Last night was enjoyed; dinner with two winemaker friends in Beaune. The location was Bistro de Beaune, attached to the Hotel de Beaune which adjoins Place Carnot. Nice, relaxing decor and a Bressé chicken to die for. Despite still being nice people, the only negative was their service; bringing the vegetables when we were already halfway through the main course, never bringing the milk for my coffee and taking 15 minutes to bring the bill – 3rd time of asking – were the main complaints. We also enjoyed an amusing interlude; I plumped for a 2000 Henri Boillot Chassagne 1er Les Chaumées. As it was poured it was obviously rather darker coloured than our expectation, only a sniff was required in confirmation; it was rather (prematurely) oxidative. Our sommelier began to tell us that this is characteristic of the lieu-dit itself (similar to Tessons apparently) and that the winemaker makes an oxidative style like Pierre Morey. Where is Pierre when you need him! Don’t dismiss the place though as you can have a lovely night there. The chosen replacement bottle was the 2005 villages Puligny from Carillon. Very nice though showing a little sulfur by the end of the evening – strangely more-so than at the start. Clos de Tart’s second wine the 2001 Morey 1er Cru La Forge was very good with our main courses. Nice place, nice food.
Harvesting in Beaune 1er Les Teurons
Today smiles have returned to the faces of the winemakers – there’s not a cloud in sight. I took an early tour through vineyards in Pommard & Beaune where some people were already busying themselves with harvesting – it was quite idyllic. To spoil the party rather, I have to mention the grapes – very 2004-esque so will need some serious triage.
Beaune 1er Les Cras
Back to the domaine and we have Beaune 1er Cru Les Cras arriving – just over 1 tonne. This takes six of us about one and a half hours to triage, no shortcuts here as we have to weed out the rot and the unripe. We discarded about 15%, but note that that’s in addition to what was already discarded at the vines. We trial both with and without the vibrating table as the grapes seem quite fragile so their skins are being broken by the table – the jury is out, what comes through is drier due to less broken grapes, but more insects are coming through – I wonder if there is a ‘specification’ for (insect) protein levels! Despite this early ‘pick’ the potential alcohol is over 13% for this wine.
It’s hot in direct sun but quite a sneaky wind is blowing – everyone will be happy if this lingers as it will dry the grapes and stop the growth of rot. Once finished with the Beaune we have lunch to contend with – a significant portion of the crew (which have additions from USA, NZ and Australia) are unimpressed by the thought of ‘longue de beouf’ – cow’s tongue, but a 2005 Bourgogne, a very ripe but tasty 2003 NZ pinot noir from Bell Hill and a 2004 Chapelle-Chambertin appear to keep the peace, but then it’s time to tidy-up…
Grapes from Savigny will be next, and we’ve been warned they could be in worse shape than the Beaune, but they won’t be arriving until ~6:00pm. I use the time to make a tour through Puligny, Meursault, Volnay and Pommard. I found only one harvest team in some low-lying Meursault villages – I should have checked as maybe it was pinot they were harvesting – the only other teams were working in the lowest parts of Volnay and Pommard.
When the Savigny (1er Les Peuillets) arrives we are pleased to see that things will be a little easier than the Beaune. There is still plenty of rot, but it’s not every cluster that needs some attention – the triage table runs on it’s slowest setting, and six of us are ‘manning’ it, but things seem under more control. We finish in darkness – away from our well-lit table – about 9:30pm. Tomorrow the remainder of this parcel of Savigny awaits…
ADDENDUM – Today from Bourgogne Aujourd’hui:
Les vendanges battent leur plein
Après 2003 voici 2007 : pour la deuxième année en 5 ans, les vendanges ont commencé en août en Bourgogne. La comparaison entre cette année et 2003 s’arrête là. La précocité de 2007 ne s’explique que par un printemps particulièrement chaud qui a vu la vigne démarrer son cycle à toute allure. L’été orageux et particulièrement pluvieux a brisé les espoirs de voir un nouveau grand millésime survenir. Les vignes bourguignonnes sont en effervescences depuis quelques jours, sous des conditions clémentes, mais le moral des producteurs est plutôt gris. Les maturités sont faibles et l’état sanitaire des raisins obligent à un tri particulièrement sévère en rouge. Motif de consolation : les blancs sont moins avancés dans leur cycle de maturation (Chablis, par exemple, n’a pas encore commencé sa récolte). Ils peuvent encore profiter des journées de beaux temps que la météo annonce. A l’évidence 2007 se présente comme le millésime le plus compliqué de la dernière décennie.