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2022 Savigny Les Vergelesses

Thursday September 8 – my last Burgundy harvest day – number 9

Our domaine’s last day.

For us, this was the end of the annual harvest that underpins the livelihoods of so much of the region – not just the winemakers but also the ancillary suppliers that support this industry – barrels, tanks, bottles, plumbers and electricians, etcetera…

Generalising about the grapes of 2022:

2022 Savigny Les VergelessesSpeaking of the home domaine in Beaune – though more generally too – in terms of timing we were neither early nor late – today, even 1 week later, there are those who are still active in the vines – today, Wednesday 14th, at least, given the heavy rain in the Côte de Nuits, they might be questioning their later timing.

Instead of the 1-week head start that chardonnay harvesting commonly has over the pinots, the two colours were ripe at roughly similar times this year. Geography has been evident this year with harvesting starting first in the south – Beaujolais – and harvesting is still not finished in the north – Chablis.

2022 is another vintage of ripeness and, so long that they were not compromised by hail, very good quality grapes. The grapes were far from the smallest we’ve seen in recent years but their concentration remains unquestioned. Reds and whites usually lie between 13-14° of potential alcohol i.e. higher than in 2021 and more consistent between colours than in either of 2019 or 2020. We see decent enough acidity in terms of pHs – 3.15-3.35 for the whites and more like 3.6 for many reds – though with extended maceration the acid intensity of the smaller red grapes is slowly coming through, so perhaps nearer to 3.5 will be more common when it’s time to empty the tanks. The quantity, ripeness and easy extraction of the colour and tannins for the reds have been obvious.

As for fauna on the triage table – ladybirds have been only rare visitors, stink bugs and spiders were the most common (as in most years) and in the first few days we saw lots of earwigs but these latter insects became less common as our harvest progressed.

Oh, and there is the quantity! The worries over April frosts are now long forgotten. I previously noted that this is the hot vintage with the most rain in the last years and this has led to gains in volume. Domaines that debudded less assiduously this year after consistently low volumes since 2018 will have been flirting with over-production in 2022 – or perhaps having to decide what to do with their over-production!

There are always differences in timings brought about by viticulture or ripeness preferences – or both – but here lies the middle ground.

Back to our last day:

Grapes from Beaune’s Montée Rouge and Pommard’s Les Vaumuriens brought joy to our triage table. Our north-facing Montée Rouge was one of the rare vineyards where we needed to remove some unripe grape clusters but was otherwise clean and healthy. The Pommard, despite its altitude, had no such issues. There are vintages when the Pommard is only ready after the main group of pickers has disbanded but this year it slotted perfectly into our programme.

So, a perfect finish to our 2022 triage? Not quite, we finished with 2 more bins of the Bourgogne Rouge – triage-table reset to the slowest tempo and a minimum of 6 pairs of hands removing the dried grains as cheering pickers skipped through the cuverie – the pickers keeping our enthusiasm from waning!

Thank you 2022 and my wishes are with Marko who usually provides us with an alternative harvest commentary. At the last moment, he had to cancel his trip to the Côtes for harvesting. I hope he’s well…

PXL_20220907_114621019

Wednesday September 7 – my Burgundy harvest day number 8

Oof! This was a day to remember – or better still, forget!

Today we almost exclusively triaged ‘Bourgogne.’ Both our colours of Bourgogne (Bourgogne Côte d’Or) come from the same sector as our Chorey-Blanc that had been affected by hail – only here was a little worse.

Our first two bins of Bourgogne Blanc took one hour to triage – and that was only about 500kg of grapes. At the base, we had great grapes but we had to spend a lot of time removing anything that may contribute ‘off-tastes to the must after pressing – this was effectively all the dried grapes and any with hail impacts. Both rot and oïdium were thankfully rare. What wasn’t rare were the dried berries – not the raisined style of some recent vintages but rather the tiny berries that didn’t develop and went brown and dried. Normally these fall by the wayside on the vibrating table – but not these – boy did they take some removing!

The whole morning was devoted to the white and then a little of the afternoon too. Finally a change of scene – Bourgogne Côte d’Or Rouge – again from the same sector. I can say that triage was slightly easier than for the white but like for the white, the triage table was moving at the slowest possible pace and was replete with 6 pairs of hands with secateurs.

