Entries from 2023

Burgundy Report – WhatsApp Channel

By billn on November 08, 2023 #site updates

You may note that the ‘subscribe to mailshots’ link is now gone from this page – it became unworkable due to the number of spam emails added by bots – sigh! I’m still circulating (syndicating?) new posts in LinkedIn and, for now, Twitter.

No extra syndication route fits all user requirements but for ‘released right now’ this WhatsApp channel seems effective – assuming you are a WhatsApp user!

Just click on the WhatsApp image (right) on your phone* and you can sign up to see/get notification of all new posts on Burgundy Report. It’s been working now for a couple of days – and all seems well. Meta might get your data – but I don’t see it 🙂
*It’s not yet an option on the standalone desktop version of WhatsApp but it is working on the browser version!!

Domaine Michel Gros 2023 Vendange Day 13

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on November 08, 2023 #vintage 2023

Post descending vehicles pre work start HCDN Fontaine St Martin

Friday SEPT 22nd

Into Day 13 and on we go with no sign of a finish, blimey !

The morning had dawned bright & sunny with blue skies greeting us as, again, we returned to the Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Fontaine St Martin vineyard (‘HCDN FSM’) and its Pinot Noir – a Domaine M Gros Monopole.

Gabriel was his irrepressible non-stop talkative self in the back of the Toyota en route; the phrase “give it a rest” might have been coined for him ! Not much to say about our morning’s activities as pretty much the same as previously on this site. Same sub team for me which I was happy with. The Pinot Noir grapes from vines high up on this site were largely of pretty high quality – there was some rot to be dealt with but not much. I can’t recall the similar sort of incidence of burned berries and dry, brown leaves as had on occasion been evident on the Cote below. Whilst my few photos of the morning show the sunshine and blue skies, it was also pretty cool (as in temperature !) which is reflected in the attire, including footwear, exhibited by my colleagues. Incidentally, there are a couple of photos with a chap in blue pants and short boots, in one wearing a white tee shirt, another with him in orange jacket. Both photos have the same gent with a blueish rucksack on his back. This is Irishman Padhraic of lost, then found, bag ‘fame’.

A quick word or two on the domaine’s wet weather wardrobe provision – this was quite impressive and better than I’d ever seen elsewhere. I can’t remember now which was our first, or potentially first, wet day but on that morning, whenever it was, Pierre or Michel had opened up the main, roller shutter, door of the new, somewhat unfinished, building in parking area across the road from the original domaine buildings proper. This new building (videos of its build progress etc on the domaine’s web site) is not the new cuverie as I’d imagined but to be a bottle store (and presumably some other purposes). On the immediate left in the interior opened up by Pierre or Michel, on pallets, was quite a sizeable ‘wardrobe collection’ of wet weather attire i.e waterproof coats, jackets, over trousers and boots. All were neatly arranged in marked sizes and all carrying the name of the domaine. These were available for vendangeur use should individuals e.g moi, not have their own ‘stuff’. Very impressive and another of how this first class domaine operates & consideration for its workforce.

So, another morning passed by. Back to Vosne as usual for lunch (sorry, didn’t note, and can’t now recall, the menu).

Just before our post lunch departure it started to spit with rain. I’d left my jacket in my room hence had to hurry back quickly and get it so as not to be left behind or hold up departure. Good job I did (go for it) as it turned out to be essential.

We were back to the HCDN again but a surprise. Initially, through Chevrey and into the woods, I thought we were heading back to the above Marey-les-Fussey Au Vallons site but, no, and with the woods a bit of a maze of very rough tracks, we turned in the direction of Arcenant before parking on the track edge in quite a sizeable open area of uncultivated ‘oasis’ within the woods. Not anywhere we’d been, or passed through/by before. We trudged on foot ahead of/away from the vehicles for a short distance before turning left through a grassed gap in the trees for approx. 50 yards/metres, emerging at the top of a gently sloping quasi amphitheatre of vines, as before high trained and road tractor width, which went left to right across the site to more forest/woods on the far right-hand side. I’m not absolutely sure of the name of this site but it’s one of either:-
Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits En Frétoilles; or
Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Topet.

