a vendangeur’s (pictoral) tale… (part six)

We finished lunchtime, praise be the lord, after another testing episode – it was so cold first thing back on that damn Haut Cotes de Nuit plateau, with a claggy mist exacerbating the cold, that my jacket had ice on the left arm (honestly) and you can imagine what one’s hands felt like – yes, blocks of ice. Really bad. Herve was shamed into a mid break before we turned back for a second pass with coffee and croissants supplied – sun out by then. Absolutely without a shadow of doubt THE most testing vendange one can imagine with a legacy of ailments for your’s truly who’s semi crippled. Cyprien agreed with me earlier this p.m the grapes from here were depressingly bad with rot, although deceptively looked good at the start . This is another new, first time for this year, terroir where Cyprien told me he had not had the ability to manage the vineyard how he’d have wished and that it was way too prolific. Flippin freezin again now sat typing here at the back of the cuverie and my RSI’d right arm is going bonkers – really painful. Hey ho !

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

There are 2 responses to “a vendangeur’s (pictoral) tale… (part six)”

  1. Mark Gough18th October 2013 at 4:26 pmPermalinkReply

    Just to clarify, Day 6 here was Tuesday, 8th of October. When I refer to finishing lunchtime then that was Sunday, 13th October and, having the resultant afternoon ‘free’, I was able to ‘escape’ to the Arlaud cuverie from the village accomodation where we stayed, eat meals, operated to/from etc etc. Only at the cuverie was I able to use the impressiveley fast Arlaud wi-fi (wee-fee en francais !) connection. Bill’s posting is a couple of days after ‘remittance’ due to his mountain break (lucky chap !).

    Am grateful to Bill for using my amateur shots but in the case of the prose above I didn’t realise he was going to copy it over verbatim from one of my emails sending him the photos – not that it matters 🙂 . I should have used that prose to have another suitable ‘go’ at that rubbish football team, Man Utd !

    A quick further word on the closing two days weather although I will have some more photos there to come. – about to caption and fire to Bill today. Saturday the 12th started generally ok, and early afternoon was really quite nice when we first ventured onto the Hautes-Cotes to gather Arlaud’s high trained (super to be able to pick at waist height standing up !) Chardonnay. I was in quite a lather after this, as we were like greased lightning on the Chardonnay & seemed to have it done in minutes, hence dispensed with my (thin) waterproof jacket and fleece top i.e was just down to two thin baselayers. Moving on to the Pinot a few miles away this was on a very high plateau above Vosne and crossed by electricity pylons. As we picked with difficulty given the extent of rot, along very long rows, & as we were nearing the end, maybe about 4 pm ish it started to spit with rain. Within minutes it was very heavy and the Vente du Nord had also sprung up from nowhere. Gritting my teeth I carried cutting for a while but then gave up to run back to the van for my clothing on the far side of the plot where we’d started which put me well behind my fellow suffering team mates. I then expected an early abandon but Herve Arlaud was clearly uber keen to try and finish that night hence a halt in by then most seriously unpleasant cold, darkening, and wet conditions didn’t come until 5 p.m.

    We reconvened to finish the Sunday morning. That dawned bright clear and very cold – I believe 0 degrees C in Morey with at least one of our two flatbed trucks having ice on the inside of the windscreen. On the Hautes-Cotes it was similarly cold with the vines also dripping wet. A claggy fog soon also descended hence my comments on ice on my jacket sleeve, honestly, and frozen gloved hands. That morning was ‘it’ for our vendange conclusion more or less. Quite the most difficult in all of my now 6 vendanges. Anyone with romantic notions – just forget it. Minutes on that Hautes-Cotes would have blasted such thoughts away. This is all seriously difficult farming – make no mistake. I have always, always, had the utmost respect for the Burgundian vigneron, many of whom I’m so glad to count as friends, and this was only enhanced by events of the 2013 vendange. Anyone moaningabout Burgundy price rises then I say you don’t know what you are on about & just try the likes of farming that Hautes-Cotes all the year around – seriously ? I returned home to NW England Weds 16th, driving from Morey, to find that, despite two hearty meals a day, I had lost three quarters of a stone in weight (4/5 Kgs ?) over my 10.5 day vendange.


  2. goughie1321st October 2013 at 12:48 pmPermalinkReply

    For info am reliably informed the smiley gentleman in the 3rd photo down, 3rd column above, is one Henri Audiffred of Vosne’s Domaine Audiffred. He was an obliging, good ‘sport’ in allowing me to snap his photo. Someone I’ll hope to meet again in the future, maybe in more ‘conventional’ circumstances.

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