Two days later, checking on the musts – red and white – I can happily report that everything tasted clean – no off-tastes from dried material…

Lunch

Of course, lunch brought some respite. We made a toast to Louis-Fabrice Latour with a 2013 1er from Maison Latour followed by a 1996 Corton:

2013 Louis Latour, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Sous Les Puits
Cork, not DIAM. The colour is just a little darker than I’d like. Aromatically there’s a little too much development here for the age but with generous, slightly structural flavours. Not a wine that would win any prizes but that’s not why it was on the table – adieu Louis-Fabrice.

1996 Ardhuy, Corton-Renardes
Browner colour. The nose that is far from foxy – round, with fresh energy – plenty of cooking spices and sous bois – but nicely clean and gradually offering some floral perfume – really engaging! Fresh as any 1996 should be but never sharp. Energy and clean flavours like the nose – I think we were all a little surprised how very, very good this wine was!
Rebuy – Yes

2022 Corton-Charlemagne

Tuesday September 6 – my Burgundy harvest day number 7

Louis-Fabrice Latour & Jean-Charles ThomasMixed emotions on the Tuesday morning; our first bins of Corton-Charlemagne arrived about 08h00 and the grapes were resplendent – not too much to triage here!

It was only about an hour later that we heard of the death, in the night, of Louis-Fabrice Latour – almost a youngster at 58 and with 4 kids too. Louis-Fabrice (right with his winemaker Jean-Charles Thomas) had withdrawn from some of his more public rôles about a year ago and had lost a large amount of weight in the last months – but even when anticipated, it’s still a shock. I remember someone who was open and friendly and if he ever came across me tasting, it was like he had all the time in the world for me – it was a skill /personality trait he had with everyone. He was the 11th generation of the family to run Maison Latour and will leave a big hole in that organisation…

Corton-Charlemagne done – and not removing the appreciable amount of pinot gris that is co-planted in these old vines – we then had some Beaune ‘Renault’ – or more correctly Les Bons Feuvres. This is villages level Beaune that everyone asks – ‘where is it?‘ and that’s easy, it’s next to the Renault garage as you head south from Beaune towards Pommard! Good stuff, properly ripe and, again, with not too much to triage.

Lunch brought a couple of wines; both red:

2019 Quentin & Vincent Joussier, Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise
Lots of colour and lots of energy – both aromatically and from a flavour perspective. I must say a very tasty and almost juicy wine.
Rebuy – Yes

1993 Comtes Lafon, Volnay 1er Santenots du Milieu
A rare older wine this week where the cork didn’t break into two – in fact ot looked young and left the neck of the bottle with a loud pop too!
Aromatically clean and slightly floral too, though a nose with a modest structural impression. It was the same in the flavours; clean, young even though structurally, not a wine that I’d describe as elegant. Very good – maybe even wait another couple of years…
Rebuy – Maybe

the black-eyed peas

04-Sept – my 2022 Burgundy harvest day 5

A busy long weekend, so now’s the time to catch up.

Friday and Saturday I was touring with a client so no (extra!) dirtying of my hands/fingernails. Of course, there are practically no domaines that are open for tastings during the harvesting period – and you could double that on Saturday.

The last days gave me chance to catch up on the best (IMHO) of the commercial possibilities that remained open. You have previously seen (in the diary) that I’m happy to visit Armand Heitz’s Le Cellier in Pommard so duly did this again on Saturday whilst touring the vines of the upper Chalonaise and Côte de Beaune.

Francois & Erwan Faiveley - 2022For Friday I tried out two new ones – Faiveley and their renovated winery in Nuits, and Trapet’s place neighbouring the Rotisserie de Chambertin. Both are to be paid for but I find the experience and the wines deserve their place and price – I was very happy with both – I’ll even include the tasting notes at the end of this post.

