Why Big Red Diary?

The others tasted…

wine testing

No slurping or spitting!

This is a compendium of wines that were mainly drunk with food, friends and family (a bunch from Pascal Marechand excepted), between May 2012 and September 2012…


2010 Jean-Marc Bouley, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune
Medium-plus colour. Not super-concentrated aromas but the delicate dark red berries are rather precise. The obvious first impression is the tightening of your cheeks due to the forward acidity, only afterwards do you get your reward of an intense, rather concentrated fruit, it’s like a summer-pudding – to which you might normally add a little cream or sugar! I’m certainly enjoying it, and returning to it (often!). It’s lovely, but I’d say drink it in it’s first three years to avoid it becoming harsh as the fruit fades, but it has a lovely fine and transparent fruit finish. Day 2 the last 1/3rd of the bottle seemed more balanced – certainly a super Bourgogne.
2003 Camille Giroud, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Some of these bottles are on the way down – not due to the wine itself, but due to a bottling machine that forced the corks into the neck, in the process causing the cork to crease slightly and leave a channel for air. Those bottles taste old and should be drunk-up forthwith. This is a different wine – a wine with deep colours and deep aromas – certainly quite ripe but also with flashes of redder fruit and hints of flowers. In the mouth this is smooth and round, some of the flavours recall dried cranberry and raisin fruit – other times you have a much fresher impression – certainly the wine is adequately balanced by its acidity. This is just a lovely drink, easily of a villages (or better) stature; I think I have one more bottle left from the original 12 – two recent bottles were duds – I hope that total doesn’t rise.
2009 Pascal Marchand, Bourgogne Pinot Noir ‘Avalon’
The nose seems rather mineral but with a clear waft of pinot perfume too. The flavours are wide, and, perhaps relatively light but everything is supported by an understated and supple tannin. The flavour slowly grows, filling all the nooks and crannies in your mouth. Very tasty wine!
2010 Pascal Marchand, Bourgogne Pinot Noir ‘Avalon’
Again quite elegantly proportioned, though there’s clearly an extra structural buffer. I just love the additional clarity and precision on display here – lovely wine.
2010 Ramonet, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
‘Nomacorked’. Medium, medium-plus colour. Quite high toned fruit but with a dark-skinned cherry impression. Whilst the 09 was a bit of a triumph chez Ramonet, this is a wine that is just a little mouth-puckering. Fresh it is though, and with a nice intensity too – I’d definitely want some food as a foil to this, though.

2009 Alex Gambal, Bourgogne Chardonnay
Nice enough, balanced enough, concentrated enough. It misses a single but rather important virtue – personality.


2009 JJ Confuron, Nuits St.Georges Les Fleurières
Medium-plus colour, some purple hues. The nose has quite some ripe depth, perhaps going lower with a hint of toastiness – it takes a while, but eventually it’s namesake makes an appearance, violet flowers… Cool and intense – that’s a great start. The tannin is slightly blocky but not really grainy. Mouth-watering flavour grows in the mid-palate before falling away. There’s a hint of 2009 on the nose but this is lithe, clean and not a bit sweet and fat like some from the vintage – it’s a bit of a ‘refresher’ of a wine. Enjoyed.
2009 Dufouleur Frères, Nuits St.Georges
Medium-plus colour. The nose is deep with a little roast dark cherry. In the mouth there is texture, concentration and a dark, tasty intensity – particularly in the mid-palate – this is rather good! The dark flavours hang around really well, just accented with a little tannic bitterness. That tannin has a little grain if you search long enough and I suppose some of the dark flavour elements may have barrels at their base, but this is wine that seems to talk about – wine. Good stuff!
1986 Louis Fournier, Morey St.Denis
Deep colour, certainly with some browning. On day one this sweet nose smelled of brown sugar and a little meat, day 2 there was more meat but nothing unpleasant – not bad! Like all the 86s I’ve tried, this seems to be a relatively low acid vintage – this is full round and sweet, and I have to say more interesting than many of the grand crus I’ve tasted from the vintage – they all seemed rather ‘vague’. There is just a faint bitter note towards the end of the mid-palate, probably some remnant of the decaying, dissolving tannins, but this was very drinkable stuff in a kind of hearty, plump way – but was certainly better on day one.
