Just back from two days in the Côtes; almost certainly my last two before the harvest.
Tuesday started with a sultry 32°C heat – but the clouds were gathering, and so was the concern – the Côte d’Or was on ‘amber-alert’ for storms and that included hail, usually there’s not so much warning…
The vines looked in rude health – there is a little grillage as shown in my last ‘vintage 2011’ post, and it can be as much as twenty percent in some isolated parcels, but as one vigneron told me with a smile “that saves a green harvest! ” There were just one or two areas in the Côte de Beaune where there was some veraison (the green grapes starting to turn red), mainly in the young vines, but I didn’t find any in the Côte de Nuits. The vines are also very clean – no rot or fungus to be seen – though warm weather and plenty of rain can see an outbreak develop in about 10 days for insufficiently treated vines. Actually, while I was there a number of vignerons were completing what they described as their last treatments of the year; certain of those treatments cannot be made within thirty days of the harvest… At lunch I met Arnaud Orsel of the Confrérie Chevaliers du Tastevin; they had just decided where the ‘Saint Vincent’ would be held in 2012, and it was a surprise! Pushing the Unesco world heritage sites angle, they decided they would have the St.Vincent in not just one place, but three; Dijon, Nuits and Beaune – it sounds like a lot of walking to me 😉
As Tuesday wore-on the cloud became thicker and the odd rumble of thunder was an accompaniment. Those not treating their vines seemed to be bottling; mainly generic 2010s but also some later 2009s. Plenty of rain in the early evening, lightening too, but no hail. This continued the whole night with a show of spectacular thunder and lightening. Morey St.Denis received 14mm of rain – that was probably about average.
Wednesday we found out that not everyone escaped; the Saone plain to the east had plenty of hail – half golf-ball size – and some of that crept into Santenay too. I’ve still no info how bad that was, but everywhere else escaped. It was much cooler, about 18°C, raining incessantly if not particularly heavily.
Although in the last years we have seen harvests in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits often happening at the same time, the Côte de Beaune domaines are looking to start anywhere between the 20-25th August but the Côte de Nuits are typically looking at the 29th August onwards. A few more cloudy days at 18°C and they might add another two or three days to that – let’s see…
For info I didn’t just visit a bunch of old haunts, there were also two new domaines; Digioia-Royer (just say ‘de-joy-a’ and you are close enough) in Chambolle and Henri Jouan in Morey, good wines but infos on those will be in the Autumn issue.
Still travelling so not much in the way of wine drunk around here – tsk!