Faiveley were, of course, harvesting when we visited on Friday but our timing was impeccable such that we managed to watch their triage and the filling of their wooden fermentation tank with Charmes-Chambertin, first bumping into François Faiveley and just a couple of minutes later Erwan Faiveley too – both pictured, right. Erwan is very happy with his grapes, suggesting that, at this stage, he sees “A little of the structure of 2012 in the reds.” It will be interesting to see if he still holds that opinion, post-fermentation – I will ask him later in the year when I visit to taste his 2021s.

For our lunchtime tasting – with possibly the best Boeuf Bourguignon I’ve ever eaten in France(!) – we were at Trapet, paying for the 8 wine tasting menu that includes wines from both Alsace and Gevrey-Chambertin. Some heavy rain accompanied our slurping but the sky was already turning blue as we exited the building to tour the vines – we were lucky.

On Sunday I was back at the home domaine in Beaune – and this was to be a long day – a Chorey day, and the domaine has a lot of Chorey!

We kicked off slightly later than usual in the cuverie – 08h00 – and that was because the train to Beaune that carried many of our pickers was late! So the picker, naturally, started a bit later.

We began with a little red Chorey before moving on to Chorey Blanc. The grape clusters had fine shape and were nicely firm – not giving up much juice in the bins. Unfortunately, the domaine was hit 3x by hail in 2022 and the hail of June was the worst, principally impacting our Chordey Blanc – some smaller areas were 100% losses. The clusters delivered to the domaine looked very good but triage was time-consuming because almost every bunch had some hail damage where we were removing every split grape – the affected ones looking like black-eyed peas. We did a great job – but it was a long job!

Before 4 hours and 15 minutes of standing in just one spot, afternoon triaging red Chorey, we made space for lunch – from both a timing and space in the stomach, perspective. 3 good wines were drunk 😉 But back to the red Chorey: Although in the same area as our white, and theoretically also with some hail damage, the triage here was much easier. Split grapes were much rarer, there was no rot, and the average maturity was brilliant. In the recent vintages, you hardly need to weed out the unripe bunches – because there are none – except the occasional second-set bunch that shouldn’t have been picked.

So far, pHs are a bit all over the place this year – certainly not as low as in 2020 – but the alcohols seem in control; the analyses here range from 12.9-13.8° so far. I’ll keep you posted as to how that goes…

Some wines from Friday:

2014 Faiveley, Mercurey 1er Le Clos du Roy ‘La Favourite’
Just from the top part of the climat
I like the volume of aroma here – a base with some dried leaf maturity and quite a strong floral perfume – potpourri in style. Open, lovely waves of fine acidity add a certain tension to the flavours. That’s even showing a subtle, grainless, finishing tannin – subtly accenting the texture. I might even wait another year or two to drink this but it’s a very tasty wine.

2019 Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles-Vignes
More than 9 ha are owned in Gevrey – they only make two VV cuvées, this and one in Mercurey.
Almost an extra silkiness and certainly a more direct aroma – growing with a little, fresher, floral note. Extra density but great mouth-feel too. This is so mouth-watering and completely delicious – I wouldn’t feel a bit embarrassed drinking this today – it’s delicious and the faint spice from the oak makes no extra demands. Bravo!

2016 Faiveley, Nuits St.Georges 1er Aux Chaignots
Narrower but deeper aroma – dark and cushioned – a little fine cooking spice – there are some stems here but I don’t particularly see them. Incisive, cool, fresh in the mouth – I love it! The spice and salt are stronger in the finish. Simply excellent – that’s a delicious, young wine.

2018 Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cazetiers
A fine, almost airy, width of aroma – less power but some fine perfume here again. Like the previous wine this is beautifully expansive – more oak visible in the flavours but, again, not too distracting. The structure is moderately visible in the middle and finishing flavours. A wine that’s more to wait for – but a super wine.

2018 Faiveley, Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley
A broad and finely spiced aroma – at the risk of being distracted by the label I would say muscular – but faint flashes of perfume can also be seen. Really impressive in the mouth – rich but still generous, modestly oaked – this is more visible in the finishing flavours. A great wine…

2017 Trapet, Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Ostrea
A faintly spiced, nicely transparent width of aroma – the depth with a slightly darker-red fruit. Super in the mouth – mineral, modestly structured, lots of freshness. Drink with pleasure now, despite the structure – but wait 10+ years with ease!