If I had to have a bet (am not a betting man !) then I reckon its ‘En Frétoilles’ as I think I did ask Michel about this with his reply accordingly. If so then ‘Topet’ is another site we went to later. For subsequent photos of later days I’ve captioned them as ‘En Frétoilles’ or ‘Topet’ given my uncertainty. Fruit from both of the above sites goes into the domaine’s Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Rouge. The wines from grapes from FSM and Au Vallon are labelled accordingly, identifying those sites.

As we arrived on foot through the trees to (let’s call it) En Frétoilles’ the rain started properly, leading us collectively to shelter in a copse of pine trees looking out over the amphitheater of vines backed by woods at its top and northern edge. A very pretty, attractive site – if not in proper rain ! Ultimately the rain passed over to allow us to work the rest of the afternoon, although initially the odd shower followed requiring one’s jacket hood to be raised if a hat wasn’t being worn. The rows were again notably long here, requiring us to be doubled, or tripled, to a row. I found this afternoon another tiring one hence some relief when ultimately end of the day was called, with a bit of a weary trek back to the vehicles. Michel was keen here, for some reason, for me not to have to wait for the Toyota’s return hence I found a spare seat in the domaine’s Citroen Jumpy driven by a young man who seemed to be Justine’s boyfriend with Justine, Angela and FonFon my fellow passengers.

The above would have been ‘it’ for recording the events of this day except for an occurrence I had not anticipated.

Historically, I’ve never worn a hat during a vendange or other times in my life come to that, other than the very odd fleeting occasion of extreme heat, but for this one & with age bringing about a crown bald patch on my otherwise decent head of hair (!) I’d brought two hats – an American style cap and a British style straw hat from a decent named maker which is my wife’s but she has never worn it – universal fit ! I’d been slightly amused when chatting to Cyprien Arlaud when I first arrived on the Cote when he said to me as we were parting “make sure you wear a hat”. I didn’t query then what prompted him to make this, unusual for me, comment but as it was circa 30 degrees C at the time perhaps such was caring & understandable. I did indeed take to wearing a hat for this vendange, the straw one for me being the more appropriately stylish. When the weather turned cooler and occasionally wet, I’d forsaken it, but a few days back on a warmer day I’d gone to look for it again in my room & not been able to find it. With no sign of it in either our dining cave, or in the Toyota, and after mulling the matter I’d eventually decided I thought I could remember hanging it on an end of row post low down in FSM during a late afternoon water break. With no opportunity to return to FSM I accepted I’d probably lost the chapeau unless, in due course, any member of the domaine staff subsequently working in FSM would see it and retrieve it (if in ok condition – doubtful).

During the morning of this day in FSM I was paired with the very pleasant young lady Angela who hailed from Schwartzbach. At one point whilst we were adjacent to each other in our row, and exchanging an occasional chat, out of the blue she startled me by quietly mentioning that she’d ‘heard’ something about my hat and my accommodation. She was carefully & diplomatically coy in her remarks and whilst I tried to check understanding and extract a little more info she would not be forthcoming but it was obvious she maybe knew more of my hat than she’d admitted. I was nonetheless very grateful that she’d decided to speak to me and at the coincidence that had us working together in the same row without which I wondered if I would have heard anything at all. I didn’t have time or opportunity to pursue at lunchtime but after the close of our working day, and back at the domaine after cleaning self and knee pads in the yard, I made my way to our accommodation house. I dumped my gear in our room and had a good look around in terms of cupboards, chest drawers, under the beds etc etc but couldn’t see anything. Sure in my own mind Angela wanted me to know I decided to start at the bottom of our building (a cellar) and work upwards through all the accessible areas for a sign of my hat. Nothing, thus a little frustrated I returned to my room, wearily plonking myself on the bed to ponder matters before standing up and moving to turn on the room light.

