Entries from 2014

the return of the mark: Vendange Day 8+9

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on October 09, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

ARLAUD VENDANGE DAYS 8 & 9 – Monday & Tuesday 22nd/23rd Sept 2014-10-07

Whilst I’ve regrettably now been back in the UK since the 26th Sept, and am increasingly becoming immersed in my banking (Rick S pls note !) day job and matters domestic (leaking shower cubicle anyone ?) I feel sort of duty bound & with a sense of the incomplete/unfinished to make me conclude what seemed to become an increasingly drawn out vendange (that is if Bill cares to publish this but I’m including a few pics to hopefully ‘bribe’ him.
The above said I’ve only just stopped laughing at Bill’s latest set of pics, and specifically the comfy goats lol !! Priceless, never seen anything like that before although I do have fond memories of my parents having two goats, one after the other, when I was a child.
Before matters grape picking etc, a correction, as I’ve only just noticed an error in the Day 7 piece. Whether down to Bill, or more likely myself ,I’ve just seen that Day 7, my Sunday Le Montrachet breakfast and afternoon dog walking day, is described as ‘Day 7, Friday 21th Sept 2014’. This should of course read Sunday the 21st Sept – but of course you eagle eyed readers will have worked that out and more than likely attributed it to vendangeur inebriation – I wish !
Back to le vendange ! We were joined Sunday evening, rather unexpectedly to me, by 5 young Poles – 3 young ladies and two boys. I eventually learnt they’d been recruited with others to join (see later) to help the core team see off Roncevie, other unfinished ‘stuff’ around Morey, and for our ‘assault’ on the Hautes-Cotes – the latter the stuff of my 2013 endurance nightmares ! What was interesting from the new recruits was that they’d come from de Montille, Volnay. They spoke well of Alix (de Montille or is she married Bill ?) looking after them and described what could only be Etienne whom I know fairly well. The evening meal Sunday was also notable for Gava, now in love with me, scrounging surreptitiously from Rene & Serge, both dog owners themselves who, despite owner Tiffin’s disapproval, were happy via sleight of hand etc to pass tidbits (meat, cheese etc) to the soulful, hang dog looking Gava standing behind their bench meal places. A brief interlude of excitement occurred when, not knowing the dog was present, an unsuspecting Mystique the cat entered the refectoire, bent on seeking affection and a bit of scrounging himself. The inevitable happened with cat seeing dog, dog seeing cat, latter deciding escape was required toute suite (fortunately the door was open to the yard), and both disappearing a rate of knots with much yowling from the cat, growling and barking plus scrabbling of claws from the dog who exhibited an amazing turn of speed and manouverability, before order was restored – the dog returning after c 10 minutes having failed to entrap the wily Mystique who was unscathed.
From here not a great deal to record except two days of almost drudgery. I can’t recall ever picking Roncevie in such a sustained fashion before i.e solidly across what turned out to be two full days. Motivation gets a bit lacking once one knows no more Premier or Grand Crus to come. My recollection of previous years is that we’ve come to Roncevie on several occasions across the whole vendange, or several days anyway – not that we’ve done it as we did this year. Weather was good though, almost ideal conditions of not too hot sun and a breeze. I do like the site, there’s something about the way the rows, by now with an increasingly autumnal look, stretch into the distance. Grape quality again very good. Odd bits of inconsequential rot only, nothing compared to previous years for what is a low lying site prone to wet & damp.