2017 Trapet, Gevrey-Chambertin 1erClos Prieur
Less spice and maybe more clarity to this nose. Bigger, more energetic and mouth-watering – almost juicy. Right at the end a little chalky structure. A simply gorgeous wine…

2017 Trapet, Chapelle-Chambertin
A lovely round cushioned fruit – not a full-power nose but a very attractive nose. Ooh – that has a super and quite intensely direct flavour. A baby but such an attractive one.

2017 Trapet, Latricières-Chambertin
This nose has more width and a more rose-petal perfume. Those rose petals are visible in the flavours too, more delicate and complex at the same time. Not more delicious than the Chapelle but more my personal style of wine – a great 2017 in a delicate style.

2014 Trapet, Chambertin
A tighter, less expressive nose. mOre mouth-filling, energetic and complete wine in the flavour. Structural too – I’d drink this happily today but give it another 10 years for the ultimate joy.

Les Blancs:

2020 Faiveley, Ladoix Les Marnes Blanches
A nice puff of freshness – round, lovely fruit rich but with nice energy. Mouth-filling, even a hint of structure but the roundness – a halo of fine tannin and stony length. I would wait 2-3 years for the oak to fade and accentuate the freshness but this is a remarkably tasty wine.

2020 Faiveley, Meursault 1er Blagny
Here the nose has a little more gassy impression – perhaps some CO2 here – ripe lemon citrus in the aroma. Ooh – now that’s got a beautiful definition – direct, gorgeously shaped, mineral, slightly chalky finishing – a baby and possibly a great one…

2020 Faiveley, Corton-Charlemagne
Narrower, but with depth and freshness – tension! Broad, bubbling with fresh complexity, the oak is visible but a mere accent in the opening flavours – a broad wave of flavour to ride. Unquestionably great wine. Super long. Grand Vin.

There were some other delicious wines too 😉

2022 Savigny 1er Aux Vergelesses

01-Sept – my 2022 Burgundy harvest day 2

Corton from Aux Vergelesses
Day 2. Corton from Savigny’s Aux Vergelesses

An earlier start for me as I wanted to be in the vines with the pickers – Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Aux Vergelesses – and the views were worth the early alarm call!

So far we have avoided rain though storms are currently forecast for the late afternoon and evening tomorrow – but let’s enjoy today…

Savigny Aux Vergelesses with Aloxe-Corton in the distanceThe home domaine has plenty of vines (right) in Aux Vergelesses – red and white – today was a white day here, with the reds still biding their time. Optically, these were super grapes – smaller and cleaner versus the whites that were picked yesterday in Hautes Jarrons. Just the upper part of two rows was less attractive – greyed by oïdium – the domaine didn’t treat this part properly and the result was that the grapes wouldn’t be picked. Our boss comments “Sometimes it happens but it also helps to reinforce why we do what we do and how important the treatments are.

Triage already started in the cuverie at 07h45 as it was just about light enough to start picking a little after 07h00. Cosmetic triage except for occasional bunches showing some oïdium. The odd bunch had some grilled grapes too – but much fewer than in 2018-2020 – and certainly less than the reds this year. Currently, our boss thinks the acidity is comparable to 2020 – let’s see… Anyway, this was an appreciable parcel so we didn’t finish triage before 13h00.

Did somebody say lunch? If they did, it was only to say that it was delayed – the picking team had decamped to Corton – time to set up the de-stemmer – red Corton was on its way.

The 9th vintage of Corton-Renardes for our domaine, and the extra consistency and finer shape of the grapes/bunches was clear versus the Savigny’s of yesterday. There was still some triage to be done though; many of the bunches hid some small, completely dried berries that we didn’t want in the macerations/fermentations. The last few vintages have provided only 1 barrel of this – there was clearly much more this year – emblematic of most of Burgundy this year – where frost or hail didn’t make inroads.

Of course, more fruit means more time needed to triage – the last bin of fruit was emptied and triaged and the vibrating table was switched off – at 15h00! Could we now have lunch? Yes, we could!

