monday (it’s a new week…)

Update 28.9.2006(25.9.2006)billn

perfect grapes
Monday: Never judge a book by its cover!

It’s a few degrees cooler this morning – but dry – just arrived we have grapes from Corton Chaumes, 90 year old vines that have given a low (significantly sub 30hl/ha) yield – the grapes are perfect, as good as anything seen in 2005. In the picture you can see the ‘field-blend’ of chardonnay, pinot noir and at the bottom the lighter pinot beurot (pinot gris). The stems are part lignified, dry and if you chew them there is no astringency. The winemaker gets a flash-back of Saturday’s DRC and decides to go for it – we will include 50% whole clusters. The destemmed grapes are added over the whole clusters and we expect some carbonic maceration to start at the base of the stainless-steel tank and the wine will go from there.

Anyway, if it goes wrong, Nanson will be blamed and will have to buy the barrel 😉

After this perfect material, we wait for grapes from Aloxe. What arrives is from the Aloxe 1er Cru Guérets and from the same owner as for the Corton Chaumes – and it shows! The vines are a little younger – but only a little – around 70 years, and the quality is very close to the Corton; very little rot with well-formed bunches. As can be seen by the speed of the triage table, these gapes are easily the equal of 2005.

julia does pigeageNext up (following choucroute and cake…) we have over 100 cases of pinot from Maranges. The grapes look almost good – we slow the triage table a little vs what we had in the morning – some of our cases have more rot than others but overall everything looks fine and still way, way better than the bourgogne grapes of Sunday. Apparently the winemaker buys all of the production from this plot in Maranges – as he personally feels it is about the best terroir – and despite the lowly appellation, he requests only 5-7 bunches per vine. I think herein we see the result of that decision.

Looking at the Chassagne 1er Vergers that we triaged yesterday; already it is 90% clear, which is hard to believe when you see the yellow/grey opaque material that comes from the press – sulfur dioxide is a wonderful thing! It will now be moved from it’s gross lees into another tank and from there, with its fine lees, direct into the barrels. The taste is already rather good, viscous and with a nice balance – still, this would be rather expensive if drunk as grape juice!

The rain has pretty much stayed away the whole day. We have a few degrees lower – though still T-shirts and shorts for the ‘workers’ – and the humidity is a little lower. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There is one response to “monday (it’s a new week…)”

  1. bill nanson25th September 2006 at 9:59 pmPermalinkReply

    Domaine de la Vougeraievougeraie
    Monday 25 September
    Day seven

    Back to work and the first reds of the year.

    Thick cloud blanketed the skies Monday, with a constant temperature of around 18°C (64°F), reminding us that the fall officially arrived two days ago. It was a root day in the lunar calendar and in keeping with estate tradition, Pierre organized the pickers into two teams, one for the Côte de Nuits, and the other for the Côte de Beaune. The grape pickers are almost at full compliment – six failed to show – and some of them were just starting their season’s work in the vines of Savigny-Lès-Beaune Premier Cru Les Marconnets.

    To the north, the day was taken up with the hectare of vines at Les Bollery, the pinots of Le Clos Vougeot. The gamay for the ‘Terres d’En Face’ cuvée could wait. The time has finally come to harvest some red grapes, which are ripening relatively late this year. Pinot noir is native to Burgundy and despite its nobility, it’s a fairly delicate variety, which perhaps explains why it’s not so widely-planted around the world. It has been suffering from all the rain we have had and could really do with some more sunshine. We are leaving the great wines for now, in the hope that nature will do its work. In any case, we have noticed a real difference between the reds and whites this year.

    Chardonnay is a much more resilient variety, and is showing greater ripeness, having enjoyed the sunny weather over the past fortnight. It may be a little early to start talking about it being a year for chardonnay, but despite some tricky conditions – just like in 2004 – it’s holding up very well. In any case, one thing’s for certain – all the whites we have harvested so far are absolutely superb and their musts have cleared well. Indeed, the Côte de Beaune Les Pierres Blanches harvested during the afternoon weighed in naturally at 13°. The juice running off the press was of a spectacular sparkling gold color.

    Unfortunately, the rain has caused some rot to form on the reds and this has to be removed both at the vine and again at the winery. It slows down the pace of the harvest but gives a certain fluidity to the second sorting in the winery, further helped by our vibrating manual sorting table where ten people receive each batch of 50 crates, with Pierre’s goal of zero rot etched in their minds. Some 15% of the bunches are thus eliminated. It is obvious that in order to produce great wines, the raw ingredients must be absolutely perfect, even if that is to the detriment of the yield. It might break your heart to throw so much away but that’s the price you pay for quality. Sorting the grapes is methodical work and everybody is totally focused on the bunches as they arrive. There’s no time for idle chitchat – this is serious business.

    This year, we introduced a new daily practice of disinfecting the wooden barrels by spraying with neutral alcohol, and using a neutral solution to disinfect the winemaking equipment. This creates additional work for us upstream but ensures that the fruit is kept as pure as possible and conserves all its authenticity, eliminating the risk of the taste becoming tainted by the wood, which can be sensitive to bacteria. Furthermore, it removes the need to filter the wine at a later stage or treat it to remove any potential taste defects.

    The white Prieuré and Beaune were put into barrels today and the remaining Clos Blanc this evening. In the cellar, the temperature is gradually rising in the barrels of Clos Blanc, currently measuring around 15°C, but fermentation hasn’t yet begun. After a long day’s work, everything was clean and tidy and the light switched off by 10pm.

    Tomorrow is a flower day, and the forecast is for sunshine and Clos Vougeot.

Burgundy Report

Translate »

You are using an outdated browser. Please update your browser to view this website correctly:;