harvest 2009 – day 2 wednesday 10th – ‘mark de pernand’

Update 8.8.2012(10.9.2009)


I started this Tues a.m. and still trying to finish it Thurs lunch…

Second warm morning in a row. Even though not properly daylight feels like might be another scorcher like yesterday. More of that anon.

Arrived in Pernand Monday afternoon after leisurely run from Calais off the. 5 a.m Seafrance Berlioz from Dover. Never seen a ferry so quiet – approx 16 cars. Blue sky and sun all the way. Arrived early afternoon so detoured through Nuits to Morey to say hello to my friends from last year at Arlauds.

Warm greetings from employee Didier dans la cave and then from the usual utterly laid back Cyprien. I was delighted and amused by Cyprien telling me about the impact tout le monde on Burgundy Report last year. Apparently lots of friends and acquaintances have contacted the Arlauds from places such as Australia to say they had seen my rambling prose and photos.

Arlaud commence le vendange this coming Saturday. Little evidence of folk starting in the vines I passed en route. Was amazed though to hear Rousseau had started and Cyprien mentioned another domaine having finished!!!! Romain Arlaud and the superbe Herve arrived whilst we were chatting – Romain without last year’s plaster cast on his wrist but with an impressive scar were he cut his thumb tendon pre vendange. He too was full of my Burgundy Report 08 piece – tres bon !!

On to Pernand via a sleepy Vosne. Very much a sense of something about to ‘explode’ to disturb the rural peace. Someone had the builders tower crane en propriete. Had the obligatory stop by Romanée Conti – grapes looked good if bit mixed. Some photos to follow.

Never replaced my irreparably damaged Sony after last year always having other calls on my cash without enough for the desired Canon G10. Am using my 15 year old daughter’s very fetching shocking pink Fuji Finepix – slightly hampered by not having time to read the instructions!!!

Arrive en Pernand – plus beau village. Took photos on the way in by Ile des Vergelesses. Arrived at the domaine to meet Jean-Claude, a Belgian regular of 27 vintages and Patrice, a young guy from the Vosges who’s now my room mate in the rambling house the vendangeurs share up the village just past Bonneau du Martray. House belongs to Christine Dubreuil and husband Nicolas Gruere. Very comfortable if basic and a big step up in the comfort stakes indeed compared to Arlaud – particularly bathroom + shower – almost bliss!!! Various other vendangeurs arrived – will be quite a few of us in the house.

La famille Dubreuil are very nice. Christine’s English is word perfect, father Bernard is a lovely guy but no doubt who’s in charge – Maman !!! Christine’s husband, Nicolas, is a very quiet, pleasant, studious chap. There are 2 daughters which begs a succession question idc.

Tuesday a.m 7 o,clock start pour dejeuner in the refectory , immediately left as one comes thro the gates. Nice vaulted room but incongruously spoilt for me by a bizarre modern suspended ceiling unit. Walls have concours certificates (recent) and black + white St Vincent Aloxe + Pernand photos of vignerons tasting in a cellar. The 1959 photo is charming in terms of attire – all berets or flat caps, heavy coats and what look like clogs.

The property is une grande maison ou petite chateau with graveled courtyard, office, cave and tasting room.

Out into the vineyards we go – seems a lovely day and it is !!! Gets hotter and hotter. By end of the day I thought 25 C but my new friend, Benoit, thought it nearer 30C.

Quelle surprise – we start in Corton Bressandes Grand Cru. Just along from a plot of the Hospice and beyond that of Jacques Prieur. As I bend to my first vine with what are annoyingly blunt secateurs it’s like I haven’t been away for a year. Same routine of leaf strip, find the stalk + snip. Wear one glove on my left hand which is soon dripping wet with juice. Grapes look superb. Big, tight, compact heavy bunches. Ground is dry underfoot for my Merrell’s which soon though are sandy clay coloured. Dubreuil must have a big plot of Bressandes as we make 2 or 3 passes through it with what I counted later as 37 vendangeurs. Panty of locals, all sorts of ages, lots of regulars and a large contingent of cheery Poles. In the winery is Kirsten from Australia, went to the other Aussie wine university other than Roseworthy.

After Bressandes we move to a small parcelle of Corton Clos du Roi and whip thro it before lunch. Grapes are quite a bit different here, in my row anyway, being thin, straggly, small bunches – younger vines maybe?