2006 La Gibryotte, Gevrey-Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus colour. The first sniff is lactic, but it hangs around only long enough for that one impression – afterwards there is fresh blue-black fruit and just a hint of pencil-lead-style minerality – aromatically it’s flexing lean but powerful muscles. Wide, fresh and with a baseline of slightly dry but very fine tannin. The intensity is just lovely for a villages – particularly due to the fresh way it’s delivered. Again it’s dark, almost bordering on blue fruit and it’s clearly sweet (ripe) fruit, but never for a second is it disappointingly so, as it’s delivered with such ‘fresh’ gusto. The finishing notes reflect that more mineral element of the nose. I think this excellent – I will have to buy a few more while I can.
1992 Jaffelin, Pommard
Medium, aged colour. The nose is different every time you sniff; forest floor, a little green, perfect red fruit then a little almond – I’m loving it. Good acidity, just a hint tart but with a sweetness behind that covers the cracks. Good intensity, high-toned fruit with a very faint creamy, perhaps coconut edge. A wine with rippling personality – I wish I had more!
2010 Pascal Marchand, Chambolle-Musigny
A lovely nose with a waxy impression and aromatic depth – very fine and pretty. The flavours are mineral and elegant – structure like fine bone china. There’s a little coconut oak in the finish – I’d be looking for that to fade, but this is a little beauty.
2010 Pascal Marchand, Morey St.Denis En la Rue de Vergy
The nose offers up a depth of creamed red fruit, darker than the Chambolle but also rather refined. The acidity is a little more obvious but it’s cemented to good intensity, smooth tannin and a mineral length. Love it!
2008 Bertrand Machard de Gramont, Nuits St.Georges Les Terrasses de Vallerots
Medium colour. Very pretty, transparent, crunchy red fruit aromas with just a suggestion of spice – very pretty indeed – almost a strong impression of biting into a nectarine! Plenty of acidity but with a balancing sweetness. This is an achingly pretty wine that I’d never guess Nuits blind. Super!

2009 Maison Champy, Chassagne-Montrachet
Medium lemon-yellow. The nose starts with a faint soap-powder note that has me thinking more of 2010 than 2009, but there’s a warm core of ripe, green-skinned fruit too. There’s a little richness but the acidity has a good-enough balance to bring. Just also a hint of the savoury in the sweet mid-palate – very decent concentration here. Overall, this a very tasty wine which I’d happily buy again, but just missing a hint of pizzaz that might have me actively searching for it.
2011 Chenu, Savigny-lès-Beaune (Blanc)
Medium-pale lemon-yellow. After the last of the previous day’s Chassagne, this has a more floral aromatic with an occasional savoury reference. In the mouth it’s a little sweeter than the Chassagne and has just a little more balancing acidity too – if not the overall density of that wine. The floral component of the nose is equally on display in the flavour profile. Flighty, interesting, flavoursome and with a good balance to boot. I can also imagine this wine selling-out double-quick!
1997 Yvon Clerget, Meursault Chevalières
Quite a deep golden colour. The nose has a faint nutty sweetness, a little crystallised lemon too. Quite fresh and direct with a typical Chevalières minerality that also remains the dominant note in the finish. There’s almost a sorbet-like aspect to this wine – lemon, like the nose with good intensity too – and I have to say that I’m enjoying it very much.
2010 Pascal Marchand, Meursault
Just 2 weeks in bottle. Wide, pungent aromas. The texture is padded but very well balanced and supports plenty of mid-palate flavour that follows through perfectly into the finish too. Excellent villages and less overtly oak flavoured than the reds.


2010 JC Boisset, Aloxe-Corton 1er Les Valozières
Only medium young colour. The nose surprises you after the modest colour – actually, it doesn’t so much surprise you as punch you in the face! Pungent, rather tarty, over-perfumed cherry fruit, and even the impression of a little alcoholic ‘burn’. In the mouth there’s quite a contrast: it’s rather composed, stylish and finely textured – there’s even a hint of minerality dovetailing with just-about perfect acidity, acidity that provides a lift to the high-toned fruit flavour of the mid-palate. The finish rolls modestly off the tongue but begs another sip. This wine is just a box of surprises! Given enough time, the nose is more composed and ‘traditional’. Hmm – only 5 more to go…
2010 Jean-Marc Bouley, Beaune 1er Les Reversées
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts with a bit of reduction, slowly clearing to give a hint of toffee and sweet red cherry fruit. Wide, lovely fresh acidity and a slowly growing intensity of flavour in the mid-palate – long and lingering to, if more mineral in aspect – this is fine stuff. The short note reflects the amount of time it took to finish the bottle!
