Coronavirus Drinkathon Part 10

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

There was a certain amount of ribbing when an old colleague contributed his blog post ‘Make mine a half” it is true. What sad specimen of manhood couldn’t drink a bottle of wine over two days we reasoned. Roll on ten years, and I can see the logic. Sometimes a half bottle is what you want for an evening. Just a glass or two. So then, what am I doing drinking a magnum on my own tonight?

God knows.

1989 Chardonnay Domaine Rolet

About 6 months ago I brought a large consignment of magnums from Rolet in Jura from 1988 to 2004 from an auction in Dijon. I believe that when the family sold the estate in 2018, they had a quantity of older vintages that they bottled in 2017 – mostly in magnums, that they consigned to the market. I don’t know the details – but that’s the picture I have. The Diam cork pictured shows the date of mise.

In fact, I remember visiting the estate in about 2012. It’s a big operation, they have about 70 hectares under vine, making it one of the biggest family concerns in the region. The quality of the wines that we tasted was really good – didn’t really fit in with what we were doing, but they were a nice team to meet.

There is a certain oxidative character that is a bit sherry-ish, but not like old Burgundy. More acidity, more freshness – it’s a stunning bottle of wine. Truly exciting and invigorating.

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon Part 10

Coronavirus Drinkathon Part 9

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

2017 Moulin a Vent Domaine de Vissoux

Tutti frutti, oh rootie. Wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom!

A real Little Richard of a wine, so full of strut, so full of fruit. All of the red kind. Cranberry, raspberry, redcurrant, cherry. Very nicely balanced and long – lots of complexity. So opulent though, it needs I think a little bit of time, just to civilise itself a bit – maybe it never will, and that wouldn’t be too bad, but its just a bit much for me at the minute.

2015 Saumur Blanc Les Portes St Jean, Sylvain Dittiere

When I had the 14 a few years ago I remember being distinctly underwhelmed. But it was one of those nights where everything tasted just like a potential hangover. This was a stunner though, with so much matchstick it was less Loire, and more like Coche.

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon Part 9

Coronavirus Drinkathon Part 8

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

No-one better embodies the changing fortunes of Cornas than Franck Balthazar. His wines since the acquisition of Verset’s prime 1914 Chaillot vineyard have been terrific – his breakout vintag was the 2010. a really well-chiselled wine. I remember my offer, which had the Chaillot at £26 a bottle – this was in 2015. A smart buy if you clicked reply. His wines are great, and are clearly following the trajectory of Allemand, although are perhaps not that far now from being a bit fully priced in the market. Not to say, they won’t still go up in price – because I think they will – just that they’re not the value they once were.

I was interested to try a sample of his négociant ‘Franck Balthazar Selections’ wine -not to be confused with some early CDR bottlings that came from just outside Cornas. This is fully in CDR territory, from fruit sourced in Vinsobres.

It reverses the proportions of the majority of CDRs and fronts up 75% Syrah to 25% Grenache. Really nice 13.5% alcohol. Compact. I liked this a lot, but it’s not especially profound. It’s really well made, it has a nice short back and sides and I much prefer this proportion of varieties than the other way around. Where would I place it in the hierarchy of CDR? Equal to Coudoulet maybe. It’s very good – slick like rick.

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon Part 8

Coronavirus Drinkathon Part 7

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

The last week has been exceptionally busy – so no blog posts, but plenty of drinking . A quick bottle this Thursday eve.

2003 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Olivets Roger Sabon

I’ve always enjoyed the wines of Roger Sabon but I did approach this with some concerns. Ripe vintatge – getting old. A wine from the era when CNDP was stretched towards unhinged opulence.

The first sniff and taste and I did think – this is too old. But after two minutes, it opened up, the wrinkles seemed to disappear and it started to limber up beautifully. “You walked in like old father time and ended up dancing like Wayne Sleep!”

It’s not a faultless wine, its not a great vintage of a great wine, but its characterful, it’s interesting, and it’s pretty cheap. Lovely Jubbly!

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon Part 7

Coronavirus Drinkathon – Part 6

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

They say luxury whispers. If Steve Edmunds doesn’t exactly whisper, there’s an audible pause whilst he things about what he wants to say and then quietly sets though a thoughtful response to the question.

Gamay Rose 2017 from Edmunds St John. The best rose in the US no less according to Eric Asimov. What’s that? – you could buy a decrepit bottle of SQN 1996 rose for 30,000 $?

His rose whispers quality but doesn’t shout it – Produced from Barsotti Ranch and Witters Vineyard, both in excess of 3,000 feet above sea level, it has a lot of savoury complexity. It shows best the day after opening it – which makes me think 2 years or so after vintage would be the perfect time to drink it.

It lengthens, it broadens. Like a genie freed from the lantern. It grants you three wishes. Anything you want as long as it involves getting joyously merry.

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon – Part 6

Coronavirus Drinkathon – Part 5

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

2017 Bourgogne Aligote Le Clou 34 Claire Naudin-Ferrand

“Stimulation in body and cell.
For the good and misguided.
Desperation I’m under your spell.
Misunderstood and derided.

Gimme new kicks
I want to go deeper
Never been to keen a timekeeper
Show me new tricks
You can get me on the beeper
I’m a pure new pleasure seeker.”



There are as many ways to enjoy wine as there are wines to drink. The quirky. The drink so fast it could be apple juice. The serious. The difficult. The great disappointments. One follows one. Peak follows trough.

But pleasure, that’s important. A wine must deliver pleasure.

 This was what I was pondering when I thought about the 2017 vintage of Le Clou 34. The 2014 was one of the most staggeringly profound expressions of Aligote in the modern era.  To my mind better than Coche. Better than Ente. Better than Roulot. A true work of art. An Aligote of pleasure and profundity. A one off?

The 2017 is very good, but to me it seems to amp up the serious and forgo the swaggering drinkability of the 2014. It is a very nice wine but it is so painfully understated and refined that you want to drunkenly jab it with your elbow and tell it to cheer up a bit.

Save me from fading afraid.
The tears of a fool on parade.
Quietly turn into stone.
Make me flesh and bone

Joe GilmourCoronavirus Drinkathon – Part 5