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The others tasted…

wine testing

No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that were drunk with food, friends and family, between April 2011 and August 2011.

REGIONAL WINES

2009 David Clark, Bourgogne Passetoutgrains
Medium colour. The nose has warm but not overtly ripe fruit, is slightly floral and seems far from a poster-child for gamay. Understated flavours slowly grow rather than deliver impact and interestingly this is completely smooth and supple – again hard to find the gamay! Good texture and pleasingly elegant.

2001 Méo-Camuzet, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Clos St.Philibert
What a great wine both this and the 2000 have been – this is my last bottle and all have performed well. Medium-plus golden, the nose has hints of butterscotch and the faintest whiff of oxidation – but in an interesting rather than overt way. The palate remains smooth though there’s a suggestion that the acidity is starting to take hold, but for now it just helps to push the finish a little longer and with a very understated mouth-watering edge. This wine is still giving plenty – for sure it’s completely mature, but whilst I think it might last another few years, if you have some, I’m pretty sure that the experience won’t improve. Well-done Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc!
2009 Maison Nicolas Potel, Bourgogne Chardonnay Vieilles-Vignes
Pale colour. Very little to say aromatically – tight as a drum. In the mouth flat, close to flabby – clearly low acidity. The flavours are non-descript and bland. Nobody wanted their glasses to be topped up.

VILLAGE WINES

2005 Vincent & Denis Berthaut, Fixin Les Cras
Medium-plus red, perhaps starting to lose some of the colour of youth. The nose is lovely; invitingly deep, dark fruit with a hint of mineral. Mouthfilling, with excellent acidity and still slightly sticky but smooth tannin. There’s plenty of flavour here and a mineral length too. Drinking very well right now – I’m tempted to try some of the other cuvées. Lovely.
2007 JC Boisset, Nuits St.Georges Aux Lavières
Medium medium-plus colour. The nose has a floral aspect that vies with a deep core of perfumed red fruit. Fresh enough and shows a little more fat than the Morey at it’s side. Just a little fine tannin and a long line of fruit and mineral flavour that runs through the core into the finish. The flavour expands nicely in the finish – a baby peacock. Very lovely and very tasty in a ripe but fresh-enough fruit style – quite rare this in 2007!
2009 Gilles Bouton, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Voillenots Dessous
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has depth plus a range of top-notes taht immediately have me thinking of Chassagne; dark red fruit of some clarity augmented with Chassagne herbs. In the mouth this starts short of a little sweetness and showing ahint of astringency. Aeration opens it up with a little more sweetness, less astringency and and interesting depth. Before aeration I might have guessed a bourgogne, given time this was an interesting village and not one you might expect comes from the easy-drinking 09 vintage. I really enjoy the last half of this bottle and must remember to open the next one an hour earlier!
2009 David Clark, Côte de Nuits Villages
Only a hint more than medium colour. I’ve come to expect a bit of stubborn background reduction in David Clark’s wines but there’s not even a hint of it here; a little toasted bread (more like a white). In the mouth this is forward, fresh and quite intense. The flavours have a bit of the floral about them, the red fruit being far from the 09 vernacular of overtly ripe and sweet. Just a hint of oak flavour in the finish too. This is a wine that drinks quite well now but I suspect it will be on another level in 6-12 months. Very accomplished.
2005 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Volnay
Dark colour. Concentrated red berry – so much so it’s like a sauce reduction. Clinical, clean lines – very linear but silken. Really good intensity and even an impression of flavour! Despite the note it tasted pretty good. Plenty more left for experimenting with the vintage over the next decade and a half!
2008 Henri Jouan, Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echézeaux Vieilles Vignes
Medium colour. First there’s a hint of musky vanilla going on; as the vanilla fades to the background there a more higher-toned, almost floral aroma; finally there is a beautifully precise red berry note – who needs to drink? Clean, with a slighly cushioned texture, fine acity that enables a long line into the finish. You’ve got to search hard to find the tannin. Fresh but not overly so, this is a perfectly fresh berry for plucking right now if you so feel. Lovely, lovely wine.
2008 Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée La Colombière
Medium colour. The nose for over two hours wears a background cloak of reduction yet the dark red fruit is easy to discern. Across the tongue it’s light and lithe with a fine layer of velvet tannin and an intensity that grows in the mid-palate. There is a little flavour of reduction too – even the last glass saved for day 2. I’m a little concerned by this reduction but frankly it did little to stop the wine being finished with great enjoyment.
2008 Comte Liger-Belair, Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château
Medium colour. The nose soars with a perfume that has roses and an impression of stems – I remember he said their were none – so I check again; “trust me!” he says. Oh well – it’s lovely anyway. Transparent, elegant, lithe and beautifully focused. I have an impression of the floral notes in the mouth too. There is no ‘oomph’ just understated intensity. Very lovely and hard to appreciate where all that new oak has gone!
2008 L et A Lignier, Chambolle-Musigny Les Bussières
Medium-plus colour. The nose (doubtless with a little auto-suggestion) does make me think of Chambolle, a slightly earthy, powerful Chambolle aromatic – but Chambolle all the same. Not a wine of complexity, but there is balance, intensity and forwardly frank flavours that are very tasty indeed. The structure is there but it is more than countered by the fruit extract and flavour right now. A tad simple, but drained to the last drop – lovely.
2008 L et A Lignier, Morey St.Denis Vieilles Vignes
Medium-plus colour. The nose is a lovely deep and slightly musky affair – above is a clean red-fruit note. Beautifully fresh and intense but with just enough cushioned padding to the palate to bring balance – you will have to do plenty of chewing to find the buried tannin. This is just so ebulient today that I wonder if it can ever show better(?) As the mid-palate narrows with age I expect this might become a little mouth-puckering, but today, yum!
2008 Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay Les Longerois
Medium-plus, purple-rimmed colour. The nose is a mix of very dark red, almost black cherry and beautiful aromas of violet flowers. In the mouth there are polished, intense dark fruit flavours supported by a lovely acidity. Tannin has a slight grain if you search for it but you need a concious effort to find it. Slowly lingering finish. A beautiful Villages wine.
2008 Paul Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes
Dark colour. Likewise the fruit aromas are dark, mineral and herby – classic Chassagne. In the mouth this has very good acidity but with a dark fruit component that is its equal. Intense, with a little grain to the tannin. This is fun wine but it has intensity and focus too – a good 2008.

