Why Big Red Diary?

a perfect 100(th) tastevinage day…

A beautiful day in the Côtes today – 26°C – and the vines are just starting to change colour. Better make the most of it, tomorrow is rain. Oh, and it will rain on Sunday too!

Today was the 100th Tastevinage – I’m still mightily impressed by the tasting teams I’ve joined with – nothing sub-par gets through. Talking of sub-par – today I encountered my first p.oxed 2014 white, and to add insult to that injury, a couple of minutes later my first p.oxed 2015! We checked the second bottle of the later – it was the same. The new tasting glass is massively better than the old one – so it should be given the difference in size – though I heard that it was a little fragile – some breakages already this day…

We had 228 tasters (a good Burgundian number) for 480 wines, then lunch in the château. A big thumbs-up for the kitchen staff and servers; 250 for lunch, another 600 for dinner in the evening – then tomorrow they have a wedding party – chapeau!

2014 white burgundy – what to buy…

My 2014 White Burgundy Report – The October 2015 issue of Burgundy-Report

I promise all the producers – and readers too(!) – that my subscription reports are available to all, less than 2 years after subscribers get them. So here you go, the best vintage of whites that I ever tasted from barrel…

david clark’s 2012 côte de nuits villages vv

I felt fortunate at the time in managing to secure a mixed case from David from this, his last vintage – I think Berry Bros. bought-out just about his whole production! This is the first from that case, a mixed pack of 4 of these and 4 each of his Morey St.Denis and his Vosne-Romanée. There was one sacrifice that David had to make when selling his domaine to Yann Charlopin, it meant that the elevage for his 2012s needed to be a little shorter than for his other vintages…

2012 David Clark, Côte de Nuits Villages Vieilles-Vignes
Medium color. The nose of this 2012 CDN has pretty red fruits and even prettier floral notes. A sleek wine, rather than a big wine. It really has a floral perfume in the mouth too – with beautiful purity – though also lots of frank acidity. I like acidity and I like this wine very much, but I know plenty of people who would find this a little too much – though it’s not aggressive. The finish is still a little young – here the structure has to soften – hopefully that beautiful aroma and flavour won’t be sacrificed in the meantime. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

offer of the day – henri boillot 2016s…


The first offer on 2016s that I’ve seen – the comparison to the 2015 offer from the same merchant is in the brackets.

Whilst there was frost in 2016, and much was lost, it was highly variable with some white wine vineyards offering full yields. Here the increases are seemingly across the board – Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits – there is nothing here to suggest the variability of the frost and therefore the yields. The Bonnes-Mares is a case in point – Chambolle lost 80%, the next village, Morey had high yields…

At first sight, very disappointing…

BOURGOGNE Chardonnay 75cl Not offered (23.00) Swiss francs*
MEURSAULT 75cl 49.00 (45.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET 75cl 52.00 (49.00)

MEURSAULT Les Charmes 75cl 89.00 (78.00)
MEURSAULT Les Genevrières 75cl 108.00 (99.00)
MEURSAULT Les Perrières 75cl 108.00 (99.00)
Puligny Les Perrières 75 cl 99.00 (89.50)
Puligny Les Combettes 75 cl 108.00 (99.00)
Puligny Les Folatières 75 cl Not offered (99.00)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Clos de La Mouchère 75cl 99.00 (89.50)
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET Les Pucelles 75cl 108.00 (99.00)

CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 75cl 149.00 (145.00)
BÂTARD MONTRACHET 75cl 455.00 (419.00)

VOLNAY 75cl not offered (46.00)
Volnay Les Chevrets 75 cl 89.00 (78.00)
VOLNAY Les Caillerets 75cl 99.00 (89.50)
POMMARD Les Rugiens 75cl 99.00 (89.50)

CLOS DE VOUGEOT 75cl 149.50 (139.00)
BONNES-MARES 75cl 269.00 (248.00)
CHAMBERTIN 75cl 269.00

*Prices are ‘delivered’ but will incur another 8% Swiss purchase tax

only 56 years age difference…

I suppose that given the title, you might be forgiven for assuming that sub-title could be ‘A Las Vegas Wedding!’

Boringly, this is actually about wine, but certainly not about boring wines…

1959 Maison Roger Moreau, Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Saint Jacques”
I bought a few of these at an auction in Switzerland – maybe 10 years-or-so ago. What can we make of the label? There’s no mention of 1er crus, and only ‘Gevrey-Chambertin Appellation Contrôlée’ though on separate lines. So it could easily be a villages Gevrey with a (not allowed) cuvée/brand name of CSJ – or it could actually be a Clos Saint Jacques – I will never know…
The nose starts with a note that makes me think ‘corked’ but it gets cleaner and cleaner, despite a little bloody iron and balsamic. With air the nose also offers flashes of beautiful florals – not enough for my taste – but sometimes – you never know what you’re going to get. The palate has weight, concentration and plenty of sweetness. It’s tasty enough, if never quite as nice as the (more and more) excellent nose – yet it’s a wine that’s very easy to take another glass – and I do! First question: Is it a real 1959? The weight and bulky sweetness, plus the lack of overt acidity are consistent with other wines from that vintage. Is it Clos Saint Jacques – well that’s anybody’s guess, but it’s holding up in excellent fashion – certainly more than you would expect from a villages wine – real or adulterated!

