geographical labels – though the French are equally naughty in other foodstuff markets!:

WASHINGTON – On september 26, the Wine Origins Alliance (WOA) praised the passage of a bipartisan congressional resolution, S. Res. 649, that recognizes the uniqueness and value of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).

The Senate resolution, introduced by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), acknowledges the distinctiveness of American wine regions and the contributions they provide to the U.S. and global economy.

The WOA is a unified global force in the winemaking industry dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of location to winemaking and protecting the integrity of wine region names worldwide. Its members include 24 winery and grape-growing organizations in nine countries spanning North America, Europe and Australia. Bourgogne and Chablis joined the WOA in 2012.

In March, the Alliance released a consumer survey that found 94 percent of American wine drinkers support laws that would protect consumers from misleading wine labels. The group also released a short film featuring winemakers explaining how the complete environment of a wine region’s location makes their wines unique.

bang! 1945 romanée-conti – half a million a bottle…

Lots 84 & 85 Romanee Conti 1945 – phote from Sotheby’s – cropped

And so it came to pass on Saturday, when two bottles of 1945 Romanée-Conti broke the auction record for any bottle of wine – they sold for US$558,000 and US$496,000 to Asian and American collectors, respectively – including buyer’s premiums. Robert Drouhin’s roughly 100 bottles achieved $7.3 Million – I last saw Robert a couple of weeks ago, impatiently driving his Range-Rover through Beaune, seemingly expecting all the runners in a charity 10km to stop for him in his car!

The pre-sale estimates were US$22,000-32,000 per DRC RC 1945 – I told you to expect at least $250k – so what did I know!? Those were short-lived records for Henri Jayer – but there’s nothing else in Burgundy that fetches such high prices; Leroy, Roumier, Rousseau and Coche – strictly second division vs Jayer and (old) DRC in the auction market…

Interestingly a bottle of whiskey went for 60% more – US$843,200 anyone?!

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