2007 JC Boisset, Marsannay Blanc
Medium yellow. The nose has some very faint bread, a few higher tones and a denser core – perhaps more savoury than fruity. Density, again with a savoury flavour, there’s good acidity yet it seems to stand to the side rather than take command of the core – but there’s also a nice extra creamy flavour in the mid-palate. Quite full, indeed a little dense because the lack of authority from the acidity. Wait 90 minutes and the fruit comes more to the fore and takes on a better focus as the acidity integrates. Plenty of flavour here and eventually balance too – perhaps the screw-cap just needs a bit of aeration. A bit of a bargain.
2009 Olivier Père et Fils, Santenay Les Coteaux Sous La Roche (blanc)
Medium-pale. The nose is quite buscuity/toasty bread with an underlying sweetness. In the mouth there’s lovely acidity and sweetness though to start it seems there’s a bit of a hole in the middle – give it a few minutes and the intensity increases and it comes into a good place. Everybody wanted a top-up from this one!

1er CRU WINES

2008 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune 1er du Château
Sealed with the Diam 10. On first opening there is nothing on the nose save oak-spice, the palate has some density and suggestions of fruit but little else. As the wine aerates and warms there is a short period where the oak and fruit come close to aromatic balance, but afterwards the impression is rather diffuse. Likewise the flavours never offer the focus and intensity that I would hope for and indeed expect. It seems disappointing, yet I’m loathed to discount it – I didn’t like either the 2001 or 2006 at this stage/age yet they improved immeasurably with another 3+ years in bottle – but I don’t think oak was the issue with those wines. Still, to drink today I wouldn’t/couldn’t recommend it. Day 2 and the oak is, if anything, more dominant. I have a couple more to see if I’m (yet again) wrong about this wine.
2006 Gilles Bouton, Blagny 1er Sous le Puits
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts a little tight but shows a dark core of glossy fruit. Silky with a slowly building tannin – it remains subtle and has a bitter-chocolate edge. The dark fruit flavour grows in tandem and is really quite impressive in the mid-palate, it holds quite well too. Tight yet with clean lines and a decent depth of fruit. Very nice.
2007 Gilles Bouton, Blagny 1er Sous le Puits
Hmm, how very, very similar to the 2006. Not quite as tight, but a few redder fruit notes aside this could be the same wine. Medium, plus colour. Both dark fruits and red fruits on the nose – it’s quite deep but not wide. In the mouth the very same flavour perspective as the 2006; perhaps faintly less acidity but it’s marginal. Impressed.
2008 Gilles Bouton, Blagny 1er Sous le Puits
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is super, there’s the cuvée’s signature dark and slightly herby core, but above is a wonderful bloom of of high-toned violets an fresh black cherry. Seems rounder and more concentrated that the 09, just a litlle fat to the texture. A nice little extra dimension of fruit in the mid-palate. Lovely wine!
2009 Gilles Bouton, Blagny 1er Sous le Puits
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a lot of sweet and easy 2009 about it, but eventually the cuvée’s dark herby aroma is present in the background. Rounder, sweet but with a good background of tannin and acidity, much more interesting than the simple start of the nose some minerality towards the finish too. A wine that really gains character in the glass.
2001 de Courcel Pommard 1er Grand Clos des Épenots
Medium colour with a hint of salmon red at the rim. Rose petals, faint stems and an undertow of meat on the nose. Still a little tannin, which, if you look closely enough has an element of astringency. Really interesting fruit that’s powdery and red with just enough sweetness – this really perks up with food. Very good but not yet great…
2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Beaune 1er Montrevenots
Medium colour. The nose starts tight but over twenty minutes opens to show pungent raspberry and beautifully detailed redcurrants; swirl and an impression of licorice raises itself from the depths. There’s no getting away from a certain freshness that this wine delivers, but it’s not just acidity; it seems to be coupled with a sorbet-like impression of red fruits. Little obvious tannin but a mouth-watering finish. At it’s best over the summer before the ‘padding’ fades? Let’s see! After one hour the raspberry and (now) strawberry aromas are thing to behold!
