2018 harvest – 28 august


Yes, it’s still August, and some people have already been doing it for a week!

Our Beaune team ‘only’ have vines in the Côte de Beaune – but that includes grand crus! Today, our first day of the 2018 campaign, was nearly 80% white, but 1er cru white. The remaining 20% of pinot wasn’t to be sniffed at though, as it was grand cru…

The team started in the vines at 07h30 – you can’t start much earlier as you will be in the dark – the first grapes arriving back in Beaune at about 09h00. The grapes looked really fine – only cursary triage required – practically zero rot, rare dried berries and just a little with sunburn, later bins showing occasional bunches with oïdium. Talking of later bunches, with each subsequent delivery, you could really feel the temperature of the grapes increasing – we almost touched 30°C in Beaune in the late afternoon, though the day had started below 10°C. Tomorrow there are storms in the forecast – and depending on which forecast you read, there may, or may not, be hail.

Large, medium, small…

Returning to the chardonnay, the berry size was average to a little smaller than average – certainly smaller than the grapes of 2017. When compared to the last few years also much moree golden than green colored. Let’s see how the analytics look, the grapes were certainly very tasty. The blockage in our system was very clear today – only having one press on a mainly white day; 7 bins of fruit – a little over 2 tonnes – standing waiting while the first pressing finishes and then the press has to be emptied. Today we need 3 presses…

Medium, small, large

Our red was Corton-Renardes – the grapes were, frankly, superb. Beautiful shape to the clusters, the best parts of the (0.25 ha) delivering the smallest berries I’ve seen since 2010 – and virtually nothing to triage, save leaves and a few dried berries. I’ve never seen such a small quantity of under-ripe and verjus (since 2004!) – either we have the best pickers in the world or 2018 has massive potential. About 20% whole clusters found their way into this cuvée!

More accurately, 2018 Corton-Renardes has massive potential. The levels of maturity are all over the place, some parts of Pommard actually don’t have 100% veraison yet! There is the possibility that this will be quite a long and drawn-out harvesting campaign – assuming the domaines have the picking teams available when the grapes are ready. Talking of teams; our domaine went to an agency to assemble the last 10 pickers that were needed, and having seen the forecasts for hot weather our leader mentioned to the agency that people ought to be prepared with hats (et-cetera) for the heat. The agency’s response was ‘Oh, don’t worry about them. If it’s 30°C, they will probably still be a little cold – they are all from Eritrea!

Despite the vineyard warmth there is little fauna in our deliveries, mainly some repatriated ants! Maybe tomorrow we will have some idea of the analytics – but as previously noted, given the variability in the vines, they will be specific to these parcels and not for generalising…

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