Why Big Red Diary?

a few favourites…

Just a few of my favourite places/things from the last few days…

weekend wines – week 31 2018

A lunch with, as you can see, like-minded friends…

2011 Comtes Lafon, Meursault Clos de la Barre
It was very hard to place this wine when first poured – it had a certain sweetness – aromatically and in the flavour – but it kept getting better and better – such a great wine. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

2006 JC Bessin, Chablis 1er Fourchaume
My last of these was about 3 years ago – and it was singing. Slightly brown coloured. This was part oxidised. A second bottle I tried two days later was even worse – I have three or four more to dispose of…
Rebuy – No

1993 François Jobard, Meursault 1er Genevrières
Also a deep colour but more yellow-gold. What a great nose – so enveloping, so inviting. The nose had a certain freshness that made me think of St.Aubin, but I was clearly thinking of a younger wine. Just a beautiful thing – surprisingly round and ripe for the vintage as my earlier bottles of this had much more line – this was more like my magnum of the 1992 over (last) Christmas, but with less overt ripe lemon. I’m looking forward to my last few bottle of these!
Rebuy – Yes

1991 Robert Ampeau, Meursault 1er Perrières
Som colour and aromatic similarities to the Jobard – clearly a little older, more saline and of more direct line – beautifully textured. On the day I had a slight preference for the Jobard – but both were beautiful, proper, mature Meursaults with much more time on their sides!
Rebuy – Yes

1996 Leroy, Bourgogne Rouge
A fresh nose but what a lovely red-berry nose. Of line but also with depth of fresh flavour – this was drunk-up surprisingly quickly – a winner!
Rebuy – Yes

1999 Nicolas Potel, Volnay 1er En Chevret
There are only a couple of owners of vines here. This nose had so much more depth and amplitude versus the Leroy. Good as the Leroy was, this was better in every single direction – more concentration, more complexity more depth of texture – all fabulously balanced. Brilliant stuff and only just starting to drink – so happy that at least half a dozen await in storage…
Rebuy – Yes

2008 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Combe aux Moines
What a beautiful aromatic line – such purity – in the style of great wines from Bachelet – but it was Fourrier. Delicious in the mouth, carried by the fine 2008 acidity and Fourrier’s trademark sweetness. I don’t know why I didn’t think of 2008, but I loved the wine!
Rebuy – Yes

2003 René Engel, Echézeaux
Like a recent Clos de Lambrays 03, this showed such a balanced profile that some people were guessing 2002 or 2001 – the vintage is holding very well – the poor wines were obviously poor young, but the good ones are aging glacially. Simply a beautiful, balanced, ‘giving’ wine. Super stuff.
Rebuy – Yes

1996 Dominique Gallois, Charmes-Chambertin
Hmm, a hint of pyrazine on the nose – but at a level where it adds complexity, not a turn-off for me. The line and complexity and depth of the the flavour were just so compelling – great wine. I loved…
Rebuy – Yes

1990 F Esmonin, Griottes-Chambertin
We were being spoiled! Yet, this was the most disappointing nose of all the wines for me, a little tight and borderline unpleasant – yet – in the mouth this was fabulous – clearly ripe, but with a minerality and line that had me thinking Clos de la Roche – such a surprise to find that it was Griotte! Despite the nose – such a treat!
Rebuy – Yes

june’s burgundy report…

Some of the producers of Auxey-Duresses.

I might be on holiday, but the June Burgundy Report is now online for you here.

The synopsis? Something stirring in flatlands near Beaune. The 2017 Cave Prestige of the BIVB. Auxey-Duresses profiled plus multiple domaines profiled…

a pause…

A lack of Burgundy content for the next days – except the June report which will be a couple of days late – probably landing on the 2nd August. But for now the intermission includes the following:

sylvie esmonin’s 2005 gevrey-chambertin vv

Whilst nobody has the luxury of tasting, and comparing, everything, I felt confident when first tasting this wine (on release) that it was one of the greatest village wines of Gevrey in that already great vintage. In some of the vintages that followed, I felt that the crown of this cuvée had certainly slipped – but more recently Sylvie has been back to form. This wine still crushes it though!

