Right – this is the image I conjure in my head every time a vigneron(ne) starts to talk of their conversion to organic viticulture – or a next step to biodynamics* – surely the bottle that comes from the pictured Chevalier-Montrachet will be worth at least €350! But up to Easter you can easily spot the vineyards where, cheaper, short-cuts have been made – with herbicides. I get on my high horse about this every year yet because, despite many domaines’ trigger-happy approach to pricing, the weening off of their reliance on herbicides seems to progress at a more glacial pace.
I note that the corner of Criots Bâtard-Montrachet that was so often turned chemical-orange in recent years is, this year, ploughed – and not just to hide the evidence of chemical treatment (yes, domaines do that,) I could find no part-hidden tufts of orange grass this year – progress! Would that so much of neighbouring Puligny-Montrachet could take similar strides – there can be no excuse from the perspective of pricing. I expect flower meadows at the prices of even the village wines of Puligny today – stark are the differences of neighbouring plots – ploughed or just sprayed. Oh, and it’s not just the village wines – significant areas in the 1er crus are also moonscapes right now, vineyards that are lush with growth when I visit them in the summer with their likeable owners – yet right now they are a (very) depressing sight – unlike the Chaevalier-Montrachet in my photo.
*A very well-known producer made me laugh last week when he told me, “I believe in 2 things – science and God – because when one has no answer the other does – which is why I struggle with biodynamics!”
As a contrast to the flower meadows I offer you also some of the other photos I took yesterday in Puligny: