Entries from 2023

2023 Burgundy harvest – 16 September

By billn on September 18, 2023 #vintage 2023

You always know that the end of the harvest is close when domaines start to pick their aligoté – typically a late-ripening variety. And so it was on Friday and through the weekend.

I still met a few hardy folk in the higher vines of Volnay and Pommard – Sur Roches, Lambots and of course, Vaumuriens. Today was Pascal Roblet. He was quite happy with his grapes – ‘Not the vintage of the century, but we have good grapes and they are ripe‘ I’ve long been a fan of his wines and the care whilst harvesting is obvious – only 4-5kg (grape weight) cases are used to collect his grapes – ‘and since 2001,‘ emphasises Pascal. In one of the images you can see him showing that he doesn’t cut the tops of his vines but unlike Leroy or Trapet’s high trellising, he prefers to spread the the lengthening shoots across the top wire of his trellis.

It was quieter in the Côte de Nuits too, the square in front of the Mairie of Vosne – a bustling hub of harvesting in the last days – becoming much calmer. A few blocks of vines were still waiting to be picked – the Chambertin of Rossignol-Trapet and the Mazis of the Hospices de Beaune – but even the traditionally ‘late pickers’ were in the vines. So, right now, the Hautes Côtes are seeing the most action – together with Chablis and Irancy too. A significant part of Beaujolais is already done.

The major efforts are now in the cuveries!

2023 Burgundy harvest – 15 September

By billn on September 15, 2023 #vintage 2023

We have nice warm weather again – though given the colour of the vine leaves and the carpet of horse-chestnuts on the ground the harvest retains an Autumnal feeling.

Beaujolais is not yet finished – but is close – and Chablis still has much to do.

Here in the Côte d’Or the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune are starting to fall silent – I walked around Beaune today and saw only low-lying vineyards (much in Bas de Teurons) that were still waiting to be picked – the bunches looking sub-optimal but that’s the vintage. The Côte de Nuits remains busy, as do the vineyards of the Hautes Côtes. The action in the latter starting about 3-4 days agao and also still with much to do.

I’ve yet to see any statistics from here, but already there are some for size (weight!) of the bunches in Champagne – you can expect similar for the Côte d’Or – ie BIG! And there are many bunches too – just as well given how shrivelled many look.

It will also come as no surprise that many vigneron’s syndicates have been lobbying for making hay while the sun shines ie getting augmentations for their authorised yields – I’m sure that enough wine will be made this year…

2023 Burgundy harvest – 12 September

By billn on September 12, 2023 #vintage 2023

The harvest is slowing down a lot in some areas – Côte de Beaune whites for instance – though some later pickers such as Buisson-Charles were in the vines today. Plenty of the CdB reds have also been picked but we are many days away from the end to those – much of the grapes higher up on the hillsides are still waiting for their day.

In other places, like the Côte de Nuits – and who could forget Chablis – it is gaining momentum.

Many of the Côte d’Or’s remaining reds are showing plenty of shrivelled grapes – but we can say that it’s next level in the Côte de Nuits. It’s more than anything that I’ve ever seen.

Some vineyards look very good with not too much shrivelled fruit, others look very depressing – like parts of the Clos St.Jacques. A close contact – who you may hear from in the next days – tells me there is great fruit in the Côte de Nuits, and a lot of it, but also a troubling amount that is shrivelled. For some of this fruit, the rain that is currently falling in Beaune is clearly too late, for some other vines it will undoubtedly help – though I’ve also heard of some hail today between Marsannay and Dijon, so…

Small notes from underway:

  • The Clos des Lambrays which wasn’t picked on Friday – now is.
  • The attention to detail in La Tâche is so impressive. All of La Tâche is now picked but there is so much fruit under the vines – discarded – they have clearly taken only the best to cuverie!
  • In the village of Vosne’s GCs, it’s mainly La Grand Rue that is waiting to be picked – the grapes looking way better than a lot of RSV…
  • Dark skies and thunder in Nuits around 15h30 – but with hardly a drop of rain. Until later!

More tomorrow…

a little hydration… and a larger rumour…

By billn on September 11, 2023 #degustation

A mixed bag from okay to great – the ‘okay‘ was probably self-inflicted 🙂

2000 Sylvie Spielmann, Riesling Bergheim
Darker yellow colour but with a classic maturing riesling nose – no petrol but lots of complexity. In the mouth, it is almost a youngster but with lots of width to the flavours on the palate. My only critique on this day was that the flavour was a little too dry – I was missing some succulence, which could have been my palate that day but it didn’t stop me taking a third glass 😉 And – hey! – it’s a more than 20-year-old ‘villages’ riesling in great shape!
Rebuy – Maybe

2020 Alain Geoffroy, Chablis 1er Fourchaume
I’d already put this in the freezer for a quick chill when my wife said – ‘no, let’s have the riesling.’ So I forgot about the Chablis! 2 days later – oops – what’s this(?) Of course, I didn’t need a cork-screw but I did need an hour in a warm room before I could pour anything out of the bottle 🙂
I’d clearly done a good job of ‘cold stabilisation‘ as this wine had thrown out a fine white sand of tartrate crystals. But what of the wine itself? Well, unlike my last 2020 1er from here, which was not showing any of the vintage pyrazines – this clearly was. Both on the nose and the palate. The flavours were a bit jumbled – I guess a couple of days in a freezer and having ejected your cork will do that to you!
Not a wine to make any kind of decision on!

