mark’s vosne harvest – day 3

Domaine Michel Noellat et Fils, Vosne-Romanee – Vendange Day Three, Sat 21st Sept 2019

Into our third day and routines becoming well established and, for me, working practices clearer – if I approved or not !

For the Gilles sub team the weekend saw a departure – that of the porteur/chauffeur man himself – to Lyon to stay with one of his daughters, to return for Monday. As a substitute we had my room mate, Jean-Claude No2, if I can call him that to differentiate from his more forthright associate – Jean Claude No1 being the leader of another sub team, the tee shirt modeller from the Day One photos and our room through the night snorer. J-C2 is a quietly spoken, semi-reserved, no edge on him, pleasant guy so I was pleased to see him ‘lent’ to us for the weekend in a leadership role, notwithstanding this was his first vendange.

My neck was still extremely painful despite ibuprofen and pain relief gel. I also continued in my spectacles figuring I’d give my right eye a rest for several days then try the lenses again. Coffee first thing was always on machine free flow in our dining ‘shed’, with teabags/kettle if different brew preferred. Food was available but I never investigated exactly what as I’m always content with just a Cadburys breakfast bar (other bars are available !), particularly knowing a casse-croute break was to come idc.

So, where to today ? With J-C2 in the driver’s seat for us our convoy headed out of Vosne in the same direction as we’d taken yesterday to Vougeot. We didn’t get that far this time as GC Echezeaux was our destination – not unfamiliar to me as Arlaud had a few rows here from 2013 inclusive as one of the ‘& Arlaud’ offerings Cyprien took on from that infamous, difficult year (other than the NSG 1er Porrets which featured in 2012). I’m pretty certain we were now in Echezeaux du Dessus. Lovely morning again, sun coming up, and not a cloud in the sky. Our first rows, nice looking grapes bar odd dodgy bunch, took us uneventfully to the casse-croute break just after 9.30 a.m. The dogs were with us again, now as an established feature – but no chocolate titbits from me so’s I could avoid unwarranted abuse & poisoning accusations ! Instead, and never fancying the charcuterie myself, I let others give the dogs bits of fat etc. I confined myself happily to bread and cheese, with just water as the drink in my ‘meal deal’ ! Today’s casse-croute break seemed a little drawn out so, becoming a little bored, I wandered along the vineyard road we were on just some yards north towards Vougeot. I was then utterly amazed to realise I was looking at the Arlaud rows from past years, readily identifiable from the white (as Arlaud use) daubed marker post and heavy sleepers containing the soil to the start of one row where the land fell away slightly. Quite some coincidence – if the Arlaud rows weren’t directly next to Noellat’s they were only separated by a few !

Anyway, we continued post break with the remaining Ech rows but at some early juncture there was something of an amused commotion leading to us standing up. This was on account of one of the other sub teams, notable for including the leading lights from lunchtime singing, having dressed up in Gilet-Jaune uniform !!!! This was highly amusing, although I never established what prompted it. I was much taken/amused by one of the guys even including a ‘fetching’ dayglo yellow hat with ear flaps to enhance the gilet jaune ! Once we’d all exited our completed rows I grabbed quick opportunity to photo the G-J team.

From Echezeaux we took a short drive past Musigny and Les Amoureuses before turning left towards Chambolle, but almost immediately took another road left through the vines where we parked up to tackle an upslope piece of Chambolle Village – and very nice aspect up hill it had too with track and trees/shrubs to the top. I’ve spent some time looking closely at my ‘Climats & Lieux-Dits’ bible (everyone remotely interested in Burgundy should have a copy imho) to try to work out which vines we were picking in. Initially, but mistakenly, I thought we were in ‘Les Pas de Chats’ (across the road from Les Feusselottes’) but I was looking at the wrong road, instead our vehicles were parked at the edge of the next road south. Thus, I reckon we must have picked in either Les Gueripes or Les Foucheres or both.

Very pleasant in whatever terroir it was, with my sub team cruising efficiently ahead of the others up to lunch. In fact I, and I think it was Donna, with joint exquisite timing, actually had just picked the very last vine at the top of our designated rows as the call came to cease for lunch. Quite a coincidence, and similar was to happen to me on my own that afternoon in a section of Fixin Village. No photos of lunch taken today ! I must have been concentrating hard on my nosh !

Onto the afternoon and no photos taken either, sorry ! Typing this back in the UK post vendange (and a little stupidly not having scribbled just outline reminder notes as has been my practice previously) I’ve been falling back in part on my photos to remind of our itineraries/locations etc. When no photos have featured this is generally a sign of a few influencers e.g I’ve not been enthused/excited enough by location etc to prompt camera use, or; the weather has been bad enough to prevent me getting the camera out etc etc. For this 3rd day p.m. we journeyed to a particularly flat, low on the ‘slope’, uninspiring piece of Fixin Village (without getting close to the village proper some way ahead) we were to come to more than once. Its lower edge was a public road with residential dwellings on the other side. I can only think now we must have been, most likely, in ‘En Clomee’ – if not there then am not sure ! Exciting it wasn’t though, and the rows long. Bit hard to see why it might be designated ‘village’ other than, say, Bourgogne Rouge. Fruit was ok, no issues there, but the afternoon was a bit of a physical slog, for me notable only that, as mentioned above, I again just happened to finish my row, a little way ahead of others, coinciding with the c 18.00 hrs call to end the day. I cursed gently to myself thinking that if we came back to take up & finish where the others had left off I’d probably ‘suffer’ as having finished my row ! Maybe a lesson for me I can hear some of you thinking !