2009 Chandon de Briailles, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Les Vergelesses
Medium-plus colour. The nose just bursts with sweet raspberry concentrate – hard to see much more. In the mouth the ripe fruit is tamed a little by good acidity and an understated velvet undertow of ripe tannin – lovely fruit conserve flavour in the mid-palate with a darker, almost licorice, twist as it runs into the textured finish – I would say that this is a rather concentrated wine. Day two and there’s a little of the stems on the nose, aromatically it’s a little less interesting but the palate seems rather stable and easily holds my interest – perhaps with a slight elevation of the tannins too.
2009 Chandon de Briailles, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Ile des Vergelesses
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose gives a simply wonderful impression – a large bowl of dark-skinned, perfectly ripe cherries. In the mouth there is real concentration, understated tannin which may be suave but is also powerful. The acidity is enough, if undemonstrative, yet effortlessly delivers the mid-palate’s depth of flavour. Understated yet impressive length – rather like the wine itself…
2009 Chandon de Briailles, Volnay 1er Caillerets
On first opening, this is a lithe, tight, linear and slightly glossy thing – supermodel proportions – though in a ‘look but don’t touch’ vernacular (typical for the genre!). Time in a decanter will help you get to know this supermodel; the sulking, pouting approach to communication is replaced by confidence and complexity – it’s simply super. Finally we have just a stunning array of precise berries on the nose, the occasional suggestion of a flower-petal and even some dried currants as bass notes. For a 2009 this is rather linear with a crystalline minerality – whatever else I’m drinking, I’m drawn back to this wine. Pop-and-pour and you will never the meet the personality behind the wine, but a little preparation will give you the chance to curl up with a supermodel!
1999 Château de Chorey (Germain), Beaune 1er Les Cras VV
I so wanted to say nice things about this wine, but in the end it disappoints – today at-least. The medium-plus glossy colour invites you: The nose starts spicy and a bit oaky. In the mouth this is lithe, muscled but supported still by barrel staves – it’s so clear in the texture. I wait for aeration – surely that will bring some balance(?) The nose with air develops a reasonably strong pyrazine note (3/10) to add to the dark red fruit and (probably oak) spice. This is clearly a concentrated wine, and one with a lovely acidity, but there is an astringency both to the tannin (oak tannin?) and the overall structure – a little bitterness in the finish too, and it’s far from moreish. I know it’s still something of a baby, but even with a pristine bottle, such as this, I’m not particularly unhappy that there are no more in the cellar, but I’m sad for Benoit too…
2010 Louis Chenu Père et Filles, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Aux Clous
Barely medium colour. The nose is lovely: lot’s and lots of red berries, shaded to raspberry, but with an undertow of something faintly earthy and mneral. Surprising intensity here (after the colour – such is Burgundy!) – there is so much flavour here, strawberry/ raspberry fruit (again) underpinned with that earthy mineral note that shows on the nose. Just a first class balance here: faintly padded texture and lots of flavour. At twice the price, this would be something of a bargain!
2010 Ponsot/Chézeaux, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has higher tones than the Feusselottes, more complex but also clearly more ephemeral – rather graceful, particularly as rounds out in the glass. This is more intense and direct – though delivered with less heft and more energy than the last wine. The tannic structure is less evident – again a good showcase for the vintage. Day two and this is just a perfectly ‘together’ wine – very, very impressive.
2008 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Ile des Vergelesses
Medium, medium-plus colour. There’s a hint of musk with dark red fruit – not so much vanilla as last time. Finely muscled and intense, borne on the lovely (when balanced) acidity of the vintage. The mid-palate fruit also showcases that musky character – but in a very, very nice way. Super finishing flavours – this remains a hit and is still very, very drinkable.