Chef and self commonly had the room exterior shutters closed but windows opened which necessitated the high ceiling’d centre light fitting of 3 unshaded bulbs being on. As I moved away from the light switch, out of the corner of my eye, there it was – my hat, hanging on one of the bulbs. I only noticed it now by ‘accident’ as it were. I guess the high ceiling and our comings and goings over the last few days often with the room in a degree of darkness meant neither of us had noticed the hat and its straw coloured nature. It was immediately obvious to me, seeing it now, putting “2 + 2 together to get more than 4”, that my hat had disappeared at the same time my bed had been ‘vandalised’ by the rubbish bin contents and thus one of the damn stupid Belgian ‘children’ youth was responsible.

It must have been a lucky ‘shot’, or maybe taken several attempts, to get the hat to hang on the light bulb, as I could not reach it standing on my bed, or that of Chef’s which was closer to being under the light fitting, and needed something else to reach. Looking around I could not immediately see a suitable implement or tool but then my eyes alighted on Chef’s quite long blue shoe/sock horn thing on top of his luggage. I grabbed it, precariously stood on the edge of his bed and, fortunately, with my first levering lunge managed to flip the hat off the light fitting and on to the floor. Eureka, and massive thanks to considerately helpful Angela. I decided not to mention the hat elsewhere other than subsequently to Chef & Angela, deriving a degree of satisfaction that the low life who’d deprived me of it would not be aware of its retrieval – as it was the weather hereafter was such that I didn’t need it (the hat) which I removed to the locked safety of my car – Grrrr !!!!

What will tomorrow, Saturday, Day 14 bring ?

We’ll see but maybe some Doggie action amongst the work meanwhile a few other aspects:-

  1. In my Day 12 commentary I mentioned a partially drunk bottle of Voillot ’93 Meursault 1er Les Cras and that I couldn’t recall who’d produced the bottle. I must be getting more affected by advancing years than I thought as it was a leftover swapsie from Bill & my evening in Beaune (Bill has mentioned it, and other bottles from our evening, in Big Red Diary). Sorry Bill !
  2. Also in my Day 12 ‘edition’ there’s a weird photo caption issue. In the second group of photos, top left, is a photo of a young lady, chin on her hand, sat on an upturned bucket, looking to the camera during one of our rest breaks. For some reason I can’t fathom, particularly as the caption I have in my saved photos is correct, the website caption refers to “Time for lunch………..etc”, the same as from an adjoining photo. The caption should read “Super Angela HCDN FSM”, the subject being my very same hat informant colleague.
  3. Lastly, as we neared the finish of our harvest efforts I got to thinking to myself I would regard this as a Michel (Gros) made vintage. Why do I say that ? Well, nominally eldest son Pierre is taking over from Michel who seems to be taking the slow process into retirement as Herve Arlaud has done. Pierre was prominent, particularly in the cuverie where he was most of the time, at the start of the harvest and for the first few days. But, and I can’t recall when I noticed, initially by his car not being present (he came daily – believe he and family live in Dijon), that he was no longer around – although he was present at the mid point Paulee. This was due to his wife expecting their 2nd child whose birth was imminent. More on this from Day 14’s words.


a small bottle download…

By billn on November 07, 2023 #degustation

Wine, that in some cases, I drunk over three weeks ago – so maybe just a few words about each.

2020 Gautherin, Chablis 1er Homme Mort
Hmm, I don’t know what to say – really delicious wine – but since a short bout of covid in September, I’m unsure if I can still spot pyrazines. This certainly had them before!
Rebuy – Maybe

22 Mystery Corton
From a Côte de Nuits producer and it’s not yet bottled – but it’s a beauty – I suppose you’ll have to wait for the reports 😉
Rebuy – Yes

2020 François de Nicolay, Beaujolais Villages
Wow – mega purple! The nose suggests a little volatility – but this is a really delicious drink. Large scale and just soooo good!
Rebuy – Yes

2014 Sylvain Dussort, Meursault Le Limozin
DIAM – so perfect wine. Just a faint suggestion of development and showing a hint more generosity than many from 2014. Complex, spiced – great villages!
Rebuy – Yes

2020 Fleurot-Larose, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos de la Roquemore (Blanc)
If I remember correctly this is a monopole within Morgeot – and a very rare one at that!
A nose that needs a little aeration due to some muscaté impression but it becomes clean and powerful. Concentrated, just modestly generous but then a grand finish, complex, wide – really a great finish
Rebuy – Yes

Gilles & Romaine Collet, Cremant de Bourgogne
An old faithful – just delicious!
Rebuy – Yes

2020 Jean Jacquin, Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Hmm – very tasty – but last time I tasted this there were some pyrazines (see my first note!)
Rebuy – Maybe

2017 Clotilde Davenne, Saint Bris Vieilles-Vignes
Silky, delicious, super wine – as always from here !!
Rebuy – Yes

2019 René Dufaitre, Brouilly Boldness
A magnum. Mainly drunk over 1 evening with friends (after the Collet crémant) – perfumed but with sweetness and richness but retaining a deliciously airy character. The last third of this on day two was already over the hill – so the moral of the story is….
Rebuy – Yes

2018 Clotilde Davenne, Chablis
I’m a little surprised by this – such a high volume vintage but here is rich delicious flavour – a wine that is drunk far too fast. Yum!
Rebuy – Yes

2005 Daniel Rion, Vosne-Romanée 1er Beaux-Monts
A wine that has only just been subsumed into the domaine of Michèle & Patrice Rion
A shy nose at the start but one that opens with clean, far from mature, aromas. This sits beautifully in the mouth – if anything, still a young pup. The finish impresses but on this performance it is a wine that I will wait for.
Rebuy – Maybe

2020 Alexandre Parigot, Meursault Le Limozin
Hmm – that’s got a nice, proper, faintly spiced aromatic. In the mouth this is rather powerful – almost a little burly – a bit 2020 you could say. But there is mouth-watering balance to this power and a very tasty finish.
Rebuy – Maybe

2005 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Corton-Perrières
This was an impenetrable brute on release – but now things are falling into place. An open, complex nose. Layers of flavour – complex flavour – and a super finish. 2005 Corton – that’s ready? Try this one !!
Rebuy – Yes

1973 Maison Thomas-Bassot, Beaune 1er ‘Theurons’
Friends in town. I had very low expectations – but bottles like these are such fun with friends – however they end up! Most of my early work involved extracting the cork in once piece – in the end it was 2 pieces – but all good! The first sniff seemed impressively positive! What a beauty! Complex, leafy, no bret, tons of red fruit interest and then there was the bpalate; silky, wide, generous. Oh we are being treated tonight. Bravo – a great old bottle!
Rebuy – No chance

2021 Bruno Lorenzon, Mercurey Clos Alfred
A wine of easy aromatics and tasty flavour – that’s about all that I can remember – sorry to say!
Rebuy – Maybe

2009 Ramonet, Chassagne-Montract 1er Clos de la Boudriotte (Red)
This gave a super impression on release though the oak was too overt. 5 years later, the remaining oak was really quite bitter – not nice. Today it has finally turned the corner – the nose is both complex and inviting and the flavours likewise – a suggestion of the oak remains but nothing to deter this drinker. Completely delicious though it’s taken the best part of 15 years. I’m still not a big fan of this vintage but things are beginning to stir in these bottles !!
Rebuy – Yes

2021 Pierre Vincent Girardin, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Eclat de Calcaire
On the winelist in a Meursault restaurant – so why not?
Ooh! Now that’s a great, clean-cut nose – chiselled and chalky – so far, it’s living up to its name! IN the mouth too – direct, minerla and so fine-boned. I don’t care that the label ‘only’ says Bourgogne – this is a great Bourgogne – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

2021 de Villaine, Bourgogne Rosé de Pinot Noir
Barbie-pink wax sealed. A wine that’s exclusively sold in the French market – I believe.
The aromas are clean-cut and perfumed – that’s a lovely invitation to drink. Juicy and tasty – 4 of us finished this far too quickly – vin dangereuse – ie you may drink it too fast because it’s so delicious!

