mark – pernand-vergelesses day 3 thurs 10th sept

Update 8.8.2012(16.9.2009)

Morning over to Volnay. Now here’s a genuine steal cum bargain of a wine in that a la Dubreuil-Fontaine the Volnay is a blend of premier cru and village and is currently Euros 18 !!! Think I need some. Quite often when a domaine wine has been produced for tasting it has been a Volnay.

For the record the 3 PC sites, all below the RN74, are Carelle Sous Chapelle, Les Brouillards and Les Lurets. The latter was a mystery to me until today. We started in Carelle and a hard morning’s graft switching sites saw all Volnay done. The Carelle was right up to the Chapelle wall off which the sun bounced.

The afternoon per my notes seems unremarkable – Pernand 1er cru Ile des Vergelesses again and yet more of what seems the unremitting Aloxe Corton rouge (although I have wondered if I’m getting my P-V and A-C villages mixed up .?)

This was “it” vineyards wise – one soon gets settled into a daily routine. Emotions picking can be mixed from the initial (for me) early morning stiffness, peer pressure fear of keeping up / not wanting to fall behind, exhilaration at the sometimes achingly beautiful sites and vistas, cursing the blunt secateurs (swapped mine a few days in getting so exasperated), getting cross with the lack of effort from certain vendangeurs and unwillingness to help others, getting cross with the porteur who was supposed to empty one’s bucket when full, cursing the bunches of grapes which are twisted amongst vines, stems, wires and refuse to be parted, the essential constant water volume intake to slake a thirst like no other, relief / exhilaration at completing a row, etc etc.

Our full day’s routine starts with breakfast ( coffee, tea, or chocolate with bread + jam or marmalade) at 7 a.m., then gathering in the courtyard with Madame Annie Dubreuil taking a register of attendance with long wooden clipboard, followed by ‘mounting’ one of the 3 camions (vans) to the initial destination. Certain need to be both organised and initially warm – for me I need to check I have secateurs, rubber glove for left hand only (prefer to keep right hand ‘free’ for secateurs), knee pads, blackberry for any spare journal moments (fleeting hence my being so behind), camera, water bottle, reading glasses and suitable clothing. Has soon got warm but first thing can be a bit ‘nippy’.

The usual main events of the day (morning departure, lunch, dinner) are all signalled by the vigorous ringing of a wall mounted metal bell. We are usually in the first vineyard by 8 unless going a distance and, like Arlaud last year, Dubreuil-Fontaine seem to be one of always the first into the vines. We work flat out until somewhere between 9 and 10 and then seems to a religious break. At this point many of my fellow vendangeurs produce a large salami and soft cheese sandwich (chass-croux ?) which are made in the refectory kitchen pre departure. Almost unbelievably (to me) for the hour bottles of wine are also produced at this point – drunk from paper cups. Back to hard graft until around 12 then back to base for cleaning up then long leisurely lunch (vin rouge et blanc both on ‘free flow’ here). Lunch takes form of a salade or jambon persille type starter, main course of meat, poultry (duck and chicken), or sausage casserole, cheese board (keenly anticipated – something the English might usefully adopt as ‘standard’ then desert – a choice of fruit pot yoghurt. Apples and bananas both available for the pocket or immediate consumption. Vendangeurs, tractor cases pick up crew and cuverie staff plus family all sit down together at long trestle tables.

Lunch break concludes around 1.30 then off we go again until between 5.30 and 6. Time to clean up then, grab a shower and change for 7.30 ish relaxing dinner and convivial chat.

Besides the regular white and red wines (both delicious – I think 07) we have sampled all manner of wines including P-V 2006 Sous Fretille, Volnay 2006, Pommard 2003 1er cru Grand Epenots, P-V 2001 Ile des Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton Les Vercots 1994 and, in the cuverie at early evening wine time M. Bernard one night produced a Chapoutier 2001 Coteaux D’Ardeche. More terrific wine details in another instalment. This blackberry is giving me RSI !!!

Markis de Pernand

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