2003 Dominique Gallois, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Combe aux Moines
Quite a young colur – seemingly holding onto just a hint of purple. The nose – oops – sweet, medium toast oak is the dominant note, and on a wine that’s approaching its first decade too. The flavour is of oak and a faint impression of reduction too. Day 1 I didn’t think much of it – albeit sweet and easy to drink – indeed it reminds me exactly of why I didn’t enjoy some of the Pousse d’Or wines. It’s quite a feat to dominate Gevrey in a similar way to Chambolle and Volnay! Day two and this is a different proposition; there’s ripe red fruit on the nose and little obvious oak. The palate is plush and textured – all that oak flavour is but a memory so it must be quite a volatile element. This wine is starting to talk of Burgundy now, albeit 2003 Burgundy, so you’d hardly guess it was from Gevrey – but at least today there’s clear interest on my part.
1981 Hospices de Nuits, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Corvées Pagets
Cuvée Saint Laurent. The wine is clear and bright – a good start. The nose is also rather good, there’s a little (not too much) mature leaf and a fainter undertow of ripe fruit – the last drops in the glass are that lovely acid red-cherry. Fine balancing acidity and still some tannin – the flavour is a little subdued before a nice and rather tasty lift in the mid-palate. Decent finishing. I wonder if that rather anonymous opening flavour is down to filtration? Whatever, it is clean and very, very drinkable – a good result – this bottle at least
2009 Alain Hudelot-Noellat, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmess
After the 2005 this seems wan, weedy and disappointing. The nose is certainly less challenging than the 05 – faintly sweet with creamy vanilla inflected red berries – but just a little confected, perhaps. The palate also seems more about make-up than a depth of Chambolle-ness – despite a decent intensity there seems little concentration to back it up – vacuous would just about define my first 10 minutes with this wine. Recalibrate (forget 2005s), wait 30 minutes and start again. Faintly powdery red fruit with a subtle, creamy undertow. Sweet, slowly insinuating flavour, with a little strawberry that’s borne on a lovely acidity. Long and but understated flavours. Pretty and easy to drink – still short of a little substance.
2006 Alain Hudelot-Noellat, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Murgers
Medium-plus colour. The nose is deep and dark-shaded with almost black cherry notes to the fore – let the glass drain and there are beguiling red fruit notes too. Despite being at an ‘awkward’ age, there is still some padding to the texture, and the high-toned dark fruit has a real underpinning of tannin and acidity – currently they have a fine balance, despite the tannin’s texture being just-about the wrong side of velvet – but it’s a lovely package, really lovely. Surprisingly open and giving right now; more masculine than feminine but with character and flavour – in spades. Just a very lovely bottle. I may have to revisit the price, perhaps it is worth adding a few more to the cellar.
1999 Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er Les Grèves
The colour shows more age than yesterday’s Germain, it’s not as dark either. Likewise, the nose already has some development – mature leaf mixes with rather unripe and slightly ungainly green notes – but it’s not pyrazine – there’s a deep, slightly baked base of fruit but initially the herbs are dominant. In the mouth there’s a sweet core of fruit but as the wine expands – and expand it does – the leading edge of the acidity is harsh and leaves an aftertaste of sweet fruit buffered by slightly unripe tannin, Actually, another ten years and this unripe element will fade a little, but the baseline is, drinkable as it is, and as good a vintage as this is, that this is far from a Grèves to put on your shopping list…
1996 Lafarge, Beaune 1er Les Grèves
This starts with a nice semi-mature nose – not much leaf but a spicy depth – about 20 minutes is needed to deliver a seriously impressive kernel of pure red fruit. In the mouth this starts a little spiky – or maybe it’s my palate – but after 10 minutes the acidity has a good balance and the overall demeanour is much, much smoother and shows a textured depth of flavour. Good vintage acidity, of-course, gives an extra mouth-watering push in the finish. Very nice wine…
2007 Comtes Lafon, Monthélie 1er Les Duresses
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose starts a little burly but settles down, softening with time in the glass: fine red fruit and a Volnay-esque perfume – very nice indeed! Lithe, lovely acidity, slowly growing, fresh mid-palate flavours – you will hardly note any tannin – this is really on a much higher level than I had assumed. Lovely wine – for me this is always the ‘value’ (red) cuvée chez Lafon.