Cold chicken pieces and salade for lunch. Dubreuil are employing outside caterers – not something I have come across before but a measure of the seriousness of the meal. Very passable vins blanc et rouge accompany lunch. Tried to find out what they are but much indifference.

Afternoon is taken up with a section of Pernand Ile des Vergelesses, big thick, easy to pick bunches. Bucket soon fills up for the shout of pannier. Dubreuil do the vineyard system different to what I’m used to with cases scattered around the rows before we arrive. Then various guys collect buckets to the cases before the tractor arrives to collect to a trailer at the end of the vineyard. The tractor driver is crazy – the Bobard hurtles dangerously around but has a great feature I haven’t seen before whereby when it’s dropping or collecting cases the driver can lean or drop one side of the tractor (with a shrieking noise).

Great first day finishes in Savigny Ile des Vergelesses which bizarrely is above the Pernand site nearer the tree line. Noticed this year several young guys have music players – heard one guy, with others joining in, singing Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” – little bizarre but quirky..

Will sign off here with 1st installment…

Beaune, Pommard and Aloxe Corton next and robbing a fig tree!!

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

There are 4 responses to “harvest 2009 – day 2 wednesday 10th – ‘mark de pernand’”

  1. Will10th September 2009 at 2:19 pmPermalinkReply

    Lovely piece, almost feels like I’m there!

  2. Krysten Koehn20th July 2010 at 8:15 pmPermalinkReply

    Hello Mark,
    I stumbled across your writings looking for information about le vendange and how to volunteer. I have no experience whatsoever but would love to experience it. Could you provide any information on how to go about participating? I would really appreciate it!
    Meilleurs salutations,
    Krysten Koehn

    • Mark Gough9th August 2010 at 8:35 pmPermalinkReply

      Hello Krysten,

      Sorry I have not replied sooner. Bill alerted me by email to your post but that was just as I was taking my wife and daughter to the Dordogne for a family holiday – we only got back yesterday, 8th August.

      In 2006 I was just like you ! But I bet I am older and more unfit !! Anyone can soon get into what’s required – it can be very tough though and not as romantic as it might seem. Its always worth the hard work though and for me the camaraderie and escapism being in the vineyards is wonderful (from my grim bank job !). Some of the terroir sites are achingly beautiful places – Pernand Sous Fretille, Clos Berthet, Beaune Montrevenots and Clos St Denis all spring to mind as just 4.

      I am going back this year to Domaine Arlaud in Morey were I worked in 2008 but that was a tough decision as I could just as easily have gone to the wonderful Dubreuil- Fontaine family in Pernad-Vergelesses as in 2009.

      If you wanted to go to either I’d be happy to help you get fixed up. It’s not too late I’m sure.

      Email me to :- goughie13@hotmail.com and we can ’email-discuss’ more as you wish ?

      Look forward to hearing from you and being able to provide more help.


      Mark (Gough)
      aka Mark de Morey ou Pernand.

  3. Phil Eaves22nd July 2010 at 6:10 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Mark

    glad to read you are enjoying yourself once again, did you set your compass you seem to have a better understanding of which vineyard your in this year?

    Looking forward to the next instalment

    cheers Phil

    • Mark Gough9th August 2010 at 8:42 pmPermalinkReply

      Hi Phil,

      Good to hear from you again since the Corton-Charlie tasting.

      We must meet up in London sometime soon and share some Burgs.

      Domaine Arlaud, Morey for me in 2010 . Had to be after being out on the town until past 4 a.m. in the morning with Cyprien in London after the Jan 2010 enprimeur tastings. I was touched by the enthusiastic reponse from Cyprien when I mailed in May 2010 to ask if I could come back.

      Am feeling guilty though as I have just had an email from Christine (Dubreuil ) asking if I was returning to Pernand this year. I wish I could spread myself across the 2 domaines.

      Will have ageing Blackberry in hand for crazed vendange ramblings should Bill wish to post.

      Christine is mooting 20th September as rough start date but I’m a bit surprised she can work that out so soon. Seems like might not be too dissimilar timing wise to the late 2008.



  4. Ray Walker11th August 2010 at 10:50 pmPermalinkReply

    Mark, I wish I had seen this post earlier. I really enjoyed it. It would be great to catch up with you while you are here. I spend a good amount of time in Morey and I live just a few villages down.

    Keep up the excellent work and we are all waiting for more of your energetic prose.



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