ICYMI – Les Maladières…

By billn on November 06, 2023 #in case you missed it

In this case, Beaune – but what better representation of a Leproserie than the magnificent building on the outskirts of Meursault. Next time that you eat at Le Soufflot or Goutte d’Or – take 10 minutes to walk around this splendid relic of a building.

  • The Maladière de Beaune:In the shadow of the Grand Hostel Dieu, many other hospitals existed in Beaune. One of the most important was the Maladière, an institution in charge of one of the most feared diseases of ancient times: leprosy.

Featured Image courtesy the archives of Beaune

Domaine Michel Gros 2023 Vendange Day 12

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on November 05, 2023 #vintage 2023

Thursday SEPT 21st

In my out on the street (or in the car) predicament, all of my own making, during the early hours of this Thursday I sort of dozed fitfully on occasion, the night passing slowly until, hallelujah, around 6.00 a.m. I was very relieved, from my car, to see Michel come and open the gates. Too embarrassed to reveal myself immediately, I waited for him to disappear then quickly headed into the yard, to the house, and up to my room to ‘freshen up’, get out of my evening attire, into my work clothes and gather my work stuff before heading to breakfast, cool as a cucumber, as if nothing had happened.

I had a decision to make over my contact lenses (monthlies not dailies) but, as they felt ok I decided to leave them in – and as it happened they were fine although I guess c36 hours wear isn’t recommended. Chef Jean-Michel was asleep when I entered our room hence only later in the day did I admit to him what had happened – he was suitably amused !

Aside from my self-inflicted nocturnal ‘issues’ the big development at breakfast was a hugely relieved Padhraic being back in possession of his bag ! So happy for him. Turned out last evening Juliette had very kindly taken him back up to Au Vallon in her car & they both searched some more and found the bag – in an area where Padhraic and I hadn’t looked as, at the time, he had felt we were looking in the right area as best he could recollect. Where it was found was an area we’d worked on during the morning of the day in question before we moved some way to a different part of the vineyard post lunch. Very good/kind of Juliette to take the trouble to help him & a great outcome.

We were back to Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Fontaine St Martin (‘FSM’) again for the Pinot on this morning which was largely grey, cloudy and overcast although by lunchtime to some extent it depended on which way one looked as in one direction could be lighter cloud and almost blue sky but the other way the sky was a lot murkier. Certainly a lot cooler. We did two passes of the Pinot Noir rows this a.m., our sub team buoyed by Mercedes’ varied music playlist accompanying our efforts, before usual adjournment for lunch back in Vosne. A quality lunch this day as well – boeuf borguignon. Yum !

The afternoon turned out most unexpectedly ! We returned back to FSM with, initially, no hint of what was to come. But, it wasn’t long before storm clouds started to gather quite rapidly whilst we worked, then continuous rolls of thunder started to reverberate across the valley, albeit at that stage without lightning or rain. As it hadn’t rained I was a little surprised when work was aborted circa 3.00 p.m with a call to return to Vosne. Perfect timing though, weather guru Michel demonstrating his prowess cum local knowledge, as no sooner had we got back to Vosne to the point of disembarking vehicles then the rain came, and how !!! Heavy rain of the bouncing variety then continued for the rest of the afternoon.

My taxi service was once again requested as earlier in the day Padhraic had asked if I could take him into NSG as he wanted to buy some chocolates for Juliette as a deserved ‘thank you’ for her invaluable assistance in retrieving his missing bag from Au Vallon. As we drove to NSG I mentioned I was aware of an upmarket chocolatier in the pedestrianised area although my knowledge was dated hence I couldn’t be certain the business was still there. I parked up, staying with the car, in that parking area on the left as one passes through the centre of NSG & the road turns sharply left heading south. Padhraic hared off to find what he was after whilst I watched, in intrigued, curious, fashion two gendarmes dealing with an Opel Insignia and its driver only yards from me. I’ve no idea what was going on but eventually the Opel was allowed to go, the gendarmes following in the other direction.

