To be honest, it’s still very much the calm before the storm, but there are plenty of big names already in the vines…
It started with Olivier Lamy on Wednesday and then on Thursday he was joined by Dominique Lafon and Jean-Marc Roulot – amongst others. Today both Dujac and Vougeraie were in the vines – though only for their Côte de Nuits whites – in particular, Pierre Vincent was only picking his young vines in the Clos Blanc de Vougeot. One vigneron from Meursault dryly noting that much of Meursault might be picked before people start picking their grapes for cremant!
Given the thick skins of the (both colours of) grapes, it is clearly going to be something of a phenolic vintage, so maybe it’s better to be a little earlier with the whites, though not probably not the reds, as it wouldn’t hurt if their tannins had the chance to became smoother. Staying with whites; they certainly have only average acidity, but the tartaric is high and the malic quite low – so not much acidity will be lost during the malolactic fermentation, hence, people can wait if they like – yet many vigneron is now thinking that the grapes are presenting themselves very-much like they did in 2005 – and 2005 is/was rather a brutal white wine vintage, so maybe earlier will be better than later, the grapes often still look green, but many are already showing >12.5°…
2005? So it might seem.
More than one vigneron had previously told me that they thought the vintage could be a cross between 05 and 09, but as the harvest approaches, the form and presentation of the grapes reminds them more and more of 2005 – and looking like there may be just roast grapes to remove during triage as rot is so low. Tasting the pinot reveals quite some tannic structure, for this reason many will not rush into the vines to pick, despite many vineyards looking ‘ready’ already. As one vigneron put it to me “Based on the date of full flowering, and taking only an additional 95 days before picking – given that we had so much heat – that would mean that my Beaune Grèves should be picked on the 7th September – so there’s still a quite some waiting to be done, despite the grapes already looking fine.” Some producers seem pretty sure that the red grapes will continue to mature, without any great risk of rot – unlike 2007 and 2011 where the grapes turned very quickly as the rot developed.
So, just now, it looks like next week will mainly remain the realm of chardonnay harvesting, whereas the reds will mostly wait until after the 5th.