2008 Comtes Lafon, Monthélie 1er Les Duresses
There’s a bit of texture from some dissolved CO2 – I make a quick impression of a racing driver, there’s a ‘phut’ from the end of the bottle (as I remove my finger), and we can carry on. Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a little of that stewed 2008 cabbage impression but’s completely dispersed by a quick swirl – revealed is a dark cherry fruit surrounded with a biscuity note. In the mouth this just lovely – nicely intense dark fruit with a beautiful acid lift in the mid-palate, only just ripe – picked à point! With the lift of acidity, there’s also a flash of frank red fruit. Decent texture with a little furry tannin, finishing with a lovely fresh flavour. Finished rather quickly, it has to be said…
2010 Pascal Marchand, Volnay 1er
I love the high-toned fruit aromas, but there are also some quite obvious barrel notes padding out the ‘whole’ – they need to fade a bit. There is more tannin than any of the previous wines, but the flavour is also much longer. Currently it’s a shade less elegant than the previous wines, but it has more of everything and has only just been assembled in tank so that might be playing a role.
2010 Louis Max, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos Prieur
Medium, medium-plus colour. Textured dark fruit and higher toned notes. Starts lithe and a little lean – lovely acidity. Then an unexpected extra dimension of flavour, and then another – the flavour really widening and delivering an impressive length. All the action is at the ‘back-end’ here. 20 minutes in the glass and there seems a little more richness and silk to the texture, the high-tones have also coalesced to bring a floral note. A lovely clean and tasty wine, no question…
1983 Jacques Prieur, Meursault Clos de Mazeray
The colour is certainly aged, but mercifully the aroma seems to have little to do with the cork. The aromas start a little murky, then there’s home-made lemonade(!), slowly but surely a decent red berry note comes into focus, underpinned by a leafy note that seemingly adds texture – this just gets better and better. Lithe, slightly lean in stature as the acidity has an element that isn’t completely ripe, but overall – no great problem. There’s decent enough concentration and an (overall) interesting glass of wine – the fruit seems to have just enough sweetness to make me want to go back again, and again…
2010 Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos de la Boudriotte
Deep, slightly roast red fruit with low-level but pungent Chassagne herb impression. In the mouth this has concentration and a slowly increasing intensity that follows the wouth-watering acidity. The flavour has a very pretty and super-clear fruit tone – but has just a hint of tartness too, despite a reasonably sweet background.
2007 Remoissenet, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Deep colour. The nose has depth, plenty of herbs and just a hint of green foliage – it’s not a classically floral and elegant Chambolle, but it is reasonably engaging. In the mouth this is both concentrated and offers a super acid-led intensity. The greeny herbal aromatics also have a role in the flavours, the tannins are there, but remain submerged. I doubt you’d pick this blind as a Chambolle – there’s a certain masculinity to it – but in terms of the concentration and intensity, a 2005 masculinity – it’s not about chunky structure, this is well-enough balanced. Interesting and, I suppose, showing not so bad versus many from the vintage – I’ll be interested to see where it ends up…
2007 Remoissenet, Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
Just a little more than medium colour. The nose starts rather chunky and lumpen – the flavours are quite a contrast – decent weight, just hint of padding and a nice level of acidity – I like the freshness and overall shape, though the fruit is more roast than primary. Slowly (it takes over 1 hour) the aromas start to straighten up, the perfume is pungent but certainly it’s still perfume. The flavour has good length and sucrosité – it’s tasty wine, and in the context of 07s it’s a good result. I love this vineyard and liked this wine, but my extra cash would almost certainly be spent on different vintages.
1998 Thomas-Moillard, Nuits St.Georges 1er Clos de Thorey
Medium-plus colour. Deep, dark, macerated fruit aromas, perhaps a little roasted with some coffee but slightly alcoholic notes too. There’s plenty of background tannin, but given the Moillard extraction techniques coupled to the early presentation of the vintage tannins, this is much better than I hoped. The fruit is quite sweet and like the nose slightly roast. Overall this is not bad – indeed it was an easy, if not particularly transparent, drink.