So, good day, both of the domaine Grand Crus dealt with, along with NSG Aux Boudots, but absolutely no sign/mention of us heading to the domaine’s premier crus, Morey’s 1er Clos Sorbes, Savigny or Pommard. Instead, for now, we seemed to be on a CdN Villages fest but I told myself it had only been Day 3. I recall it might have been this day’s lunchtime that I managed, pre lunch, to ask Madam Isabel Noellat about use of the domaine wi-fi and in her ever helpful, nothing too much trouble, way she’d printed off a page of A4 from her bureau computer which had all sorts of password details, and other IT related saved reference details – which, for me, had the extremely long wi-fi router key of numbers and letters. The evening of Day 4 was to be the start of my attempted log on frustrations !!!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 2 responses to “mark’s vosne harvest – day 3”

  1. Mike de Lange16th October 2019 at 8:46 amPermalinkReply

    That parcel of Échezeaux that Arlaud rented was in the sub climat of Les Rouges du Bas, so not Les Treux as Meadows reports. For my tastes, one of the best pieces. I remember Cyprien taking us there to have a look and him saying that he would love to get a long term métayage contract for it and then me putting it all together in my head, as the Méo-Camuzet and Grivot versions also largely come from there and I always like them too.

    • Marko de Morey de la Vosne16th October 2019 at 10:38 amPermalinkReply

      You’ve got me there Mike ! I was never quite sure which climat (is that right – climat ?) Arlaud’s very old vines Echezeaux was in, even after picking in those vines since 2013 inclusive – I had always thought must be Les Rouges du Bas or du Dessus but thought the former was too high and the wrong side of the vineyard road. I can’t recall Cyprien ever telling me (you were ‘honoured’ he took you there !) but I may never have asked. I eventually decided they are in du Dessus which to me seemed to be confirmed this time as Noellats are 100% in du Dessus with the Arlaud piece we used to pick, as I said, to my intrigued amazement just a very few yards along the same lower side of the road – clearly identifiable by white marker post and earth retaining wooden sleepers. Not going to fall out with you over this though – am wondering if Cyp showed you the same parcel or he initially had some vines in Les Rouges du Bas before we got involved in what he has now ? I do absolutely 100% agree Meadows is incorrect – as he has also been for years in his comments about Arlaud’s Charmes and Mazoyeres. Anyway’s need to hurry up with Day 5 😉

      Many of the critics, journos and (particularly) merchants could drive you daft by year on year ‘reporting’ domaine facts which have become hopelessly out of date cum wrong – and these people are allegedly visiting every year ! A ‘classic’ for me are the continuing references to Romain Arlaud when he has not been involved/at the domaine since the 2013 harvest (I’m not saying left the domaine either). To a lesser extent the same is true of sister, Berthille, but her ceasing to be involved is more recent – couple of years maybe. I even suggested to a merchant whom I have a lot of dealings with that they update their Arlaud references re Romain but I never got an acknowledgement nor did they change their ‘blurb’.

  2. Mike de Lange18th October 2019 at 1:08 pmPermalinkReply

    Mark, climat is correct and in French it means “parcel” in this context. I suspect you are correct also in the sense, that the Arlaud Échezéaux vines are at the eastern side of the road. I remember us standing on it looking down on “his” rows, then descending into the vines.
    I’m pretty certain Cyprien knows this as well, so that leaves me wondering why we were initially discussing Les Rouges du Bas, rather than Échézeaux du Dessus. Perhaps it was what he really wanted and it was right there on the other side of the road?

    We were indeed lucky to be taken into the vines with him for a viticulture lesson, but I have had the good fortune to travel with a certain gentleman from the land of Oz, who is universally loved by the vignerons whose wines he imports. Because of him, doors have been opened for me in the past, which I couldn’t have beaten down with a sledge hammer even if I wanted to.

    Meadows is dead wrong in a great many things, but of the many critics out there he is semi-useful to me (also our host, of course…;-) even if his TN’s are not nearly as good as Gilman’s. Once you figure out the bias caused by his personal preferences however, his notes are quite consistent and he is good at figuring out vintage characteristics.
    As for the vast majority of wine merchants, I have been battling them ever since my sommelier days and I want to have as little to do with them as possible. Greed and indifference are destroying our world in an ever accellerating pace and they do their part and then some.

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