The pickers also had a late lunch but the Corton was the last vineyard to be picked – so an earlier finish than normal – if only an hour by the time we’d finished eating 🙂

There was some wine too:

1999 Faiveley, Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley
I couldn’t match yesterday’s Haute Jarrons on a Haute Jarrons day – but Corton on a Corton day was close! Yet another cork that split in the middle – but I’m on a run – once more the second part of the cork was extracted in one!
But what’s that? Is that corky? Swirl the glass and it seems better – but it’s there – what the French would describe as ‘liegeux.’ Behind was a wine of impressive richness and depth of flavour – and eminently approachable – but corked!
Rebuy – Well, not a corked one!

To save face:

1979 Louis Voilland, Beaune 1er Montée Rouge
The domaine has vines here – typically one of the last parcels to be harvested – but not the same parcel. Another cork that split – which I can forgive as it’s 43 years old!
A colour with more brown than the Corton but no smell of cork – actually a little café in a slightly torrified style – that’s nice. Open, mouth-filling – I’m so rarely disappointed with Côte de Beaune 79s and here’s another completely sound example. Almost no tannin to speak of but with concentration and an engaging, sometimes slightly metallic – steely – impression to the flavour. This was very good wine.
Rebuy – No chance!

Tomorrow the team will be harvesting in Beaune – probably some villages and certainly 2 premier crus – but I have clients for 2 days so won’t be back in the cuverie (to work!) until Sunday…

2022 Savigny 1er Hautes Jarrons

31-Aug – 2022 Burgundy harvest day 1

Tada! Day one of the home domaine harvest in Beaune.

About half the domaines in Burgundy have started harvesting by now, my home domaine choosing to wait until the 31st having originally considered the 27th – so why? – let’s first get that out of the way…

Our boss answers: “It’s true that the grapes would also have been properly ripe if we’d started on Saturday but for me the aromatics were still missing – today I’m much more confident in how they smell – I think that waiting was the right decision. The only issue with this delay is that we will lose all the student pickers next week as the new school year starts on Tuesday…

2022 Savigny 1er Hautes JarronsThis is certainly going to be quite a pressurised harvest as most vineyards will be ready for picking quite close together – there is less disparity between the reds and whites this year too – and it’s not just the colours, Chablis is starting to pick now – so it’s geographically ‘compact’ too.

Yesterday evening there was rain in the forecast – Nuits got some and part of the Côte Chalonnaise got plenty – over 20mm – but here in Beaune, all was dry this morning. The boss suggested about 2mm in Savigny – so the possibility of being damp underfoot in the vines – but of no consequence to the grapes we were about pick.

So today was a day of Savigny fruit, starting with 1er cru Hautes Jarrons white and then in the late morning changing over to Hautes Jarrons red – right – also 1er cru. With much cunning (guesswork!) I brought a 2005 Hautes Jarrons for lunch. This being a warm, harvest, we will, almost habitually, be picking the whites in the morning when they are cooler and the reds later in the day. Already at 11h00 the red grapes were warm to the touch – it’s less of an issue for the reds because as soon as they are destemmed they go into the tanks where they will be cooled. We finished our day with a small parcel of Savigny 1er Les Narbantons – finer, cliché, bunches, many with smaller grapes if not quite as ripe as the Hautes Jarrons – but the Jarrons is expected to come in at around 14.5°!

I’ll get more into the analytics as the days progress but the grapes themselves were rather uniformly ripe; not the smallest of grapes but our triage was largely cosmetic – a little of everything could be found – rot, oïdium, dried/raisined grapes and even a few hail impacts for the white – but very little in each case and quite rare were the unripe bunches except where the second-set had been picked. Clearly, the reds have plenty of soluble phenolics – judging by the staining of my fingers already on the first day – but perhaps a little less than in 2019 or 2020.

Of course, more detail as the days proceed and the numbers become available.

2005 JC Boisset, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Hautes Jarrons
A cork that broke in two – fortunately the second part came out in one.
A slightly funky, bretty, leathery nose that could have been 10 years older – air cleaned it up a little but not completely. In the mouth, this was altogether fresher and more interesting – it also showed fine energy. Just a modest – but correct – structure. Quite tasty but I never really warmed to the aromatics.
Rebuy – No

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