Success for Padhraic in acquiring upmarket confectionery and a return to a soggy Vosne.

Usual clean up for me, with an infrequent shave, then laptop work either side of dinner. I can’t recall who produced it but a few of us enjoyed a glass of the remainder of the Voillot 1993 Meursault Les Cras I’d brought back from my Beaune soiree. To follow Michel Gros 2010 Clos des Reas (4 magnums) accompanied dinner.

And so quite a relief to be back in bed as normal after my night before ! How much longer had we to go and what else did we have to do ? Questions, questions – no answers for now; and another one – could this be the longest vendange for yours truly ?


Domaine Michel Gros 2023 Vendange Day 11

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on November 02, 2023 #vintage 2023

Wednesday SEPT 20th

Back to Au Vallon again today, no hardship for me as, I’ve said previously, I really like this place/terroir – can’t really explain that, just a personal ‘feeling’. Perhaps the key aspect of this day would come in the evening/night but let’s get through the day first !

Initially, first thing, we were back (in Au Vallon) with a difference – when I say ‘we’ in this instance/on this morning I’m referring to the Toyota ‘crew’, but even more specifically to myself and Irishman, Padhraic. My notes are a little vague on when exactly – could have been at some point yesterday, or possibly at breakfast on this day (doesn’t really matter per se) – but Padhraic had had a major, and potentially nightmare, occurrence of losing his bag (rucksack). When I say ‘losing’, it had disappeared and thus all manner of how it had come to vanish were broached and considered. As he was camping in the garden of the Clos des Reas house it was his habit to keep his bag, and valuables therein, with him during the day. His bag was absolutely key for him as it contained all his key items i.e including passport, money, phone etc etc. I really felt for him as the implications were horrendous. At breakfast, or maybe in the car, I’d suggested to Michel that as soon as we (in the Toyota) all arrived before the rest of the team that instead of getting involved in empty case distribution, or whatever, that Padhraic and myself hare off & retrace steps from where in Au Vallon the team had been the day before to search for his bag should it have been left in a row/somewhere. This we did but despite covering quite an area of rows we failed to find anything hence, for our morning (and the rest of the day) the bag, worryingly, remained missing/vanished.

As usual in picking terms we started out this morning by finishing off incomplete rows from the day before. This is an aspect I find were the French, in vendange terms, might differ from, say, the English work psyche – certainly for lunch ! Bit of a sweeping thought from me but I’m inclined to think an English approach (not necessarily to grape picking) might be to finish what had been started and then adjust for time afterwards whereas the French approach (which I stress I absolutely do not disapprove of 😉 ) is a time point is a time point e.g lunch means stop for lunch regardless and to some extent the end of day.

Whatever, after the initial rows we did two more passes that morning which initially I’d thought had taken us to lunch time – I do not wear a watch when picking nor carry my phone in the vines. I was a bit premature though as whilst we had now finished in Au Vallon there was time enough before lunch to return to Fontaine St Martin, this time for our first ‘go’ at the Pinot Noir. Before we exited Au Vallon though I had something of an amusing personal ‘triumph’ in that I managed to participate/help in ‘lugging’ the full cases of fruit onto the trailer behind slow moving tractor. The procedure here was slow moving tractor progressing down the rows of full cases, two guys on the trailer positioning/lifting the cases once on the trailer and two guys following at the rear of the trailer lifting the cases onto the trailer. Thus far as I’ve already recorded on days previously all my keen attempts to assist here had been kyboshed by Michel’s ‘excessive’, (if touchingly considerate) regard for my welfare (and he is 9 months older than me !). Anyway, on this occasion, he wasn’t about initially so I was required and seized my chance. Not too hard at all and a useful workout. A partial victoire !

I didn’t take a great deal of photos today – had already taken quite a few in Au Vallon on previous days such that there was nothing ‘new’ in the morning to prompt camera use. For some reason though today I did pictorially record lunch – although I can’t now make out what the ‘mains’ was !