2005 Sylvie Esmonin, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
Deep colour – only just transparent! What a nose! Deep, fabulously cushioned fruit and a faint smokiness from the stems – I would automatically say a young grand cru if offered this ‘blind.’ The palate, whilst still a belter is more on a 1er cru level! Wide, a little cushioned – beautifully proportioned – but without quite delivering the depth of flavour that the nose promises. That’s the fault of the nose over-delivering rather than any negatives associated with the flavour. Yet the long finish is once-more a beauty. This is still a wine that would give most grand crus from other vintages plenty of competition. Bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

tinkering with the hierarchy of the climats?

The best thing I’ve read for a long time – it’s definitely worth broaching the second paragraph and more! Thank-you Andrew Jefford. Also a big thumbs up from me for the book he mentions; ‘Climats et Lieu-Dits des Grands Vignobles de Bourgogne‘ – it is my most-used reference – the book resides on my writing table…

[Edit:] Whilst the following ‘headline‘ is nothing more than clickbait hyperbole, it is related to the article of Jefford, and does at the very least beg the question as what types of wines will be being produced in Burgundy in another 20 years, climate change as we currently experience it, is probably more problematic for the chardonnay than the pinot…

exhibition: le pinard des poilus

There’s a new exhibition coming up in the Clos de Vougeot, from Saturday 15 September 2018 until Sunday 31 March 2019 – Le Pinard des Poilus

Commemorating the end of the 1914-1918 world war. This exhibition brings together the Château plus UNESCO, author Christophe Lucand and the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.

The inauguration of the exhibition will be held on Wednesday 12 September from 6.30 pm in the former dormitory of the Monks of the Château. Here you will have a preview of the exhibition plus a discussion moderated by Christophe Lucand, a historian, and author of the book “Pinard des Poilus” – what a coincidence! The central theme is wine during wartime.

The preview is open to the public and is also free – but entry is only by pre-reservation due to a limited number of places – and note, the presentation is likely only in French.

If you wish to join this evening, you can confirm by phone +33 3 80 61 07 12 or by email here.

down south – a 2018 mâconnais update…

Yesterday I hit the Mâconnais to taste wines from the Artisan Vignerons of South Burgundy – wines that are as good as Mâcon can be. They will be in my July report at the end of August.

Northern Mâconnais got pretty badly hit by the hail this year, some vineyards (to use the local black humour) completely harvested. Most people have some hail damage, the very worst affected domaines have lost over 80% of their production. By contrast, the south of Mâconnais which includes the important areas of Saint Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé were overwhelmingly untouched.

In the south the vines and grapes look fabulous – despite a little mildew towards the bottom of the slopes – their one (joint north-south) issue is that the hot and dry weather – much drier than the Côte d’Or – is starting to block the onset of maturity. So whilst the south are planning on a harvest start of ~25 August, it could easily slip into September without the help of a little rain. The grapes are plentiful but small – see images below – rain will not just be needed to rejuvinate the progress towards maturity, it will also be needed to bring better balance to the grapes. The producers of the northern Mâconnais are already looking at September for harvesting, their vines being 7-10 days behind those in the south…

hail nets are finally allowed – almost…

David Rossignol of Rossignol-Trapet, in his Gevrey 1er Combottes vines in May this year…

In case you missed it – because I did!

On June 20, 2018 the use of anti-hail nets was allowed by the INAO for vines producing AOC / AOP wines – but the word only started to drip out into the press this week.

The decision concerns “vertical single-row” nets that are placed on both sides of the vines. Such an approach was not just (previously) prohibited for wines of appellation, it was also criticized for its visual aspect or ‘lack of authenticity’ – there’s no denying the latter – but to have some grapes is better than to have none!

Following multiple vintages of heavy hail, the Confederation of Appellations and Winemakers of Burgundy (CAVB) obtained authorization in 2015 from the INAO to make a three-year study of anti-hail nets on thirty hectares of vines, dotted around Burgundy. The study of the INAO concluded that a net has “only a very limited influence on the mesoclimate of the vine and does not artificially or substantially modify the fundamental characteristics of the natural environment concerned – this type of equipment is therefore compatible with production in AOC.” There is one caveat; “the presence of the nets must be limited in time, so as to limit the effect of shading.

The results of this study showed that such nets did not affect the maturity of the grapes, the stages of development of the vine or the quality of the wines“, said Christine Monamy, of the Technical Bureau of the BIVB, which has participated in the experiment with the chambers of agriculture of the region.

The study done in Burgundy is valid for all appellations in France – so whilst each appellation can now use nets, each of the appellations must first apply to use nets – very French! Apparently some modifications to the nets have been requested by the INAO so it will take a little more time before you see a wider deployment.

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