2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Ile des Vergelesses
Medium, medium-plus colur. There’s a hint of musky vanilla to go with deep red, powdery fruit. Lithe, intense, good acidity too. The distinguishing factor of this wine is the impressive length of flavour, there may be a hint of coconut oak too but not enough to spoil the effect. The last drops offer fabulous archetypal 2008 pure fruits – yum!
2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Pommard 1er Epenots
Medium, medium plus colour. The nose starts dense and unyielding; I had to wait about 2 hours before enjoyment set in, that enjoyment in the form of joyous red cherry, accented with raisins and violet flowers – yum. Very understated tannin but smooth of texture and then a super growth of concentration and intensity in the mid-palate – yet just a hint lean. This is a very good wine, but I thought the bottle I tasted at the domaine better.
2008 Jean-Noel Gagnard Santenay 1er Clos de Tavannes
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a cool yet welcoming range of fruit aromas, perhaps topped with faint violets. Very good flavour that seems quite wide and, with it, a very good persistence. The balance here is just about perfect (for me), tannins only showing themselves if you chew. Lovely wine. As a direct comparison, and as drinkable as this wine is, it falls short of the intensity of the Montrevenots earlier in the week, by comparison seeming more dilute – that doesn’t mean that I like it any less – the aromas improve all the time and are quite a match for the Beaune.
2009 Benjamin Leroux, Volnay 1er Clos de la Cave des Ducs
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has some dark depth and the slightly musky, heavy perfume often to be found in 09s. Slowly the floral disentangles itself from the fruit – it’s lovely to follow. Likewise the palate is the archetypal full, round sweetness of the vintage – yet despite understated acidity it is completely balanced – I can certainly cope with its pleasure-seeking approach! The tannin is quite fine and very-much in the background – you’ll have to search it out. The flavour seems rather perfumed, slowly turning bitter in the finish and showing a hint of wood texture – both barrel derived though the texture (at least) will be gone in six months. Tasty as this is, I feel just a tweak more acidity might have given it the energy to reach another dimension – but I’m being really, really picky – it is lovely!
1998 Nicolas Potel, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Serpentières
The last bottle from a six-pack – and what a great buy they were. Musky red strawberry and a hint of raspberry – aromatically involving – just lovely. The palate has none of the astringency of some from the vintage, more a melted whole of soft texture and sweet-acid balance. Plenty of very fine silt in the bottom of this bottle, but the cloudiness of the last glass did nothing to spoil the flavours and aromas. A winner.
2007 Daniel Rion, Vosne-Romanée 1er Beaux-Monts
Medium colour. A nose to wallow in; faintly spicy with dark plummy fruit and flashes of clean red fruit. In the mouth there is now a nice balance, understated acidity and a good core of dark stony fruit. Slowly finishing, this is now a very tasty wine.
2007 Michele et Patrice Rion, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium young red colour. Very pretty red fruit still has some vanilla padding but it’s now on an altogether manageable level; surprisingly I find the fruit very focused and interesting (given the vintage). Sweet fruit leads you into a round palate – acidity comes rushing through the mid-palate into the finish. Truth be told there’s still a hint too much oak in the mid palate and finish – it’s of a sweet vanilla-coconut complexion. That said, there is a really excellent length of flavour. A wine that’s heading in the right direction. I think it might be a knock-out when it reaches it’s tenth birthday!
2007 des Varoilles, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos des Varoilles
Deep colour. The nose is forward, indeed assertive, it’s quite deep too but has a roast character to go with the darker fruit. On the positive side, the last drops in the glass are beguiling. In the mouth this is concentrated, reasonably intense too but doesn’t really come across as a ‘whole wine’. The acidity is a little spiky, in-fact a long way from seemless. Is it the storage or has there been a little mucking-about in the winemaking(?) I certainly have the impression that it may have been less than successfully acidified. Shame in either, or both cases.