Post lunch back to Fontaine St Martin, and the laden Pinot vines, the day sunny but cool. The afternoon seemed one of those that was particularly hard and a struggle for me such that I was ‘feeling it’ in fatigue terms by the finish. I had a wait by the Toyota though for the tractor crew to finish which was welcome, time employed to collect water butts, empty them, cups, etc etc and load the car. Not so welcome was Gabriel, by now elevated to piloting one of the tractors, joining us in the Toyota back to Vosne after two of the tractors again overnighted in Chevrey. Goodness me, could he talk, and did he – at volume all the way back to Vosne without pause, fortunately not to/at me !

For the evening I had an appointment in Beaune and with some very nice wines (already ‘reviewed’ on Burgundy Report). A most enjoyable evening but I didn’t really take note of passing time, or potential implications (silly me ☹), such that it was close to midnight when arriving back in silent, sleepy, nothing moving, Vosne. I’d erroneously assumed/thought the side gate on our house’s yard side of the domaine would be open. There are two large vehicle access gates for Mugneret-Gibourg, but at the side of those a small, ‘foot’, gate as it were. To my rapidly sinking chagrin this small side gate was locked, or closed, such that from the road side, I could not get it open. Doh !!!!! I was ‘stuck’! Short of making enough noise to potentially wake half the village, and make myself the most unpopular person in Vosne, and with the Gros family. Nothing for it but back to my car and attempting to sleep in it. At first I tried stretching out on the back seat but couldn’t get to sleep so switched to my drivers seat. I was hugely reluctant to consider reclining this as previously it had taken me much experimentation to get the seat elements to best suit. Reclining the passenger seat didn’t occur to me but would have been an option. At least it wasn’t too cold which was a blessing.


2023 Beaujolais Nouveau – steady as she goes!

By billn on November 01, 2023 #annual laurels#beaujolais

2023 Beaujolais Nouveau

So – how important is Beaujolais Nouveau today?

It may surprise you to learn that in 2022, nearly a quarter of all Beaujolais’ 13,500 hectares of production, ended up in bottles that were labelled Nouveau.

That was 16,500,000 bottles of Nouveau – and that’s a lot – it’s equivalent to 85% of all the production of the Burgundy region from Chablis to the ‘border’ with Beaujolais!

France takes 60% of the bottles but the classic markets of Japan, the US and the UK, together, still bought more than 4 million bottles last year.

That being the case, it’s still worth trying to find some good ones!

The 2023 vintage:

The vine-growth in 2023 started in the ‘new classic’ style – ie quite early and in good conditions due to a mild start to the year. This year, there was hardly any worry about frost and there followed practically ideal conditions for flowering. This early debut of growth, followed by the summer heat, ensured that it was another earlier harvesting year – from about the 1st September – so, versus 2021, we certainly had the potential for nearly an extra month of elevage before any Nouveau bottling got underway – but how, exactly, did the post-flowering year go?

In 2023, the Beaujolais vigneron(ne)s liked to talk about the weather; there’s nothing unusual about ‘farmers’ talking about the weather, right? Of course not! But, as we approached the harvest, there was a clear focus to most of these conversations – and that focus was the rain – or rather the lack of rain.

The crus in the north got a couple of decent rainfalls in July/August but to the south not – here it stayed dry from mid-June right up to the harvest – in fact the further south you went in Beaujolais, the drier it got, reducing the berry size and therefore the yields – unsurprisingly, it was the young vines that particularly suffered in these conditions. The producers point to the counter-balance of the daytime heat with cooler nights – ‘so the wines have a nice aromatic balance – not too warm!

Proportionately, Beaujolais Nouveau is made in higher quantities from vines in the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages as these labels are a little less attractive to Beaujolais buyers than those wines labelled in the name of ‘the crus’ – such as Fleurie or Saint Amour. So it is the wines from the south, whose volumes were most severely limited by the summer drought, who provide the bulk of the juice for these Nouveaux – it was an important point for this tasting.