I can’t recall, after the Poles, if it was Monday or Tuesday morning but we also added further to our number on one of those mornings with 4 Slovakians or Slovenians (can’t now remember which), two guys & two gals plus a local young French guy – lunchtime now became increasingly crowded and seats at a premium. One of the former group, Marquetta (spelling ?), subsequently amazed me at the ultimate end of vendange Paulee by telling me that I had, or had had, back trouble – she was right ! In the mid to late 80’s I had all sorts of back problems, including a laminectomy and several hospitalizations for bouts of traction, and at one point an epidural jab with the longest needle I’ve seen to this day. Apparently Marquetta was a proper masseuse, including of an equine nature, and could simply tell from my stance that I wasn’t straight & hence her diagnosis – clever !
Roncevie concluded on the Tuesday afternoon with a bit of a whimper. We’d done all the main rows proper (the holding is c 5 hectares) but a furthest from the road , butting up eventually to trees, was very young vines. This section had been terribly badly frosted in the winter of 2009/10 9 (I think) which killed a goodly number of old vines and led to a wholesale replanting, maybe no more than 3 years ago (or less ?). The new vines are but mere babes, many shrouded in a form of bag, presumably for protection and to promote growth. We were all done in, and it was circa 4.30 / 5.00 p.m. but Herve gave us a rather bizarre instruction to sweep the new vines plating section but not to spend too long and only concentrate on the very best, or most significant, grapes. Well, that was tedious ! What grapes existed were small indeed and took some getting to grips with being almost at floor level of in the shrouded bag things, or caught up in grass or weeds. Was fair to say our hearts weren’t in the (non) task so, after faffing around for half an hour or so becoming increasingly fatigued and irritable we called it a day – not one of the most compelling vendange exercises I must say.
I subsequently discussed Roncevie with Cyprien on my evening cuverie trip to use the wi-fi. Cyprien told me they’d taken the extra 10 people (Poles, Slovaks, Frenchman) to help get things wrapped up by cWednesday. He also advised me that Roncevie was the largest holding in single ownership on the Cote which remains hand-picked. When he said it I was rather nonplussed by the claim but afterwards decided quickly I’d either misunderstood him, or maybe he was referring to Bourgogne (Rouge ?) only – as two immediate single holdings which are larger are the Clos de Lambrays and de Tart – and doubtless there are others at GC or Premier level. Whatever, I jokingly told him I’d had enough of Roncevie for a while and didn’t care if I didn’t see a bottle of it for some time, if ever. This had an unexpected consequence to come later and revealed a sense of vigneron humour, as well as indicating Cyprien listened to me and remembered, quite endearing !
Photos to accompany, I’ll leave Bill to select from the one’s to be sent. Camera continues to please and do the business but I find myself increasingly careful and selective as to how I’m using it with sticky and wet hands.
To come:- the final days of Weds, and incredibly, Thursday for my longest ever vendange.

Mark’s harvest: Vendange Day 7

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 30, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

ARLAUD VENDANGE – Day 7, Friday 21th Sept 2014

In my piece on Day six I overlooked mention of an unprecedented (for me at least) occurrence from previous vendanges, namely a Saturday close of lunch announcement from Herve that we would not be working Sunday hence all the locals should not show up (none did !). This amazed me as I’d never had a part way through vendange break before. The ‘official’ reason was a particularly bad weather forecast for the following day, Sunday, but I did muse more than once on was there more to it than this and, in reality, was there a wish on the part of Cyprien and for his cuverie team for a break ? I was conscious of how seemingly tired and exhausted all parties had been in 2013, Cyprien seemingly more than most, doubtless with his weight of wine-making responsibilities – to which I was totally sympathetic.

Whatever, Herve’s announcement was well-timed as when I came to check my mobile pre lunch I’d noted an invite to breakfast at Hotel Le Montrachet for Sunday a.m – which in normal course I’d have had no chance of attending but now this was available to me – hurrah !

So, light of heart and without thoughts of another day’s hard graft in prospect, I gave myself an hour to travel down the Cote from Morey to Puligny for 9.00 a.m. Made it in good time which I used to wander amongst, and admire, various classic cars from a French Classic Car Club who’s owners/members had clearly enjoyed their stay overnight at the hotel (I wish !). One gentleman’s efforts to get two bags of golf clubs, before any luggage, into the back of his Porsche Turbo amused me rather ! Eventually my website owning triager host turned up avec his charming NZ family guests, very nice people, clearly enjoying their stay in Burgundy. We had a quite delightful unhurried breakfast which I can thoroughly recommend & would love to sample again (even if a more complete stay/dining experience at Le Montrachet might give my credit card palpitations !). After swapping various bottles of Burgundy we had for each other, and inspecting more classic cars, including a very nice Austin Healey 3000, lined up on the far side of the hotel gardens, we drove back to Beaune for a little birthday celebration of one of our number (cake & Pol Roger anyone – 1998 ?) and a view of my host’s Domaine set up (markedly different from my own). I then said my au revoir’s & journeyed back to Morey to find the live in team and Arlaud family having lunch & intrigued as to my morning’s activities. My decline of lunch, as quite complet still from breakfast, elicited some surprise but I held my ground.

At this point I had the afternoon before me. The obvious best use of it was to get my vendange diaries written up to date and camera photos downloaded to laptop with a view to sending to Bill toute suite. However, another option came to mind and appealed. One of our live in number, young lady Tiffen, had a lovely dog with her which spent much time tied up in our yard, or in Herve’s garden adjacent to the cuverie whilst its owner triaged, or shut up in the back of her little white van. This dog, exact breed (if any) unknown to me, but a type of large French Collie or similar, was a bitch, and c 8 months old which went by the name of Gava or Java. A beautiful looking dog, it was/is very much a ‘one woman dog’ and extremely wary of strangers, prone to growl or lunge to bite if approached, and in my estimation would not be good with children. I’ve always loved dogs and so worked hard to get to know Gava who, over a few days, softened her attitude towards me such that she eventually started to greet me in the same excitable & affectionate fashion as she did her mistress, and Herve (whom I surmised the dog must have known previously from somewhere).