2008 JC Boisset, St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
Medium, medium plus yellow. The nose has wafts of grapefruit and pineapple. Day one this is close to tart but with a fabulous acid intensity, the agrume fruit seems just borderline ripe – me? Day two this is classic 2008 with a slightly tropical edge to the fruit but just wonderful acid balance – it seems a little sweeter. I assume my palate wasn’t playing on day one because this is superb on day 2!
2009 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er La Chatenière
Medium, medium-pale lemon yellow. A very pretty, slightly waxy aroma with a equally pretty sweet yellow fruit with just the occasional sensation of sulfur. Across the tongue there is a mineral flavour and just enough acidity. There’s not the greatest of intensity and frankly I’d like a hint more acidity, but it’s quite well balanced and finishes very nicely. No fireworks, rather understated competence. This is the price of many a bourgogne so hard to complain. In the end this and one other bottle from the case were about the same – all the others were much finer.
2009 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents du Chien
Medium, lemon yellow. There is much depth to the nose and some toasted bread aspects too – this is a very good start. More depth and a little more tension after the Chatenière. I’d still like a little more zip, but this is a classier delivery. Nice wine, exceptionally priced.
2009 Gilles Bouton, St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
Medium, lemon yellow. This has a depth of aroma matched by fine high-tones – it’s rather pretty. Width, depth and roundness of texture are obvious, coupled to fine acidity. Currently this is, by far, the most impressive and intense of these St.Aubins – lovely wine – I will have to buy (even) more!
2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Clos Berthet
The aromas are generous and all-enveloping – quite lovely. There is roundness and an acid-borne intensity that is perfectly balanced. Mouth-watering flavours linger in a good finish. Generous yet mineral, this is drinking perfectly right now – now how to keep my hands off more?
2008 Jean-Noel Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Blanchot Dessus
Medium lemon yellow. The nose is clean and gives-up a line of bright, ripe yellow fruit; like the Caillerets accented with faint creamy vanilla – though perhaps with less to hold the attention and saying little to me of Chassagne. Slightly fat texture but with very good acidity bubbling below – it’s certainly richer than the Caillerets but not in a negative sense. I find this tighter than my recollection though there’s a concentrated block of good flavour and intensity in the mid-palate – the flavour lasts long too. Very nice wine indeed but, today at least, it can’t match that precocious Caillerets (of which I think I need more!).
2008 Jean-Noel Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets
Medium-pale lemon yellow. The nose is crystal clear and accented with faint creamy vanilla – very absorbing. Gorgeous balance with an intense core of mineral and fruit that lingers long in the finish. This wine is taking over the evening with a vituoso performance. Lovely
2008 Long-Depaquit, Chablis 1er Vaillons
Pungent, fresh and intense – without sight of the label you could be forgiven for being unsure if it were a Grand Cru or not. This wine was singing, so much so that (pouring for three people) it was almost gone in a flash. A little was left in the bottle which was left in the fridge – a full five days later, because of travelling, I returned to the remaining half glass. I expected to be throwing it down the sink; instead it went down my throat with enjoyment – not even a hint of development or oxidation – bravo! And that was without a seal of any kind in the neck.
2007 Mischief & Mayhem, Meursault 1er Charmes
Medium-pale lemon yellow. Likewise the nose has lemon and lime aromas above a core of spiced bread. Wide, mouthfilling then a real burst of interest in the mid-palate – an extra creamy dimension – all borne on lovely acidity. Very lovely and, if I might say, with a level of energy that’s quite un-Charmes like – probably why I bought this one!

