Some are already at it but my first harvest day will be Saturday.
I did a bit of a tour of the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits yesterday. 99% of the activity was in the Côte de Beaune, and 90% of that was whites.
The white hillsides had harvesters in just about all locations but it was just a few domaines here and there – not all domaines. There was a small amount of red harvesting to be seen – I’m assuming for the grapes of the precocious young vines. I remember in a recent hot vintage – 2020 – that Chartron in Puligny had started their harvest with their red Puligny 1er Les Caillerets – this year it’s the more classic ‘chardonnay first’ style of vintage and their red Caillerets is still waiting to be picked.
A lot of Montrachet is still waiting to be picked but much of Chevalier-Montrachet – despite being higher on the slope – has already been picked. And some of the vines – like those of Bouchard Père – are continuous but their Chevalier is picked, their Montrachet not. Likewise, the neighbouring Montrachet of DRC was also waiting to be picked. Reds are slowly coming into focus though: d’Angerville started yesterday, David Croix and Thibaud Clerget started today – Guillaume d’Angerville noting that his teams are starting early and finishing at midday due to the heat of the day – just now it’s about 33-35°C each day with not much change in this pattern of weather before Monday/Tuesday, next week. The team at Lafon are almost finished!
It’s clear that there are plenty of white grapes on the vines of the Côte d’Or – as we will see – also the reds.
Whilst the red grapes in the Côte de Beaune look pretty good – I had the impression that the grapes in the Côte de Nuits – a random sample – looked to have more challenges, ie more variable ripeness, a little rot behind some of the grapes and, seemingly, ever-more raisined berries too. Like in the Côte de Beaune, plenty of grapes though. This included the great grand crus of Richebourg and Romanéée St.Vivant. I already mentioned the generous amount of grapes – and some of the bunches are impressively large too – but in Romanée St.Vivant there was evidence of plenty of green harvesting – probably done in July. I think a necessary step for anyone looking for a decent level of ripeness. Whilst some vines remain green and vigorous, I observed a lot of very dry vines – in both Côtes – vines that already look like it’s the end of October when the grapes have long been picked – this surprises me given the relatively consistent amounts of rain this year.
Early indications are that the acidity in the grapes is low but the amount of potassium in the grapes is also low this year – ‘So what we have, we should be able to keep!‘
For those with an interest, the harvest is getting underway in Beaujolais and the Mâconnais but all is seemingly quiet for now in Chablis.