My quickly forming idea was for both the dog and myself to get some afternoon exercise and have some quiet escapism. The owner was delighted at my offer to walk Gava so I untied her (the dog !) and on her long rope we left Morey and took the road/track towards Clos St Denis, with the loose idea of continuing along the path that hugs the trees at the top of Chambertin & Chambertin Clos de Beze – maybe all the way to Gevrey and then back. The dog was delighted to be out and about and, for my part, I was enjoying the opportunity to give her some freedom and change. At Clos St Denis we headed up slope and eventually towards Morey Luisants. Here I rather naughtily, sorry M Ponsot, please excuse me, ignored the Privee signs and with dog (always on rope), climbed up slope to the top of Monts Luisants and along the slope to the petite maison where I sat on the porch a while to get my breath back. Along the way the vines, with very healthy looking grapes, both red and white, had caught the eye as very striking in health and quality looking terms as did the almost manicured looking vines and ground, some vines with dark green highly glossy foliage. I’d also noted some vines trained cross slope, as at Vosne Petit Monts, as opposd to the more conventional up and down slope.

Dog and self descended Monts Luisants on its Gevrey side following a wall bordering woods/forest back to the track/road – part way down we diverted to inspect a lovely looking little cabotte – a real work of art. At the bottom of Mont Luisants we then turned towards Gevrey ambling along. At the top of Chambertin Gava startled me suddenly by turning sharply back towards me from the extremity of the rope and quartering the ground wth her nose stuck to it. Clearly she’d picked up a scent and a casual glance to my right downslope revealed what her behaviour was about ! With its back to me & with large black tipped ears aloft, sat in the middle of the row of vines I was looking down, was a hare (a Lievre !) . Within seconds of me noticing it so did the dog – oops ! She almost had me half way down the slope in milli seconds in cartoon fashion as the hare did a wise runner and it was all I could do to dig my heels in and prevent the dog pursuing the hare with me as a drag weight !! That excitement over we continued beyond Chambertin to Clos de Beze. By this time, clad only in t-shirt for my top half, I’d been worriedly looking up continually at darkening clouds coming swiftly over the top of the Cote from the west & wondering at our prospects of making Gevrey. We didn’t – as the heavens opened – and camera bouncing, dog jogging on her rope, I legged it as fast as we could manage for Pierre Damoy’s well marked hut. A doorway afforded me a little protection but I was already pretty wet through as was a less concerned dog ! Fortunately, after depositing considrable precipitation, leaving the Route des Grand Crus back to Morey streaming with water , the rain soon passed enabling us to start walking back to Morey via road.

I soon got bored with the road and having to watch, and step aside, for passing traffic whilst controlling the dog as clearly not used to vehicles, so turned back up slope to the road/track back past Clos St Denis. Here, after initially noting and photographing a form of green vertical netting down 3 or more rows of vines, rain threatened again so I quickened pace towards a large track side tree across from Clos St Denis. A fellow walker with cute little Welsh/Fox Terrier cross dog, not on a lead which made me curse a little as to Gava’s potential reaction, coming towards me made the tree with the same intent as/before I . This turned out to be the always charming Thierry Brouin of Clos des Lambrays walking his young dog. Our respective dogs amusingly started to play with each other, Gava a little handicapped by her rope captive status, whilst Thierry (whom I’ve met any number of times, mainly in London) discussed matters vendange etc. He told me the netting I’d seen yards up the road was an experiment in hail protection. Otherwise, he seemed wholly content with his vendange, but looking downslope at unpicked grapes near us he opined he felt all should now be in and to delay was of no benefit & a risk. With the threat of rain passing, after just a few heavy drops, we went our respective ways with dogs, eventually a tired me, and a less tired but happy looking Gava, soon back to ‘home’ in Morey.

A delightful afternoon, well worth getting wet for, giving me a ‘warm glow’ I’d given Gava a sort of grand randonnee liberating afternoon. She was very good on her rope and touchingly continued to greet me all the more enthusiastically for the rest of the vendange.

Pics to illustrate our ramble. Days 8 & 9 details, such as they are, for two solid days of Bourgogne Roncevie the next instalment to come of a lengthening vendange.

Mark’s harvest: Vendange day 6

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 29, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

ARLAUD VENDANGE – Day 6, Sat 20th Sept 2014

A damp and claggy, rain in the air, cooler than previous starts to this day.