GRAND CRU WINES

1985 François Gros, Richebourg
Bottle 79 of 320. The cork easily slides out in one piece – but what a disappointing looking thing – tiny compared to a villages cork from 08. Still, they say size isn’t everything! Medium colour – perfectly clear with just a hint of amber at the rim. Clean smelling, some dried leaves but no obvious fruit to start with, time adds some wet leaves and damp soil too. A narrow, soft and sweet entry but with good acidity and then suddenly there’s tannin in the mouth. Plenty of mid-palate flavour that seems to be molten essence of barrel and perhaps some minerality – much nicer than it sounds and is very complex and very long. The finishing flavours include in their complexity a hint of something volatile and also a hint of something oxidised. Far from seamless, but a wine that offers something new with every sniff and every taste. Lovely, but despite plenty of tannin, seems to be losing a little cohesion – if you have some of the the other 319 bottles I wouldn’t think that they will get better. On day two – despite overnighting in the fridge – too much oxidation for enjoyment.
2008 Pascal Marchand, Corton
Medium colour. The nose delivers spades of interest; high-toned dark, minerally fruit over a slightly diffuse but engaging core – I can’t help sniffing – a slightly musky and stemmy impression also adds value. In the mouth there’s enough fat to easily balance the lovely acidity, and the flavour slowly builds to a crescendo in the mid-palate – there is perhaps a hint of CO2 that turns up the volume of the fireworks, but fireworks there are, and it seems very well judged. The flavours are dark red, almost blue-skinned fruit and they last incredibly well – even for a Grand Cru – admittedly there’s some of that coconut thing going on again in the finish, but this delivers oodles of precocious loveliness. Super – drink it over the next 12 months to enjoy this performance or wait at least fifteen years for harmony and something of the real Corton.
1996 Pierre-Ponnelle, Bonnes-Mares
Medium plus core of relatively young looking colour. The aromas are deep, a little raisined plus soil and a low level forest-floor note. Full, slightly fat, silky-smooth texture – roll the wine around in your mouth and you will eventually feel some tannin which delivers a lick of bitter-chocolate flavour in the finish – a hint of astringency too. The acidity starts in a very understated way, but peaks in the mid-palate, decaying in tandem with the high-toned flavour. On the first day this wine is certainly flirting with me, but behind the smile is a strict upbringing – I don’t expect a virtuoso performance before it’s twenty-one – but it has potential! Day two and this is very composed and chic; a strong mineral note reminds that it comes from the soil – despite being dressed by Chanel – super.
2005 Comte Georges de Vogüé, Bonnes-Mares
Popped and poured. Medium-plus colour. The nose has a hint of Bordeaux about it with a slightly mineral, cigar-box aroma; but slowly it releases a blend of violet flowers and flashes of gorgeously sexy red and blackberry fruit. In the mouth this has a very understated layer of velvety tannin; otherwise it is immaculately smooth and polished, slightly linear and shows a wonderful mid-palate intensity. The flavour in the finish is dark and concentrated, reminding me again of that half mineral – half cigar-box impression. the flavour easily hangs on for over a minute. Day two the last half a glass is very tight – the natural order is restored.

2001 Fevre, Chablis Les Clos
Medium-plus lemon yellow. Pungent aromas of fruit and stones – I honestly can’t say that it’s offereing more than intermediate-age aromas – there’s no sense of maturity. Like the nose, pungent is not a bad word to describe the intensity and weight of punch taht the flavours deliver. Balanced, good acidity and great presence. I remember buying these for 35 Swiss Francs each – you can’t get a half-bottle for that now. Still every one has been enjoyed; super wine.
2005 Domaine Leflaive, Chevalier-Montrachet
Medium golden colour. The first notes on the nose were – ouch – of Jerez, I left the bottle for five or six hours. On returning there’s merely a suggestion of that oxidative note, more to the fore is dense core of aroma that smells of old oak and some suggestions of mature aromas. Full in the mouth, flavour growing in the mid-palate with cool acidity; the flavour is intense and very long, some creamy and toffee elements too – though it’s not particularly moreish. Day two it’s a little (not lots) better, still with a hint of oxidation. Day three there is none, perhaps the colour is also more yellow than gold. Now it has creamy depth with a hint of lanolin (normally I expect this on 15+ year-old wine). In the mouth it’s full and powerful a hint toffeed and still maybe not the greatest mid-palate flavour – but for the first time I’ve topped up my glass. So, this Chevalier is in an awful place right now. Accepted there were sherry aromas when opened, and even on day two. But no-one tasting this wine on day 3 would say it was premoxed, it has become cleaner every day; it was on the same level after 72 hours (open) as after 48 – just that rather frumpy presentation that many 05s show.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?