harvest – 25th september


saturday vendangesFor info, this year the Vougeraie harvest log is online – help yourself.

So yesterday evening was leftovers and two grand crus, both from Camille Giroud; a 2007 Corton-Charlemagne and 2008 Charmes-Chambertin – both very good indeed as somebody might say, actually the Charlemagne could have been fine-plus!

I mentioned yesterday the potential this year for a Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits divide, so lets get into that: It hangs on maturity and the weather. Much of the Côte de Beaune will have been harvested (we’re talking reds) by Monday and at decent maturity too. There is some rot, but few of the best sites have been significantly affected – grape quality was rather good, 2006++. Despite also having excellently clean grapes (still) the Côte de Nuits has an issue – in general the grapes are not yet ready to pick. 11-12° is still common. While we had blue skies and sunshine the cold temperatures were not too much of a problem – photosynthesis continues. Now we have cloudy skies, (even) cooler temperatures and more rain in the forecast, 5° or lower overnight. I expect a sudden rush into any vineyard that reaches 12.5°, maybe even a bit less! The forecast says it may turn warmer and sunny Tuesday or Wednesday – but the forecast has a poor record this year. Côte de Nuits producers will be hoping the forecasters have got something right…

Today the pickers are out at first light, just about 7:30 – there was a little rain overnight, but we have dry, fairly bright, if cloudy skies. Onwards with Pommard Clos des Vergers – this is a villages plot but the grapes are frankly excellent – hardly any triage is required, lovely stuff. You tend to be quite concentrated whilst triaging, so it was a surprise mid-morning when I looked around to see that there was some heavy rain. It lasted about 20-30 minutes, before we moved back to cloudy with sunny spells. After the Pommard, Santenay 1er La Comme. These grapes needed a bit more care to weed out unripe binches (bunches that really shouldn’t have been picked) and a little rot – a good result though, in the end I think we triaged well over 4 tonnes of Pommard/Santenay grapes before lunch.

Did somebody mention lunch? It was a simple affair of melon and Parma ham, veal with potato (Dauphinoise of-course), cheese (including probably too much Brillat-Savarin) and pineapple upside-down. Wine was a Giroud 2000 Hautes Côtes Blanc followed by Louis-Michel Liger-Belair’s first vintage of Echézeaux, the 2006. It remains the best Echézeaux I ever tasted from barrel though I was surprised how oaky this wine was, but aromatically it was a powder-keg of complexity, it needs much more time though.

Our afternoon will not be as packed as first planned because the pickers were told to stand down after the morning rain. Still, there’s plenty of villages Volnay this afternoon from a different contract to yesterday’s Volnay. The grapes are excellent, only some unripe bunches to pull out and some with verjus – tiny ungrown green berries amongst the ripe ones – to remove. So we have an early finish, we can start the clean-up already at 6pm…

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