2008 Tollot-Beaut, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Lavières
Deep, dark, squeeky-clean fruit with just a little vanilla to add weight. There is still plenty of comfy texture, dovetailed to fine acid-borne intensity – the last note remains a hint of vanilla-infused rock – the tannin is still completely submerged in its fine-ness. I think it’s lost just a little fat in the last year, but it remains very drinkable – very!
1993 Georges Vasseur, Morey St.Denis 1er Les Monts Luisants
Relatively deep colour. The nose has herbs, dark fruit and a very faint espresso. Supple, lithe and with a lovely intensity that grows in the mid-palate and becomes more and more mouth-watering. The herby, slightly spicy fruit has a masculine demeanour but fine acidity means it is delivered without overt weight, yet there remains premier cru weight and intensity. This is lovely stuff for a ‘no-name’ négoce label, I’d jump at the chance to buy more. This bottle was drinking beautifully in a, still, sub-mature way…
1991 Vaudoisey-Creusefond, Pommard 1er Epenots
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a little classic ‘leaf’ and fainter, higher-toned, herbs. As the glass drains a classy red fruit note comes to the fore. There is sweetness and a little plumpness to the texture too. Hardly any tannin of note but the mid-palate, despite it’s intensity, delivers a rather harsh flavour. Long finishing, it’s true, but for at least 90 minutes this was a wine only to sniff. The harshness slowly fades, but never completely. Still, this is quite robust and will easily stand up to another 10 years wait before I broach my last bottle.
1992 Vaudoisey-Creusefond, Pommard 1er Epenots
Medium, medium-plus colour. Here the nose leaves an impression of sugar dusted leaves over a dense core of plum, occasional accents of mocha too – a couple of hours also betray a brown-sugar note. Decent freshness and fruit that has a nice sweet-sour balance to it. Unlike the ’91, if you roll this wine around your mouth you will find some tannin, and, heading into the finish, it still has a faint edge of astringency – but without too much bitterness or, significantly, the brusque nature of the ’91. Decent enough expansion of flavour in the mid-palate, and a slowly lingering, not particularly modest length. A wine that you can easily drink and savour, if not a resounding Epenots.
1993 Vaudoisey-Creusefond, Pommard 1er Epenots
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has an extra dimension of dark-fruited depth, again a little brown sugar but this time with almost no leaf. Cool, intense, rather smooth and an understated tannin that only presents itself if you swirl the wine around your mouth. There is some of the flavour profile of the previous two wines, and like them, the outer-edge of the flavour has a slight bitter element, but this wine delivers far more in terms of ‘presence’. So there is more depth to this wine – a vintage aspect – but the key difference is that this wine has held onto its youth.
2009 Henri de Villamont, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes
Medium-plus colour. The nose starts deep and ripe – there’s an emphasis on licorice, some dried herbs too but there’s also a ripe, dark-red fruit. Understated entry, but there is a welling of intensity that’s coupled to an understated grab from the tannin – decent but not excessive extraction which certainly seems to deliver an interesting extra dimension of textured flavour as you head into the finish. Just a hint of violet perfume in the mid-palate flavours and good length. This reflects its vintage and I would say good winemaking too. Day two and there’s a slightly offputting cola aroma – so drink it all up on day 1!

1978 Pierre Boillot, Meursault 1er Les Charmes
Medium-plus golden colour. The nose betrays no overt oxidation, rather it is the classic nose of an older wine but with extra bolstering from a strong herbal note too. That herbal note is also part of the flavour profile; this is a little fat but with a lovely acidity that cleaves through the centre of the wine and emphasises its intensity. To be honest, this isn’t that complex a wine despite its mature profile. Tasty, and it holds the attention too – but based on the first two bottles, I think the 1976 significantly the better wine. I wonder if subsequent comparisons will agree…
2009 Hospices de Beaune, Meursault 1er Les Charmes
Cuvée Albert Grivault. Pale golden. A nose of depth, plenty of patisserie too. Slides across the tongue in a silky fashion with very understated acidity, but far from MIA. There is some extract in the mid-palate but it is a ‘slow grower’ rather than a wine of fireworks – seemingly the apogee of flavour is in the finish as the wine continues to widen. As noted, no fireworks, rather a wine for contemplation – and I did contemplate all of it!
