Tuesday SEPT 19th
Pleasingly it had been dry overnight as we had a slightly earlier (by 15 minutes) departure than usual on this morning.
I’ve realised, belatedly, from my words of Monday (18th) after mentioning the overnight heavy rain, and Michel suggesting the Hautes-Cotes would have had less precipitation than Vosne, I didn’t actually address our a.m. working weather conditions. The smarter cum more observant of you though may have deduced said weather from my Monday pics showing cloudy, grey, heavy skies and our attire including wet weather clothing/footwear. It didn’t actually rain at all though during the morning & the day improved as it went on such that we had more and more sunshine through the afternoon in the Au Vallons vineyard and blue skies coming through. So, for the weather first thing in Fontaine St Martin (‘FSM’) the breakfast suggestions from Michel, and the weather monitoring were accurate. The ground in FSM, as heavily grassed, and sloping, meant no particular under one’s feet issues.
There was also another issue/incident from the 18th – this occurred late in the evening when I was going to bed and had me livid, not seeing anything amusing whatsoever, whether the ‘experience’ was a practical joke or not. And I was quite sure I knew which childish clowns were responsible. Chef was in bed reading when I arrived in our room, ready to get to bed. He commonly read on a Kindle or similar reader. I was a little non plussed initially to see some small square sheets of material as one might use for cleaning, and a few used corks, on and around my bed on the floor. I picked these up for intended later disposal. Some minutes later I pulled back my bed’s duvet (I always made my bed in the morning – aren’t I a well trained, good boy 😉) to reveal a scene of disbelief then mounting annoyance which quickly turned to anger, partly through tiredness, as I set to clearing the mess. My bed had seemingly had a waste bin of some volume emptied into it, the contents of which had been lots more used corks plus lots of other detritus of bottle foil tops, bits of foil, beer bottle tops and other undesirables.
Swearing softly to myself Jean-Michel had by now noticed and was almost as unhappy as I was on my behalf. As I pondered how to clear up the mess J-M kindly ferreted in his stuff and gave me an empty carrier bag which served the purpose. I hadn’t actually got around to undressing so, carrier bag in hand, and in high dudgeon, I marched downstairs, across the yard, into the kitchen space where a few folk were present including Michel (Gros) to whom I presented the carrier bag with as many appropriate choice words of French explanation as my vocabulary allowed. Initially, for split seconds, the reactions of those present other than Michel, were of amusement but such quickly disappeared to be replaced by solemn looks at the floor or otherwise convenient places as my anger cum fury was realised. As with the mounted wild boar head my mindset was similarly influenced by the fact that individuals had ‘invaded’ the privacy of the shared room of J-M and myself. It would never have crossed my mind in a million years to do similar – maybe I was brought up differently.
In handing the carrier bag of rubbish to Michel I also made the point of our room being ‘invaded’. To his credit, unsurprisingly as he’s such a nice man, Michel was quite shocked, with his response, such as he could muster given what must have been his surprise at my appearance and state of mind, one of assuring me he would speak with Pierre and see what might be done as to providing a key to lock our room or corridor outside (latter had a door to the stairs). A key was never forthcoming but the matter was never mentioned again, nor was there a repeat, although the following day at lunch as I passed through the kitchen Chef Jean-Michel covertly pulled me to one side and told me he’d had ‘strong words’ with unnamed individuals. All pretty ridiculous – probably a low point in my vendange.
For today, Tuesday, Day 10 the weather had been dry overnight as we headed back to Au Vallons and its views over towards Marey-les-Fussey. The latter is home to a number of domaines but, whilst I’ve driven through Marey a number of times, I’ve yet to stop and visit. I’d be interested in any Burgundy Report readers views on any Marey domaines and their wines. Perhaps the best known Marey domaines for me are Thevenot Le Brun and Joannet.
Our journey up to Au Vallons had us 5 up in the Toyota, Michel and myself as usual in the front but the other 3 passengers included 2 of the tractor drivers. The reason here was that, doubtless due to the distance back to Vosne, two of the tractors had overnighted in Chevrey were Domaine Gros rent a small garage (enough for one open older/smaller tractor – the modern other with cab was outside) from a retired vigneron. So, a quick pitstop for the tractor drivers to hop out and reclaim their vehicles – Michel just waiting until sure both tractors had started up without issue before we carried on.
Once at Au Vallons basically we had the same ‘script’ as the previous day. Initially we commenced in the rows only part done when we exited the evening before and completed those before ‘shuffling’ around the site, uphill and around a corner, before starting new rows. Working on these new rows, which were up/down the vineyard, and long (!), rather than across as previously, saw us up to lunchtime.
Back at the domaine saw the departure, with a final cheery practice of his English, of my laundromat friend, Florient, who was off to some alternative employment elsewhere.
Post lunch back again to Au Vallons and more of the same from the morning. The afternoon was a bit of a slog fest, the grapes not always the cleanest with some rot demanding self triage as cutting, and the rows long. At least it was nice and sunny, without being too hot, with less breeze than earlier in the day – water breaks between rows were welcome ! In terms of drinks I had a nice little advantage here as in not being reliant on the ubiquitous white cups. When working at Domaine Michel Noellat (I think for 2020 rather than 2019) we’d each been given a plastic cup, slightly larger than the norm, but those plastic cups fitted into a black rubber/plastic ring which also had a clip for attaching to one’s belt or similar. I’d ended up with two of these cup things and brought them both to this vendange – they were much envied & very useful. My only puzzle was why all the cups from Noellat (the same) had Gevrey-Chambertin’s St Vincent Tournante branding/stencilling (or similar) on them. I can only assume Noellat somehow ended up with a surplus ‘job lot’ of these cups. I’ll take a photo or two of them for pictorial purposes.
It was good to finish in late afternoon here. My back at base shower was welcome. My evening was again earmarked for ongoing laptop work but I now had my own supply of beers (not to excess) to ‘keep me going’. Our room was mercifully free of any issues.