2015 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Chardonnay
On 33% discount in my local co-op, so a logical choice at only 10.95 Swiss francs! DIAM sealed.
The first whiffs of aroma are classically, clichéd white burgundy; a toasty depth with a little side-plate of melted butter – time adding some weighty, ripe fruit – papya-style. Cold from the fridge this is both delicious and textured like silk. Some weight of modestly fat flavour but with fine balance – but only so long as keep it cool – not so much of a worry now we’re heading into the Autumn. Delicious wine for the price – really – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

weekend wines – week 38 2017

Another week/weekend of 1997 research for the forthcoming Burgundy Report – but I managed to slip in another bottle…

2011 Domaine Albert Joly, Puligny-Montrachet Les Tremblots
A little deeper colour than seems correct for such a (theoretically) youthful wine. Waxy lemon and a suggestion of caramel on the nose – but alive and attractive. Mouth-filling, fresh, mouth-watering too, plenty of density and but nothing hard or abrupt. Just a little caramel in the finish, like the nose. Tasty wine on which I wouldn’t take a chance by keeping longer – but it’s tasty enough today!
Rebuy – Maybe

cuvée magazine…

I bought this, because it’s about Chablis, and Chablis is my day-job! For €20 there’s virtually no advertising across Cuvée Magazine’s 120 pages of content, though the text is large and the pictures are page-filling. You could certainly buy a more in-depth book for that.

There is much about this magazine that reminds me of my dear and departed TONG. The concept seems very similar here; a premium-priced magazine with no advertising – or in Cuvée’s case, virtually no advertising. Where Cuvée differs, is that there seems just one writer/photographer behind this magazine – Épernay-based Stefanie Köhler. TONG had specialists/MWs for the writing though I was never sure about their images – but TONG’s was obviously a more expensive approach than the one taken by Stefanie’s Cuvée.

TONG lasted about 5-6 years in its hard-copy format before seemingly imploding / dying on the vine. I hope that Cuvée does a little better; some of the explanatory pieces are certainly bite-sized soundbites rather than offering much depth, but the domaine profiles – and there are 14 of them in this issue – are as good as you will find anywhere, as there is insight into the characters of the wine-makers themselves, not just their roots. I could complain that some of the tasting notes are too ‘adjectivey/flowery’ but others resonate.

I assume that, in the end, TONG failed because it couldn’t hold onto enough people willing to pay about €25 an issue – a premium price – with generalist content. Indeed, that was what finished me; I stopped subscribing after about 3 years as the content went further and further away from my zones of interest. I don’t know how long Cuvée/Stefanie can keep it up – Issue 1 was about Champagne, where Stefanie is based, and it seems that there is a ‘special’ in December about …Champagne – but it’s not issue number 3… I’m sure I will eventually understand what’s happening.

As a standalone issue, I would whole-heartily recommend this. And before people get on their high-horses about the price – it costs the same as a decent bottle of Chablis – which is 25% of the cost of a decent bottle of Burgundy these days! Just pay and enjoy…

marko de morey’s (hautes) côte de nuits harvest gallery – the last day

Monday the 18th was Marko’s last day harvesting this year – Saturday and Sunday were ‘off’ days due to a) the weather and b) waiting for the ripeness of the Hautes Côtes fruit – helpful for Marko as he was suffering from some man-flu. But Monday they attacked:

Thank-you Marko!

a little swiss cow action!

In Switzerland, like everywhere else, what goes up, must come down – but particularly in Switzerland, because that also includes the cows!

At the beginning of June the cows are walked up the hikers’ paths to the higher pastures of the Alps, and in September they are walked back down – before the weather changes. The journey’s are celebrated and the farmers and their family dress-up in their traditional costumes – but the cows are dressed-up too, with floral headresses and there are even cow ‘beauty contests’ – taken very seriously by the local folk.

It was a sunny day, so we took a trip out to the Freiburger-Alps and the nearby towns of Charmey and Gruyère for some cow action!

And then onto Gruyère – very pretty indeed!

marko de morey’s côte de nuits harvest gallery – days 8 + 9

Marko is back home and feeding me his remaining harvesting pics. Enjoy…

updated vintage chart – v.1.7

Updated to include, among other things, my early thoughts on the 2015s.

The ‘other things’ include:

  • A small increase in the average score for 2007 reds – a nod to their opening out
  • Increasing the number of ‘red flagged’ white vintages – i.e. ones to drink up to minimise your exposure to oxidised bottles.
  • Lastly a small reduction in score for the ‘best’ 2013 whites. I still enjoy them very much, but they are clearly not as good as the same from 2011, 2012 and 2014…

And that’s about it!

1996 hospices de beaune corton charlotte dumay

1996 Hospices de Beaune Corton Charlotte Dumay – Prosper Maufoux
Hmm, a miserly cork – about 45mm worth – I expect better from my half-bottles!
I had 4 bottles of this remaining from a whole case bought many years ago for a good price in Switzerland – but I’ve never seen anything even vaguely hinting at maturity, or overt drinkability come to think about it. Let’s see how it is, now that it’s more than 20 years old!

There’s a hint of smoke, and an almost vibrant quality of red, macerating, semi-mature fruit. Fresh and narrow starting in the mouth, but opening out very quickly. There’s the 1996 acidity, but it’s balanced. Broad waves of flavour that extend even wider as your mouth waters with just enough sweetness to make this a tasty thing. I’d say that, for the first time, this wine has transitioned from ‘impressive but too young’ to some semblance of enjoyable drinkability – very good!
Rebuy – Yes

Page 9 of 269« First...7891011...203040...Last »