The best wines…

2023 Beaujolais NouveauIn the the heartland of Beaujolais Nouveau production – ie the south of Beaujolais – the, drought-related, brake on the potential harvest volume has clearly been of benefit for anyone with an interest in drinking this stuff. That’s because any excess volume usually translates into significant quality variation between those who cropped at the maximum and those who were more modest.

2023’s more modest harvest volumes have brought some consistency to the wines – a little like in 2022. The Beaujolais Nouveaux are less regular than the Beaujolais Villages Nouveaux but as in most years the latter category come with not just more depth of flavour – they come with more structure too – and in many cases I’d be looking to keep, and drink, the villages over a longer period than the campaign for Nouveau might suggest.

I have noted a few more great wines (below) than in 2022 but overall, it’s quite a similar number for 97 wines tasted this year.

97 wines tasted – is that a lot? There are probably more like 200-250 different bottlings and/or cuvée names in this category – and good luck to you if you can find some of them in your local markets. I really struggle in Switzerland – and the anonymous (single!) bottling of Switzerland’s Coop supermarket is, historically, an awful one – but I’ll try it again this year – hopefully without needing to pour (more than!) half of the bottle away!

Good hunting!
All the wines were tasted and selected blind. It was only after the tasting that I got a copy of the spreadsheet with the names to match to the numbered bottles:

5 Great wines for their labels
One more than last year:
Jean Loron, Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé
Agamy, Domaine de Solémy Beaujolais Nouveau
Manoir du Carra Famille Sambardier, Dame Nature Beaujolais Villages
Famille Descombe, Granite Beaujolais Villages
Richard Rottiers Beaujolais Villages

10 Excellent Wines – Beaujolais Nouveau
Two less than in 2022:
Jean Loron, Rift 69
Romy, Le Mouflet
Georges Duboeuf
Jean-Yves Sonnery Domaine de Baluce
Domaine des Prévelières
Domaine Pierre André Dumas
Aurélie et Fabien Romany
Domaine des Prévelières, Border’Wine
Baptiste Aufranc
Célia et David Large, Zombi

9 Excellent Wines – Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
Just one more than in 2022:
Domaine Gaget, Vinum Memoria
Georges Duboeuf
Domaine de la Madone Bérerd Père et Fils
Nicolas Boudeau
Domaine des Terres Vivantes, La Lutine
Cave Vignerons de Bel Air, Natural
Château de Corcelles
Domaine Desprès
Julien Aucagne

Click on ‘Read More…’ below to see the full notes for the (almost) 100 wines in the order that they were (blind) tasted on Halloween 2023:
  Read more..

Domaine Michel Gros 2023 Vendange Day 10 – Sept 19th

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on October 30, 2023 #vintage 2023

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.



By billn on October 27, 2023 #in case you missed it

A small compendium of interesting notes form the last couple of weeks:

  • The generous 2022 vintage (around 1.75 million hectolitres, or just over 233 million bottles) has enabled some stocks to be replenished and/or orders to be met pending availability. Export sales continue to grow. Export volumes are down slightly, after a good year in 2022, but remain higher than in the pre-Covid period (2019): +5.3% in volume (first 6 months of 2023 / first 6 months of 2019).
    BIVB Press Conference 10 Oct.2023
  • Within 3 months, nearly 33,000 visitors have passed through the doors of at least one of our 3 sites. Beaune boasts more of 70% of visitors, with a total of 5,000 all told; Chablis and Mâcon attracted around 4,000 visitors each. A large majority of visitors – a full 80% – were from our region or elsewhere in France; and of the 20% of visitors from abroad, a majority came from either Belgium or Germany. The busiest days, apart from the inaugural weekend, were on the long weekend of 15th August and the European Heritage Days weekend in mid-September.
    Also the BIVB Press Conference 10 Oct.2023
  • A short ‘interview‘ with Sylvie Esmonin
  • London’s Bourgogne Week will be held on January 10 at Lindley Hall. “The focus will be on the lesser-known Regional and Village appellations, an important theme that addresses customer demand” – apparently the grand crus no-longer are interesting 😉
  • A new video covering Viré-Clessé

Burgundy Report

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