I’d been wondering when we’d get around to our final Morey 1er cru, ‘Aux Cheseaux’, & now had my answer as we started with it under gloomy skies and notably cooler temps, even allowing for the time of day (c 7.30 a.m ) we’re the first local domaine in the vines – no one beats Herve Arlaud, or the premier equipe de Morey !

Didn’t take us long at all to ‘knock off’ Cheseaux, grapes here largely similar to what we’d been seeing before elsewhere but just a little more rot here, in my rows at least. En vehicule for the next location and where on earth could we be going ??? Ahh, all revealed in due course – Vosne ‘Aux Reas’, the last of the negoce stuff. Maybe mid plot, top section. We were joined here in her Espace by Carol, wife of Cyprien, and their three daughters ages 9, 8, and 3, all keen to assist which was nice. Murky, misty, horizon making any sighting of Mont Blanc impossible, suggested rain maybe not out of the question but none came, thank goodness. Bit of village stuff to close out the morning then afternoon off we went to Gevrey ‘La Justice’. Some sizeable puddles, and very muddy, churned up, ground leading into the plot behind the block of flats from which we entered the plot at the eastern end. Always seems a strange way to get into a plot of vines and unless one knew it then one might never guess at the access.

Sun was getting warm again here after the claggy morning, in fact very warm, and sweat inducing as we ‘battled’ the indecently sized grapes and weight of fruit per vine. Here, in an unguarded moment, half way approx across the plot, I cut myself properly for the first time in years which made me yelp. My first vendange, 2006 with the delightful Duchesse, Amelie MacMahon at Domaine du Duc de Magenta, saw me make a right mess of my hands then as an untrained novice but since then familiarity had seen me largely wound free. On this latest occasion though I nipped hard the right front side of my left forefinger which then bled copiously for what seemed several minutes. Eventually after three requests to different porteurs one of them kindly brought me a plaster and some sticky tape to secure it with. Just after this much banter ensued with another domaine’s pickers going the other way in rows immediately adjacent. Following the pickers the boss on a tractor adjacent to the driver looked familiar. I called across which domaine to find myself speaking to Romain Taupenot, Domaine Taupenot-Merme, another Morey domaine here picking in Gevrey. I’ve met Romain several times at London tastings and like him a good deal. He laughed when I remarked I hadn’t initially recognised him without a suit and tie and said the same could be said about myself before we wished each other the best and moved on.

Think we did some more local stuff before finishing but recall is a bit hazy. Evening saw us joined for dinner by Cyprien and family which prompted much serious Tarot card playing amongst one or two of my fellow live in vendangeurs and Cyprien’s three daughters. Two nice wines served with dinner – a quite seriously good Morey 2005 Village and a Morey 2010 1er cru ‘Millandes’ which, for me, acknowledging its youth didn’t outdo the Village as fully showed the benefit of 2005.

Mark’s harvest: Vendange Day 5

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 29, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

Late evening Day 4 saw, from circa 21.30 onwards, as we finished our evening meal proceedings, a quite spectacular electrical and thunder storm over Morey which went on to about 12.30. Did not bode well for the following day, Friday, but at least cleared the air somewhat from the almost oppressive temperatures which had marked our vendange thus far.

ARLAUD VENDANGE – Day 5, Friday 19th Sept 2014
…dawned damp and fresher. Bit of rain in the air but nothing of consequence. Ground now muddy under foot akin to 2013. This, in grape cutting terms, was a ‘basic’ / routine day and so unremarkable I was never moved to take any photos. In essence we shuttled about around Morey and mainly the Chambolle side above and below the main D974 road cutting Morey & Chambolle Village and also, I think it was today, had our first look at white grapes via old vine Aligote on the railway side of the D974. I do like cutting Aligote but its essential to properly leaf strip each vine like a whirling dervish to make sure one does not miss any bunches – sure as you leave a leaf behind it will be you know what and its also easy to miss a small bunch of white grapes against the light hence looking over and down the other side of a vine, plus back at one’s moved on from, I find essential for a proper job. Rain came with ‘good’ timing at lunch time, just as we returned to Morey centre and continued such that it held up our resuming activities post lunch. Just though when I was harbouring thoughts of a luxury afternoon off, and maybe spending that at the cuverie trying to get up to date with stuff to Bill, the rain stopped around 14.00 hrs so we went again to late afternoon finishing with a nice looking plot of Morey Village. The ‘attraction’ of Chambolle Village though had waned somewhat though as the day had progressed such that the same evening, in making my customary visit to the cuverie for wi-fi use I was moved to say to a grinning Cyprien that I wasn’t sure if I was bothered about seeing another bottle of Chambolle Village again ! And so to evening meal and bed ! I’ll cover off wines consumed with dinner at a later date, the stand outs my contributions and two separate evenings efforts from Herve/Cyprien which were class ! Otherwise, the usual tipples were Bourgogne 2010 PTG and a unlabelled Bourgogne Aligote, with a Bourgogne Rose (a first for me here) making an increasing appearance as the vendange went on (think we’d drunk too much white !!! ).