2008 David Clark, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Au Pelson
My last bottle of this was opened in Chablis with friends at the start of this year – and it was disappointingly oxidative and ‘old.’ This was singing – broad, well textured, with a depth of flavour and none of acid-induced ‘sleekness’ of many 2008s. This was a great 2008 for the label. A good cork so back on form!
Rebuy – Yes

2021 Pierre Vincent Girardin, Bourgogne Chardonnay Éclat de Calcaire
Drunk in a restaurant. We actually ordered his villages Meursault which has the same cuvée name and only noticed the mistake as the cork came out of the neck – not a problem – we saved some €€€!
Ooh, If I had to nail my colours to the mast, blind, I’d have said a very fine 2021 Chablis 1er Cru! Complex, energetic, sherbet and yellow citrus. I was going to be the driver so only had the single, small, glass – but this wine made a simply great impression. I’m going to have to try (very hard) to visit and taste his 2022s at the end of this year!
Rebuy – Yes

And the rumour?
Well, it’s not really a rumour as far as I can tell. It seems that Jean-Pierre Cournut of the Château de la Maltroye has already made his last wines. This year, I’m told, all his crop is being bought and divided by PYCM and PVG – it was the above wine that reminded me 😉 It’s almost certain that Monsieur Cournut won’t be returning to his vats next year and nobody seems to think that another generation of the family have any interest in the vines – so – watch this space. For the moment I assume the acquisition of the grapes by PYCM and PVG to be opportunistic, rather than with long-term aspirations – but let’s see!

There are more ‘rumours’ too – maybe I’ll trickle them out. One that I previously introduced you to seems now to be a done deal – the sale of Domaine Monthelie Douhairet Porcheret to the (relatively new) team of Château de la Commaraine…

2023 Burgundy harvest – 10 September

By billn on September 10, 2023 #vintage 2023

It’s hot out there!

At the home domaine we are starting as early as possible – but it’s not that early – why? Because a lot of our pickers take the train from Dijon to Beaune, and at the weekend there are no early trains – they can’t be in Beaune before 7am. So that means that the first grapes are arriving at the domaine for sorting from about 8am.

Our domaine was supposed to start harvesting on Friday but the previous week’s warm weather meant that some vines needed picking a couple of days earlier than planned – but now we’re back to normal.

Those early morning grapes are lovely and cool to the touch – as the morning moves towards lunchtime – they become far from cool to the touch! Because of this, our team of pickers have been calling a halt picking by 2:30pm – when it was, today, already 35°C in the vines – for our American cousins, that’s 95°F.

The whites look fine – there’s not a lot of sorting to do – our domaine have done Savigny 1er Hautes Jarrons, Corton-Charlemagne, Chorey Blanc and Pernand 1er Cru Sous Frétille. We are certainly back to a more classic – whites ready before the reds – vintage. So far I’ve only seen the red Corton-Renardes – always ready early given it’s exposure to the sun. It’s the reds that seem more complicated. Lots of them (the grapes) are starting to shrivel – more-so in the Côte de Nuits – but not just. Yet, a lot of them are not yet quite ripe, so…(?) Actually, better said, the ripeness is variable. There is a little rot, but not much – it gives the impression that it was starting to grow until the weather became hot and dry – which, largely, stopped the spread.

An interesting side-note: We have a decent amount of pinot gris co-planted in our parcel of Corton-Charlemagne. Usually, I don’t see a lot of interest in these grapes – I see them only as ‘fillers’ – but this year the gris has a lovely perfume in the mouth. Lert’s see!

There are rains forecast from Tuesday pm – and a modest cooling of the temperature – for 2 days. Maybe that will be enough to kick any recalcitrant grape clusters into shape – those that won’t already have been harvested!

I’ve seen worse, but we are collecting quite a few ladybugs/birds over our triage table…

PS: It would be remiss of me not to tell you that the Chablisiennes are now starting to pick their grapes too!

75th Chablis Wine Festival – October 21 & 22, 2023

By billn on September 09, 2023 #events

75th Fête de Chablis

Press Release:

Celebrate the new vintage with the winegrowers of Chablis and Grand Auxerrois!

Organized by the Office du Chablis in partnership with the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) the Chablis Wine Festival is a major event of the year combining discoveries and tastings.

About forty winegrowers from Chablis and Grand Auxerrois will be present all weekend on the boulevard du Docteur Tacussel (in Chablis town centre). Amateurs, connoisseurs, professionals and the general public will be able to taste wines from different appellations and vintages on the stands.


Tastings of wines and also local products, walks, activities, meetings with professionals…

The traditional parade of the Confrérie des Piliers Chablisiens will be held on Sunday morning. Accompanied by the Godfather and Godmother of the 2023 vintage, the President of the Wine Festival, the officials and the “Les Enfants de Chablis” brass band.

2023 Burgundy harvest – 08 September

By billn on September 08, 2023 #vintage 2023

Just some quick observations:

  • Many more people harvesting in the Côte de Beaune versus 2 days ago – there were more teams in the reds too.
  • A bunch of people were picking in Montrachet today, including the largest owners – Laguiche (Drouhin) – the Montrachet vines of Bouchard Père and DRC had been harvested since Tuesday.
  • The reds of the Côte de Beaune look a little less shrivelled than many in the CdNuits – but still partly – and there are a few more domaines starting their campaign in the vines in the CdNuits too – though most that I speak to plan their start over the weekend or Monday
  • DRC have harvested many of their vines – Romanée-Conti was done – except for the vines following the wall that runs parallel with La Grand Rue – maybe they are leaving those grapes for the birds!

I start my triage tomorrow!

a new report…

By billn on September 07, 2023 #reports

Meursault!Just a heads-up that another 20 domaines have been uploaded to the report section.

It’s a mix of people that I couldn’t fit in at the end of last year, plus others that prefer to show their wines a little later – or in some cases earlier too 🙂

Given the low volume of the 2021 vintage it’s no surprise that one or two domaines were only offering 2022s to taste – so that’s a vintage change about 1-2 months earlier than in most years – but it’s not a surprise!


Burgundy Report

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