2010 Louis Jadot (Gagey), Beaune 1er Bressandes Blanc
Medium-pale, lemon-yellow. The nose is full and round, padded with spicy bread and soft, sweet oak notes – eventually a little citrus fruit joins the party – it’s a pastry delight. In the mouth this is oh-so direct; mineral and with very good acidity – you might, with hindsight, say the nose is redolent of Beaune – but never the flavour! Time in the decanter reduced the aromatic impact of the oak, but only a little. The palate also padding out very slightly – a little velvet on the handcuffs… Seriously great wine, which I suspect will be even better in 6-12 months.
2010 Louis Jadot (Gagey), Beaune 1er Les Grèves Clos Blanc
Medium lemon-yellow. The nose has a faint creamy undertow from the oak, but largely this wine is about a tight core of fruit. In the mouth this has silky texture and good intensity too – there’s just a little oaky angularity too, but this fades within about 25 minutes. The flavour is quite citrussy and has fine balance, just a hint of minerality in the finish. This wine needs a little longer to round out than the Bressandes, and to be honest, I prefer that wine – but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a honey! Lovely wine.
1991 H et P Jacqueson, Rully 1er Grésigny
Medium, medium-plus golden-yellow. The nose shows some toasted bread and a faintly caramelised lemon. In the mouth there is an impressive intensity of flavour – starting narrow but forging wider and wider. The acidity is rather understated – like an average 2006 – but it comes more to the fore in the mid-palate, emphasising the cooked lemon of the nose and further padding it out with butterscotch. Yes the finish seems a hint astringent – mouth-puckering without the texture of astringent tannin. Very interesting and eminently drinkable – though probably more from the standpoint of curiosity. I expect that I’d have enjoyed it much more in 1994!
2010 Pascal Marchand, Chassagne-Montrachet 1et La Grande Ruchotte
Very different aromas – more depth and with a ripe fruit note at the core. The flavours are far more mineral than the Meursault, texturally this is more about silk than padding. Slowly growing mid-palate flavour eventually shows some creamy inflections in the finish. Yum.
1979 Philippe Thevenot, Meursault 1er Goutte d’Or
Golden. Whilst I may have decanted this, the nose needs no time at all to offer a round, white chocolate and lanolin invitation – lovely. Following the Charlemagne, this has a little more roundness and plushness of texture – let’s call it ‘richness’ – but it has perfectly judged acidity to offer balance. Clean, round and very, very pleasurable – though none of the mineral note of the Charlemagne. This seems all the more voluptuous for it. Simply super!


2010 des Chézeaux (Ponsot), Griotte-Chambertin
Medium-plus colour – certainly a shade darker than the Leclerc. The nose starts very shy, just a stewed fruit note. The aromas eventually widen a little but it’s far from compelling! In the mouth, however, this is very impressive indeed: A pure essence of intense fruit – it’s cordial-like. Like the nose there is the slightest suggestion of stewed fruit in the mid-palate but it quickly widens to cherry stones and a faint hint of cream that is very long. I preferred this wine from barrel, but Ponsot wines are made to be drunk from 20 years – let’s see! On day two, the nose is much more ‘up my strasse’ with a beam of pure fruit – the stewed aspects now departed.
2010 des Chézeaux (Leclerc), Griotte-Chambertin
The cork doesn’t smell all that great – not TCA, but strangely musty – fortunately the wine seems okay. Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a fine advertisement for ‘Griotte’ with a very pretty core of shiny red fruit – more cranberry/redcurrant than cherry – relatively simple in its youthfulness, but lovely. A hint of cushioning to the texture and an understated lick of tannin too. The acidity, like the tannin, seems rather understated but bubbles through as the mid-palate intensity grows, and becomes more mouth-watering. Subtly long. This is a very pretty wine that is also very ‘young Griotte’ in terms of its beauty yet lack of complexity – a perfectly balanced wine to wait for.
1981 Maison Clavelier, Corton Clos Rognet
Magnum. A good medium-plus colour. The aromas have some mature leaf and a depth of brown-sugared fruit – rather nice, whatever it sounds like! Rather anonymous entry but then there’s a nice acidity and all of a sudden an impressive expansion of flavour that slows into the finish – it could even be a grand cru! Tannin seems an after-thought, the finish being rather sweet. Can I honestly say this is Corton? Nope, but I can say it is tasty mature wine with no faults – this is (was) a hit!