Mark’s harvest: Vendange Day 4 – p.m Negoce !

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 28, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

ARLAUD VENDANGE – Day 4 (pm), Thurs 18th Sept 2014

Bonjour, tout le monde, sorry for the delayed re-appearance of notes, thoughts etc from Morey – we’ve been working like slaves and, despite best intentions any number of times, my journalistic desires (if one can call it that) have just had to take a ‘back seat’ to working, eating, sleeping (if one can with fellow room incumbent snoring, cat affectionately headbutting you awake at 3 a.m, or hand/arm crippling you, as all have featured – one and three every night), keeping clean, keeping one’s gear clean, etc etc etc. There is literally very little time to one’s self and when that occurs one is in bed or thinking you need to be !

I’ve already covered off what happened chez Arlaud day 4 morning in day 3’s ‘war and peace’ (Bill’s words not mine but was good of him not to edit – he probably didn’t have time / could not be a…d !). The related photos to what follows have already also been posted by Bill so what follows is just a ‘little’ supporting text. The real ‘fun’ action of Day 4 came in the afternoon when we sallied off to Vosne (yippee !) and had a ‘negoce’ afternoon similar to that as occurred in 2013 for the first time when Cyprien Arlaud deployed his newish negoce licence in full on intent. The afternoon’s exertions this year, and boy where they initially (exertions !), began at a Vougeot side roadside plot of Vosne Village (close by where David Clark had his Vosne Village before he sadly sold up – if you are reading this David hope you are good – you are thought of often, especially at the mo). The Vosne roadside vines produced grapes that were shockers with rot in 2013 but this year they are light years improved such its hard to believe they are from the same plot – there is some rot this year but in context nominal I’d say, and as everywhere you go it seems, you have these big butch bunches of grapes filling buckets and porteur’s cases in no time. It was ferociously hot again here and to say your’s truly was perspiring freely is really a gross misuse of ‘freely’ ! Several times on this vendange I’ve had very naughty fantasising thoughts what I might do for several cold lagers – just wait until I get home !

We moved on from the first roadside plot the short distance to ‘the other’ Vosne Village plot (that is besides Aux Reas – more of that another day) which is a block with its lower edge to the road, one of its longer sides to the tree lined avenue (where the war memorial is) leading into Vosne itself. The plot goes about half way up the distance to the village from the road. Good grief it was hot still. We beavered away, bit more rot here, but I was coupering well (one seems to have definite good and bad days) and finished my first allocated row in snappy fashion before the majority of the main gang (a rare event for this not getting any younger 57 yr old) . Herve moved me to another row over to the outside which brought me close up to my bete noir ! This is one Xavier (surname unknown). This, and I’m sorry but this is all true, unprepossessing skinny young male is not an attractive specimen in any way, and dresses and behaves as he looks. How about wearing the same grubby polo shirt, disgusting looking ‘fashion’ shorts, and scruffy trainers every day ??? One might think, ‘well, he probably washes them all overnight’ – I don’t think so !!! He and his ‘friends’, there are a gang of about 4 of them, endeared themselves to me on the first lunch when in our dining refectoire (the old US Army field hospital building) they grabbed the best seats on table 1, closest to the food (!), the table traditionally every year the preserve of the older, regular, team members and Herve as le boss. It soon became apparent why they had plonked themselves down where they had as, after demolishing their first helpings with a total lack of anything akin to table manners, they had the damn cheek (well, I thought it was, never having seen this in 5 years) to go back for seconds !!! And probably would have had thirds if they felt they could get away with it. Let me say there’s no way I’d want seconds so no envy etc there – I’ve stopped having cheese and dessert & limited my lunch wine intake so as not to adversely affect afternoon vineyard performance ! I was only also amazed the incredibly nice Beatrice, normal role the Arlaud office lady – for this vendange in charge of lunch dishing up/clearing up afterwards – let the ‘tribe’ have seconds but she did although she later mentioned to me another day she was fully aware of what was going on and in control !

