wednesday…

Update 28.9.2006(27.9.2006)billn

ladies of the table
Wednesday: Vinotas spreads the fame of the sorting team.

I had to run back to Basel – curses – but my moles (Sophie, Sally and Julia above) will keep me up-to-date on how things look. Amazingly, while Beaune and its environs remained dry, my garden recieved 30mm of rain in 36 hours – we are 250km apart.

Updates this afternoon… okay, Thursday really!

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  1. voug27th September 2006 at 9:59 pmPermalinkReply

    Domaine de la Vougeraievougeraie
    Wednesday 27 September
    Day nine

    Sunshine and pigeages

    It was a misty start Wednesday, with the mercury just nudging 10°C (50°F) on the Côte. But in typical style for the season, the weather hesitated between summer and winter, finally giving way to a high of 25°C (77°F) and a beautiful afternoon with clear blue skies.

    The harvesters were soon in full swing in the vines, and all the domaines around were taking advantage of such a fine day to speed up the pace. At rush-hour, the famous route national 74 between Dijon and Beaune – the artery which feeds practically every vineyard in the region – became an uninterrupted line of slow-moving trucks carrying crates spilling over with bunches of fat juicy grapes; cars ferrying happy yet exhausted pickers, and tractors pulling loaded trailers. One young girl hangs on to the front of a tractor like a surreal figurehead at the prow of her ship, her arms outstretched as if to protect her precious cargo, her hair rippling in the wind, like a conquering heroine returning triumphant from the vines.

    For us, the day began with the Corton-Charlemagne, our little gem of a plot on the celebrated Corton hill. Following the contours of the slope, these ten very steep rows have a splendid southeasterly aspect from their position running from halfway to the top of the hill and are marked out by two peach trees. The grapes are harvested in an upward direction to offer some welcome relief for aching backs. These are magnificent vieilles vignes, with beautifully golden bunches bearing the ‘hens and chickens’ characteristic of millerandage, naturally weighing in at 13° and with perfect acidity, setting our hopes alight for an exquisite wine of which for now, we can but dream.

    Then it was time for the last of the Marconnets, at Savigny-Lès-Beaune, finishing with the Beaune Premier Cru Clos du Roi. A nice surprise was waiting for us in these vines that are extremely sensitive to the climatic conditions – superb, healthy little bunches with amazing millerandage, which will easily give us three choice pièces, the traditional Burgundian barrels.

    On the Nuits side of the estate, we attacked the Vougeot Premier Cru Les Cras, known as our solaire wine, due to its exceptionally sunny exposition. The rows run perpendicular to the Clos Blanc, at the base of the triangle. The quality of the fruit was exceptionally consistent, a sign of the regularity of the various vegetative stages of this warm plot in both young and old plants.

    The afternoon was dedicated to the neighboring Chambolle-Musigny. These old, low-yield vines are scattered in little plots, with their hens and chickens once again promising a concentrated wine. Only the Véroilles plot is left to harvest.

    In the winery, we saw the first pigeages, which always shock newcomers. But using the feet to gently push the berries down into the juice in the wooden tanks is not some quaint tradition. It is extremely worthwhile vinotherapy and although doing it during the cold pre-fermentation stage at 12°C may not be so pleasant as doing it at the end of fermentation, Maurice, our young engineer from CERN* who arrived from Geneva on Friday to spend his vacation here, seemed to enjoy it nonetheless. This evening, only seven of thirty casks were filled, so Pierre decided to speed up the rhythm, since bad weather is forecast for next week and all the premier and grand crus must be harvested before.

    The first klaxons may be sounding already, heralding the end of the vendange for some but here, we are far from finished.
    *European Council for Nuclear Research

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