vines & wines – yesterday in the côtes

Update 3.6.2009(26.5.2009)billn

Reaching for the sky...
Clos des Langres - reaching for the sky...

Back from a sticky 35°C in the Côtes.

In the Vines
Vine-growth is very speedy at the moment; all the vineyards are looking like they need their first ‘hair-cut’ as the vines start reaching for the sky. The earliest flowering started on Wednesday last week, but more than 95% of the vines have yet to start.

The heat of the last couple of days will start flowering in earnest over the next; this relatively early flowering sees producers already beginning to ‘pencil-in’ 10th September as a potential starting date for the harvest – that’s another early one – but let’s see how warm the summer is first!

The heat coupled to flowering will have growers up and down the Côtes scanning the skies and their trusty(?) weather forecasts. There are almost daily storms at the moment, though fortunately not all as bad as the one that hit a piece of Morey last week; not only was the 1er cru Caffots badly hit, but parts of next-door Monts Luisants too. It would have been much worse if the flowers were already open – yesterday a Morey producer wore a semi-resigned look as he quipped “ah – that just means that the hail has already done the green harvest for me…” The growers clearly hope for a dry 10-14 days during flowering as heavy rain without hail can still make for very uneven setting of the fruit, so far, the weather doesn’t look like it will be all that ‘supportive’.

In the Market – Maison Nicolas Potel & Terres d’Aromes
Berry Bros and Rudd first announced ‘the story‘, though I waited until I’d visited before typing anything; yesterday I visited Maison Nicolas Potel.

I won’t add any gossip – and there is plenty – but the salient facts are that the management of Cottin Freres and Nicolas Potel decided to go their separate ways in March, effective the end of April. I plan to cover the remaining team’s (current) plans go for continuing the business in the summer issue of the Burgundy Report. Additionally, on Wednesday last week, both Xavier Meney (Nicky’s business manager) and most shockingly, Claire Forestier were (I believe) asked to leave. That Claire had only just launched the inaugural Terres d’Aromes vintage makes the timing surprising. Only conjecture on my part, but perhaps the Cottins came to the conclusion that, with wine sales down about 20%, did they really need two competing labels with a similar business model? That’s not exactly rocket science, as it’s a business approach that could only be supported in a growing market. I hope to catch up with Claire very soon…

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

There is one response to “vines & wines – yesterday in the côtes”

  1. Ray Walker3rd June 2009 at 5:51 pmPermalinkReply

    Bill, thanks for the pencil in date in the Cote. Everyone I have been speaking with was saying the harvest would come late. Your pics are all I need to see to know different.

    And, its really troubling to see Nicky’s team let go like that. It looks more like Wall Street moves, not typical for Burgundy at all.

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