Back to the incredible Xavier at Vosne. I’d already decided previously another day, that whilst we can’t all be blessed, and humbly admitting I wasn’t the quickest once upon a time, that he has to be the worst and most devious couper I’ve had the misfortune to come across in 7 years. On, I think, day 2 having doubtless recognised his cutting limitations (or lack of desire for anything akin to graft) he tried his hand at being a porteur . How that had come about amazed me at the time as cut out to be a porteur Xavier clearly was not – suffice to say that didn’t last long, thank god ! Anyway, back to Xavier at Vosne, and cutting a long story short, I could not believe what I was seeing. Kid you all not, he must have taken c10 minutes phaffing about with one vine, some of that time taken up by being ducked below it, doubtless to avoid being seen ! How, through the vendange, Herve didn’t sack this guy was totally beyond me but that afternoon in Vosne just left me seething at what the lazy so and so was getting away with – as ultimately we all end up doing what he should.

Badly needed, well earned rest required and much slopping of water drinks at the end of the Village exertions before the routine cry of ‘en vehicule’. Off we went up into and through the streets of Vosne, weaving left from the centre place, and around other domaines vehicles and equipment in the narrow back streets, up past ‘La Grande Rue’ on our left (brought back sad thoughts of the unfortunate/untimely death of M Lamarche in the last year), ‘Romanee-Conti’ and ‘La Romanee’ on our right, to a spot now high up on the road near ‘Aux Reignots’ where we disembarked and grabbed buckets and secateurs to the superbly located and, for me, endlessly fascinating Vosne 1er cru ‘Les Petits Monts’.

The vines from which Arlaud buy the grapes here are on the far side and top part of the plot and, unlike most others, are trained across slope rather than more conventional up and down. The rows are tight together, and with a steepish slope, one needs to keep an eye one’s bucket is level and have a secure footing – for the latter I found to wedge one foot against the base of a vine behind you, with the other foot upslope just under the vines being picked gave a secure ‘platform’. We were doubled up two to a row leapfrogging each other and soon seemed to have completed the the cut. The ground was dry underfoot and, yes, the grapes looked fantastic, rot free, and so was the quantity such that we were struggling for cases/porteurs to take the amount we were pulling off the vines. Amazing compared to 2013 when nothing like the quantity and some indifferent quality. Happy days ! Just a bit of time to admire the incredible vistas of Vosne below, and up and down the Cote – amazing on a clear day – and snap a few photos. No sign this year of my smiley photo subject of 2013, Henri Audiffred, who’s premises though I had noted as we entered Vosne. At this stage it was well on into the afternoon hence I just assumed we’d have a restful drive back to Morey, possibly cut some village or Bourgogne and that would be ‘it’ for the day. Err, not quite, I’d forgotten something ! My excuse here is that I’d not been involved in the plot in question in 2013 as then we’d been split and I’d ‘done’ Bonnes-Mares. From Petit-Monts we dropped back downhill then took the road north between Romanee-Conti & Romanee St-Vivant, past a very well (i.e expensively !) dressed mature lady getting back into her expensive looking Mercedes-Benz estate (she did not look like a tourist albeit I didn’t recognise her !), then onward past Les Richebourgs to the left, RSV part two to the right, before a slight right hand ‘dogleg’ through Vosne ‘1er ‘Les Suchots’, pulling up at somewhere entirely new to me ! Puzzled, above me was a sort of Combe. Where was this ?!?! Question asked – doh, Echezeaux GC Les Treux !!! I’d forgotten all about this ! Wow, my first ever work in a V-R related GC. And what vines, goodness me did these look old – turned out average age c70 years old – tres vieilles vignes ??? Bill’s already published a grapes on vine photo – entirely representative – gawd, I want some of the wine from here when its released (if I can afford it !!!). An amazing end to a varied, interesting, exciting in parts, and hard working day – maybe not quite at the wow factor of Day 3 but not far from it and, together, just the best two collective days without a doubt of my seven years vendange experience. Not all vendange work can be so amaze balls (no protests, this is a proper phrase included in the Oxford English Dictionary I’ve been dying to use for ages although not suited to my usual banking day job !) as I’ll outline in coming days but I’ll take what we’ve done so far as some sort of experience to live long in the memory.

mark’s harvest: 18 sept (pics)…

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 20, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

mark’s harvest: 17 sept (even more pics)…

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 20, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

mark’s harvest: 17 sept – war and peace (text!)…

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 20, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

ARLAUD VENDANGE – Day 3, Weds 17th Sept 2014
(And a brief reprise to Sunday)

Typing this in the somnolent day 4 lunch break (i.e it’s the 18th today I know, I’m behind, but you try all this) when all I want to do is lie out and snooze like my fellow vendangeurs after a full lunch.

A just lovely morning again, if v hard work. The weather has been just beautiful this a.m. Once the sun got to work the early morning overcast disappeared quickly but just a bit more than a whispering breeze made life tolerable as we slaved away. Life’s good !

I’m supposed to be covering day 3, and M.Raphet on last Sunday afternoon, having run out of time last evening to send Bill more than just photos but may as well cover day 4 morning whilst fresh in the mind. We started by being personally selected into two groups. My small grouping, 13 strong including moi, and retired Colonel de l’Armee (honestly) Rene, the truck driver, went with domaine employee, Damian, a new guy to me this year, studious & friendly, but oddly an ex Bordeaux wine school pupil, to a parcel of Chambolle Village. All straight forward, nice grapes, no rot (at all), and once done and a chance for team photo taken, we set off back to rejoin the main group who were tackling a further high up section (across from Latricieres) of Charmes-Chambertin. We pile, in like the relieving cavalry from a western, to help finish off the rows in course. We then tackled some new rows as a full team, of really, really butch, lovely big bunches of grapes (sorry, it’s just an incredible norm). Water elevenses (well 10.30) after that, chance for a few photos then en vehicule (love the in vehicle rests !) weaving through the vines to what turned out to be a section of Mazoyeres down to the road. We were two to a row, always preferable for me (depending on my companion) with my colleague starting from the road upwards, me down slope. Now the bunches of grapes here were just an absolute joy to cut. They were generally large, uniform, well hung (for snipping easily I mean – no tittering at the back!) hence one could really get into a rhythm, little or nothing fiddly, interrupted only by having to very regularly empty the bucket into a porteur’s case. Not really a great morning to be a porteur, they were working really hard (dare I say for a change in some cases !). Lunch soon came around, with a self satisfied feeling of a morning’s work well done in almost idyllic circumstances. Am I enjoying this vendange like no other ! If only they were all like this. Have I said that per usual I’m the only English language speaker/Brit ? The way I like it ! Day 4 photos will be sent to Bill, all being well, tomorrow, the 19th with added account of a superb afternoon including a first time working in a particular GC for me – clue is starts with an E !

Sunday p.m – The former Domaine Jean Raphet premises are just off the Morey centre piece a vers Gevrey and next door to the Arlaud vendange accommodation. Guess I first got to know M Raphet Senior (assume he’s Jean but am not sure) to say ‘Bonjour, Ca va’ to etc etc from my first Arlaud vendange in 2008. He’s long retired I think and seemingly just potters about, as retired Burgundian vignerons do, with flat cap seemingly permanently attached to his head at a jaunty angle. My first ‘proper’ brush with him will live long in the memory & I think I mentioned it in a previous year’s Bill published piece. That ‘event’ was after the 2011 Arlaud vendange Paulee when, amazingly, he invited me and another into his home at c 10.30 in the morning for what turned out to be a degustation and a half. Stupidly we went, seemed rude not to, the only snag being my head already felt like the top was then coming off from the previous evening/night’s proceedings – as did my companion’s. We survived, exchanging pleasantries, whilst sampling various Morey treasures, some task ! Back to Sunday, as I was unloading my stuff he called me into his yard and we went through to his tasting room again – I think he was just bored and welcomed the chance for a chat etc and some company. I was happy to oblige as I like him a lot, and liked things a lot more when he got out a Raphet 2000 Clos de Vougeot. This was a ‘wow’ wine, really, felt like the best Burgundy I’d had this year but the occasion could have got to me ! It certainly had an amazing nose with secondary aromas/profile and was a silky, moreish, very long delight in the thirsty bouche. Conversation was a little stilted as he has no English at all and my French is limited, especially the way M Raphet talks ! We covered a few things like French politics (as you do), the weather (as you do), last year’s harvest travails, and he told me he retired after 40/50 years (forgotten exactly but think the latter) as a vigneron. His son I think now makes the wines in premises at the rear of the Morey Boucherie. Time flew with M Raphet, lubricated by the Vougeot (goodness it was good) until we’d drunk it all ! Am sure he plyed me with more than he had but eventually I got up to go asking him on a whim if I could have the empty bottle as a memento and could he autograph it for me – which he did. At this point he then reached for another (full bottle !) and pressed it on me despite my protestations, genuine (!), that I couldn’t possibly, or should pay him for it – which he would not hear of ! So, I staggered outside (bear in mind I d’d driven from NW England overnight to be met in the shared entrance by Herve Arlaud who took one look at me, the bottles, and M Raphet and burst out laughing – rather rude I thought lol  . And the vendange was only starting Monday (when once again my head was bouncing a little) !

