As promised, I also toured around the vines of the Côte de Nuits on Friday and inspected vines ‘here and there’ along the way.
As-ever, it seems that the Côte de Nuits has the lighter of the frost damage – though I’m definitely talking ‘on average’ because:
- Marsannay – most producers are desolate – it’s very bad here – plenty of reports of 80%+ losses
- Gevrey – on the hillside it mainly looks okay, but occasional crus such as Fontenys are cooked. Clos Varoilles and La Romanée are not so bad, but it’s complicated, because one producer will report that their Charmes is 100% okay, another will point to about 20% losses – Chambertin and Bèze are equally hit and miss – mainly the lower sections had problems here.
- Morey and Chambolle are similarly affected to Gevrey – mainly the lower vines having problems, but the crus not so much in Morey, more-so in Chambolle.
- Musigny (Petits Musigny) and the kings of Vosne look hardly affected (see the pics) though I noted some crisped leaves between Echézeaux and Grands Echézeaux.
- The real issue is that, like in the Côte de Beaune, it is the ‘bulk’ wines, those regional and village level plots that have been very badly affected. Really it’s too early to say, but in some places, like Marsannay, potentially well over 50% seems to have been lost.
Any improvements on ‘hearsay’ estimates will come only after fruit-set – so in about 4-8 weeks more…
Some are asking why candles were not used in the Côte d’Or to avoid damage – and ‘are they legal?‘ Well, yes, they are not particularly environmentally friendly, but they are legal. I even saw a nice ‘facebook picture’ of one producer’s square block of vines in Les Amoureuses, filled with candles. The problem is that nobody is ‘prepared’ to deploy them, and for two reasons:
- Unlike in Chablis, there’s no automatic alarm system to wake everyone at 4am when a trigger temperature is reached.
- Also, the last small frost damage (whites mainly) was 2010, you have to go back to 1991 for the last significant episode of damage.
So it’s really not on the radar of most producers – and just like in Chablis, it would be the important vineyards that were protected, not the vast majority. So really there would have been little difference in the volume of vine-growth that was lost.
The night in question (last Tuesday) was actually not that cold, rarely reaching as low as -2°C, but the ground was damp after plenty of weekend rain. If it had been dry, the vines would hardly have been troubled at that temperature…
Anyway, I showed enough pictures of singed leaves last week – so no more of those are required. From Friday: