Vintage 2009


By billn on July 14, 2009 #vintage 2009

Tin Hat Time...From: La Ferme de la Ruchotte
Tin Hat Time...
My ‘vintage updates’ seem to be becoming more of a ‘hail-watch’ than anything. Anyway, here’s the mid-July ‘hail-report’:

Yesterday evening there was a tremendous storm following a hot day of about 30°C. It seems from reports in so-far, that the Côte d’Or pretty-much escaped with a mere 50 millimetres of rain in about 12 hours.

Less lucky as you can see from the linked photo, was Bligny-sur-Ouche, which I think would be classified as Hautes Côtes de Beaune – if they still have some grapes!

Now those things have really got to hurt. Never-mind their grapes, do you think any of their cows survived?

june update

By billn on June 30, 2009 #vintage 2009

Summer has appeared – with a vengeance. I was in the Côtes yesterday, and the temperature peaked just over 34°C in the latter half of the afternoon – today it was 35°. It’s the first really warm spell of the year, the last weeks were ‘average’ as far as temperature went; say 25°C.

Things are moving apace though; a few weeks back it looked like harvesting would be September 10-20th, but current indications (that don’t account for a dark July or August) would suggest September 5th-15th. Not quite another August vintage, but pretty close!

There is a litlle humidity that goes with the heatwave, but at least there is some relief amongst growers that projected storms didn’t fully materialise about 2 weeks ago. Many were the growers, out patrolling their vines at about 5am one week; I’m not sure what they would have done if the forecasters had been more accurate – turn the hail away in a Canute-esque way(?)

vines & wines – yesterday in the côtes

By billn on May 26, 2009 #the market#vintage 2009

Reaching for the sky...
Clos des Langres - reaching for the sky...

Back from a sticky 35°C in the Côtes.

In the Vines
Vine-growth is very speedy at the moment; all the vineyards are looking like they need their first ‘hair-cut’ as the vines start reaching for the sky. The earliest flowering started on Wednesday last week, but more than 95% of the vines have yet to start.

The heat of the last couple of days will start flowering in earnest over the next; this relatively early flowering sees producers already beginning to ‘pencil-in’ 10th September as a potential starting date for the harvest – that’s another early one – but let’s see how warm the summer is first!

The heat coupled to flowering will have growers up and down the Côtes scanning the skies and their trusty(?) weather forecasts. There are almost daily storms at the moment, though fortunately not all as bad as the one that hit a piece of Morey last week; not only was the 1er cru Caffots badly hit, but parts of next-door Monts Luisants too. It would have been much worse if the flowers were already open – yesterday a Morey producer wore a semi-resigned look as he quipped “ah – that just means that the hail has already done the green harvest for me…” The growers clearly hope for a dry 10-14 days during flowering as heavy rain without hail can still make for very uneven setting of the fruit, so far, the weather doesn’t look like it will be all that ‘supportive’.

In the Market – Maison Nicolas Potel & Terres d’Aromes
Berry Bros and Rudd first announced ‘the story‘, though I waited until I’d visited before typing anything; yesterday I visited Maison Nicolas Potel.

I won’t add any gossip – and there is plenty – but the salient facts are that the management of Cottin Freres and Nicolas Potel decided to go their separate ways in March, effective the end of April. I plan to cover the remaining team’s (current) plans go for continuing the business in the summer issue of the Burgundy Report. Additionally, on Wednesday last week, both Xavier Meney (Nicky’s business manager) and most shockingly, Claire Forestier were (I believe) asked to leave. That Claire had only just launched the inaugural Terres d’Aromes vintage makes the timing surprising. Only conjecture on my part, but perhaps the Cottins came to the conclusion that, with wine sales down about 20%, did they really need two competing labels with a similar business model? That’s not exactly rocket science, as it’s a business approach that could only be supported in a growing market. I hope to catch up with Claire very soon…


By billn on May 22, 2009 #vintage 2009

Some serious damage to vineyards in Morey today, Les Chaffots (directly above Clos St.Denis & Clos de la Roche) was worst affected. Seemingly there was no damage just over the border in Gevrey…

hail today…

By billn on April 17, 2009 #vintage 2009


Hail today in Nuits and Gevrey – light in Nuits but the ground was completely white in parts of Gevrey – nothing in-between. Parts of Puligny became white and light hail was seen in Volnay too. It looks like the vignerons were lucky as few buds were open…

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