Day 3. Good heavens, this waaaas something else, without any doubt AT ALL, THE BEST DAY or part thereof I’ve experienced, in this my now 7th vendange to date (ok, I’m a beginner compared to BN !). Its very hard to explain really why it was JUST so fabulous but it was. We started first thing in Clos St Denis. The sun came up as we worked the plot – one I’ve just always loved more than any other, can’t explain why – just a personal feeling thing. I’ve got a photo that I think has turned out rather well re the sun. Once again it was warm, everywere’s very dry underfoot which is good. I reckon we all enjoyed CSD, the grapes were (sorry!) just once again really stunning. I’ve never seen grapes like these in my Arlaud days to date. The old vines in CSD usually struggle for any sort of quantity, and what there is often small berries, millerandage etc etc. Not this year – it was a grape fest !

Onwards, could it get better ? There’s something about Bonnes Mares which has a special reverence for the Arlaud vendangeurs every year, even if the team changes a lot bar the regulars. It really seems to mean something to the locals, most of whom I guess will never own or drink a bottle ! This was another tremendous vineyard visit. Very much like CSD in terms of grapes to the usual and how (pics attached) – no rot. To complete the morning we moved in a rather circuitous route through the vines to Morey 1er Ruchots – another personal favourite, both terroir and wine. At a track junction we made way for a tractor and trailer. Driver looked familiar – indeed, Christophe Roumier. Think this is a man in love with his tractors as almost every time I see him it seems he’s in a tractor seat. Sure enough when we got to Ruchots and dismounted there were the Roumier team hard at it in Clos de la Bussiere. At first I thought, touchingly, the Roumier team had their children with them but only later did I realise, when I saw the crocodile of primary school age children, avec teacher, exiting Bussiere back towards Morey, that I must have been looking at a school field trip to experience the vendange – nice ! Boy, was it hot coming up to lunch in Ruchots. Its usually at least a bit damp in there, relatively low lying as it below road level, but it was remarkably pleasant under foot. Its also usually an escargot reserve and sure enough I saw one or two large examples.We didn’t finish before lunch so retreated and were joined back at base, unusually, by the triage team up for a joint lunch. Yet again, re Ruchots, I’ve got to say the grapes were just incredible to what I’ve known in four different years (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013). Both in quality, next to no rot that I saw, and once again , the remarkable quantity. Seems Morey at least is blessed in 2014. I also wondered to what extent Cyprien’s biodynamique drive of the last few years has paid off big time this year as a contributor. Can’t recall if I’ve mentioned before but the wild flowers, and the rose bushes at the head of vine rows, are all remarkable – not something I can ever recall being aware of before (or maybe its just me this year). I’ve also noticed plenty of insects; spiders particularly (not to excess though !), and just the odd coccinelle, plus caterpillar.

After the morning’s heady brilliance of sites and the produce from them the afternoon passed in a relatively low key manner. We came back and finished Ruchots, heat beating down on us still, then spent the rest of the afternoon doing firstly some Chambolle Village (Morey side) and then finishing c 18.00 hrs doing some Morey Village below the RN74, from my ‘Climats & Lieux Dits’ Atlas, this was ‘Les Cognees’ although Arlaud don’t bottle as such. This was, and I’m really sorry to sound like a stuck record repetitive, remarkable also. Its not far from Bourgogne Roncevie, and low lying, one can usually anticipate rot as a given. Not this year ! The grapes from here were just a joy to pick – really wonderful fruit.

Evening brought more fun and pleasure. Cyprien, his wife Carol (Carole ?), and their three young daughters joined us for the evening meal. Also present, as a considerable, if nice, shock to me (as in not expecting to see her for a moment), was Madame Phylloxera, my 2011 vendange best friend, Anissa B invited for dinner by Herve (the madame bit a joke name I gave her as she so amused me in how she pronounced the P word) . More of Anissa in a mo but Cyprien and I got talking, from me just how fantastically special the morning had been. To my surprise he effusively agreed, becoming almost animated which is v rare for his normally quiet, reflective, deep thinking usual self. Vigneron and his British vendangeur were at one in adoring what our morning’s experience of CSD, Bonnes-Mares, and Morey Ruchots had been. He gave me, without blinking, verbally some numbers of yield averages for recent past years, and then yields for the above sites for this year (INSERT IF CAN GET AGAIN) . Anissa had been working for the last few years in the Paris shop, Lavinia, as a sommelier but told me she was passing through her parents Chambolle home en route to a new sales role with some Languedoc/ Provence negociant. We reminisced happily over all that amused us both in 2011 and events such as the tasting we went to, post vendange, with the always great value Alex Gambal (must call post vendange this year).

And so to bed after a wondrous day. What could Day 4 bring ? Well, maybe not quite so amazing but pretty good – to be continued !!!

mark’s harvest: 17 sept (pics)…

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on September 19, 2014 #harvests#vintage 2014

Burgundy Report

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