2018 harvest – thursday 6 sept in chablis & irancy


Chablis Les Clos – on the triage table.

A day in Chablis – no rest for the wicked!

But first to Irancy – unlike the morning rain in Beaune, here was cloudy, indeed a little misty, but dry. The grapes looked resplendent – and the quantity too – they won’t make up for the lack of grapes in 2016 and 2017, but they will warm the hearts of the the vigneron(ne)s!

Onward to Chablis, I dropped into Long-Depaquit who had begun their harvest on Tuesday – they are one of the earlier harvesters but by no means the earliest – I heard Laroche were one of the first in some parcels. I was met not just by Cécilia Trimaille (who’s following on from Matthieu Mangenot) but also by the most beautiful looking Les Clos grapes – not a bad first impression!

Cécilia explained that one or two sectors had lacked a little water, so are later ripening, but the magic of the grands and 1er crus meant no such problem there. Long-Depaquit are harvesting 65 hectares by hand, normally this should take about 10 days or so with a team of about 50 in the vines. I noted that the grapes are delivered in quite small cases which each contain 10-12 kg of fruit, this year requiring only a simply triage to remove leaves before being pressed – there are a row of presses here holding up to 5 tonnes of fruit. This year each press runs for about 2 hours 20 minutes, with a slowly increasing pressure – apparently the extractions quite easy this year. The juice then spends one night in tank at 13°C to settle, they then analyse, allowing the start of the ferments in tank before dropping the juice into barrel – “It’s easier this way, keeping the juice at 18° before dropping into the barrels.” Vaudésir would be their first wine in barrel later today – all the barrels in the cellar are 1-3 years old. It’s not a large cellar as not many wines see oak, and the most oaked wines still only see 25% barrel…

Before heading home I toured the grand crus and then revisited Irancy with Laurent Ternynck of Domaine de Mauperthuis to check out his beautiful césar in Palotte – planted in 1933 – so over 80 years-old. Over 60% of their vines in Palotte are césar which is very inconvenient as since 2000, a maximum of 10% is allowed in the wine – at least if it to be called Irancy! This year the grapes looked fabulous – they will be harvested a ‘bonne semaine‘ after the pinot – so read 8-10 days into that. As I got back to Beaune I was met with relatively heavy rain – unlike dry Chablis – but by 6pm it was over…

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