Sorry for the corny title, but that’s what happens after picking a few grapes and tasting some wine, especially Gevrey-Chambertin. Today started with a little work in the vineyards of Beaune followed by a day being a tourist. We checked out the Hospice de Beaune, Clos Vougeot, & the Market in Beaune. A little shopping in Beaune followed by a visit to a few Domaines. It was a fun day of good tasting and learning.
After I visit to Clos Vougeot, we stopped by to say hello to Francois LeClerc, son of Rene Leclerc in Gevrey-Chambertin. Of course, what I thought would be a five minute hello turned out to be a 1 hour tasting seminar of their fantastic wines. Francois took us down in his cellars, where we tasted numerous barrel samples of 2003 vintage. We had “Clos Prieur,” “Lavaux St. Jacques,” and a few others before finishing with his Grand Cru, “Griotte-Chambertin.” 2003 was an interesting vintage, as you may know (the earliest harvest in 100 years) and, as with most winemakers, there was a lot of curiosity about how the end result;..There still is. One thing is for sure, The wines were great! Well balanced, more acid than expected and, as with most of Leclerc’s wines, ripe, luscious fruit, that always finishes with elegance.
Acidity was a concern/problem with all winemakers, and depending on who you ask, you will likely get a different answer how how the problem was solved; With Leclerc, they did not acidify, but rather made their wines in two phases. The second phase involved adding grapes from another visit to the vineyards. These grapes contained higher acid levels and matched well with the very ripe ones picked earlier in August. Of course, it’s way more complicated than that, but one thing is for sure: they showed beautifully. Leclerc’s philosophy is unique from many winemakers, especially outside of Burgundy. “Sometimes it is not good to know too much,” he told me, “a winemaker can get in the way. It is important to let the wine make itself. It’s not about the ‘ze winemaker’ ,” he said, “it’s about ‘ze grapes’ and the wine.” And Francois should know; He spent 2 years working at Archery Summit in Oregon. Francois’ philosophy is about expression of fruit. Normal maceration is about 10 hours…Leclerc rarely does half that time. They want fruit without overpowering tannin. Also they believe oak can dry out the wine so rarely will their wines spend more than a year in barrels. Leclerc is also very pleased with the 2004 vintage. Aside from random hail which affected just under 20% of the grapes, the remaining grapes are great and going to make some fine wines.
The weather has been great for harvest. Again, no rain and cool, partly sunny day. The late afternoon fall day made for some great pics, posing in front of the well-known vineyards of Chambertin, Corton, and Romanee Conti. It felt like a good fall Saturday. The only thing missing was a a football game. Real football, of course, American style. They don’t know what they are missing. I do.
Of course the day ended in some great food, good wine, and a lot of singing. Tonite I lead them in the old French favorite, “You Aint Nothin But A Hound Dog”… They like that one.
Elvis has left the vineyard.