a tour de beaujolais – plus…

Update 22.9.2016(20.9.2016)billn

Today I took a day-tour through Beaujolais with a little Saint-Veran and Pouilly-Fuissé tagged on for good measure.


It started with blue sky and sunshine in Beaune, if only 14°C. Beaujolais, however, was cloudy with a temperature too warm for a pullover, but borderline too cold without – tsk…

I started my Tour de Beaujolais in Brouilly, looking in on the early grapes cut by Château Thivin. It’s nice to see (eventually!) plenty of grapes on the vines – just don’t mention that to those that were hailed around Morgon/Fleurie/Moulin-à-Vent! On the hillside in the Côte de Brouilly I took some images of the goblet vines with their ‘hair up’ – ie with the growth from the arms all tied together above the vine, sometimes using a wooden post in the middle for support.

I then drove on to Regnie (or Regnié or even Régnié depending on what signs you see) before Villé-Morgon for lunch. Next a tour through Chiroubles before returning to Morgon-Bellevue to see the first grapes being triaged at Château de Bellevue – in this case Moulin-à-Vent for the Hospices de Moulin-à-Vent cuvée. The quality looked pretty good – triage was more cursory than in Beaune – but to my eyes the grapes looked very good – just a little rot to be pulled out. The first part of this tank (the bottom of the tank) was getting whole clusters and then afterwards it was going to get some destemmed grapes on top – here was also the tallest ‘giraffe’ I’ve seen! I’ll try to post some short videos of this – try! EDIT: Okay, 3 days later:

  • Gamay processing and a big giraffe:

Then onwards through Fleurie and onto Moulin-à-Vent / Romaneche-Thorins. Whilst checking out some of Jadot’s vines here near the windmill I saw a slow-moving tractor with cases of grapes – Labruyère was stamped on the cases – I decided to follow! Edouard Labruyère was at home and showed me the grapes: “We have about 14 hectares and we lost about 4 of them to the hail – we have three parcels which we won’t even bother trying to harvest – but if I can ever use the word ‘good’ in connection with hail, at least this hail came at a good time, i.e. early in the grape maturing phase!

“Today is our first day of harvesting and we’ve done the hailed vines first, and apart from a little rot, they look good – though I’ll be destemming this, as you can see the hail marks on the stems. Over the whole harvest we will probably destem about half of the harvest. We’re going to take our time harvesting, probably doing about 1-1.5 hectares per day – we should be done in 8 days or-so.”

So, a little hailed grapes to control – but not everywhere – still a little rot to triage as the mildew pressure was as bad here as anywhere in May/June – but the dryness then took over. There’s actually been less rain here than in the Côte d’Or – only 18mm in the last week – they might have liked a little more. It’s very early days, as this is the first day harvesting for some, many others have not yet begun. It was the same story as I traveled through Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé – I saw only 1 team in some distant vines, all the other grapes seemingly still on the vines – some of these tasted ready, others still a little acid-forward.

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