1990 Faiveley, Clos des Cortons Faiveley
Medium-plus colour – not exactly a spring chicken but doesn’t look its 20 years old either. Some forest floor notes, impressive depth too, some of the notes hinting at old wood. There’s still an undercurrent of chewy tannin, and very good acidity – all the wine’s texture coming from the tannin. You have the impression the flavour will be only medium length, before a powerful reprise of old vanilla and other barrel notes erupts from the depth – becomes exceptionally long, even showing a little dark red fruit. Impressive, indeed compelling stuff, though arguably not that friendly, I might even say young – a wine for the next 30 years…
2006 La Gibryotte, Charmes-Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a little more mineral than the villages and shows plenty of wood spice too but the core is a very lovely dark, macerating cherry. In the mouth there’s a lot grainy texture – and that’s from the wood. The intensity is fine with a very nice supporting acidity, eventually the fruit comes too. Overall I find it too woody – after 5 years should be better balanced than this – there is lovely acidity, lovely fruit but marring, jarring, oak texture and finally a bitterness from those wood tannins too. About 70% of this wine I love.
2003 Michel Juillot, Corton Perrières
Much deeper colour than the 1993, clearly much younger too – here’s a 2003 that’s holding up very well. The nose is deep and round – roast fruit too but that comes with the vintage territory – hints of herbs at its circumference. Weight, but there’s really a good acidic balance. I recently tried the ‘96 of this but this is wine has much better weight and for the vintage is clearly much more successful. I like this very much. Nice to have a few more in the cellar.
2010 Pascal Marchand, Clos de Vougeot
The nose here gives the impression of a bit more muscle and in shape shows more width than depth. Clearly another level of structure on the palate, but those tannins are polished and the flavour is more overtly mineral than fruity. Impressive stuff – the last drops in the glass now show a super-classy red berry note. Despite the polish, proper CV!
2010 Pascal Marchand, Corton
The nose has a wonderful depth, certainly quite the cuisinière though with coffee, chocolate, hints of coconut – fortunately I also find fruit. As the previous wines, Pascal has delivered a super-fine structure that delivers excellence without sacrificing intensity of flavour. Gorgeous clarity and super length.
2010 Pascal Marchand, Echézeaux
Here the nose is more obviously complex – a clear Vosne vernacular – but for all that it’s less precise and focused than the Corton – but with width and depth, a wine of scale. In the mouth it’s rounder, more visible tannin than the Corton but like all these wines the structure shows restraint even though there’s a faint hint of ‘grab’. Super.
1993 Andre Nudant, Corton-Bressandes
The colour shows some age but retains just a kernel of red. The nose is deep and leafy with a warm sweetness – mature and rather good. Lively balance comes from the acidity, good intensity too. There’s a hint of bitterness from faint tannin in the finish, but I’m rather enjoying this. Clean, relatively mature – lots to like.
2000 Jean Raphet, Chambertin Clos de Bèze
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is a real babe – nothing masculine here – cushioned, soft with a super-elegant, yet fresh, perfume of red fruits with just a hint of something musky (dusky?) in the depth that envelopes you – forget the vintage, aromatically this is simply fabulous. Elegance might be a reasonable descriptor for the flavours too; softly textured but with depth and complexity. Fair to say that the palate cannot quite scale the same heights as the aromas but this wine simply left me purring.

1979 Andre Nudant, Corton-Charlemagne
Golden. Old oak notes, though nothing musty or obviously oxidative – given an hour or so and that typical old-white lanolin aroma comes through – pretty good! Silky with some fat and intensity. Long flavours have a hint of bitterness but plenty of interest. The bitterness quickly takes on a more mineral aspect. Drinking very well after 2 hours – good stuff!
1980 Andre Nudant, Corton-Charlemagne
Golden. Old oak notes that bring to mind the 1979 but they blow off a little faster – the nose becomes almost indistinguishable from the 79. Just like the younger wine, this is also silky and shows a little fat to its texture. Where this differentiates itself is the lack of bitterness which delivers a better overall balance to the flavour. They were drunk a week apart, so it’s hard to be definitive, but this seems the better wine.

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