Tuesday – No Romance here…this is work!


tortochotIt’s just after Lunch and we have already had a full day. And Lunch is no fast food dive here…They go all out. More food than you can possibly eat and just when you can’t eat another bite, out comes Le Fromage. And of course what’s a meal without wine. Today’s lunch included a great Chardonnay from Jura. It’s early afternoon and boy do I want a nap. No time for that though, it’s back to the vineyards.

Picking grapes is much of what you expect or hope, but much much more. And lots of singing too. I don’t know the words, but who cares, I sing along anyways. Every evening meal begins ends that way. And I am catching on… especially to the harvest favorite, “A glou, a glou…” Last night I lead a rendition of “DO WAH DITTY DITTY DUM DITTY DO” which everyone seemed to love. Who knows maybe I started a tradition. We’ll see tonite.

Any ways, about picking… it was quite an adventure but it’s back-breaking work! Jean Luc Joilllot, the winemaker and owner of the vineyard, is very selective about the fruit he uses for the final wine. Much time and attention is given, even prior to sorting, to select only the best grapes. Not a difficult task really except that the key is to do it quickly. I certainly didn’t want to be labeled the slow American. Not that I would have known it. There’s a lot of pressure on you when you’re picking for the reputation of your entire country, you know. And it is essential to watch your fingers…those clippers are sharp! Well about 2 hours in, it happened. I was zipping along and snip – Ouch! Of course I didn’t say anything… don’t want the label of the wimpy American either. So there I am, snipping away, blood dripping from my hand and thinking to myself, “This cut is going to get infected, I’m going to get gan green and my arm is going to have to be amputated.” But at least I will have proof of being Burgundy for the harvest. A great story to tell my grand kids. By the way, grape acid is a good antiseptic… I hope.

So we picked quite a few grapes. Chardonnay and a little Aligote, not Pinot. And the grapes looked like a post card. A little rot here and there, but that’s to be expected. Later today we head to the “Hautes Cotes de Beaune” (or upper slopes of Beaune) to continue picking Chardonnay. There are some great wines made from grapes grown there; Parker calls it some of the best value wines in Burgundy. Jean Luc’s is stellar, if you haven’t tried it. And this year I helped make it.

The weather is perfect for harvest. Cool, slightly overcast, and dry. And the forecast is good all week. Harvest ends Friday with a big party. My plane leaves Saturday Morning; I hope I’m on it.

Tonite we will again gather for dinner, taste some wines, and of course, sing. I’m sure there will be a request for Do Wah Ditty. Who knows maybe I’ll lead everyone in a round of “Take me out to the Ball Game.”

Until tomorrow,
John in Pommard

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