Vintage 2012

harvest: other sites

By billn on October 05, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

Some reading to cartch-up on:

harvest 2012: not quite over…

By billn on October 03, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

And no, I’m not talking about the Hautes C么tes! I understand that Laurent Ponsot’s team finally swung into action this week – he started on Monday (1st Oct.) and will be working through this week – and who knows, maybe a bit of next week too!

  • Here’s a nice view.
  • And this may be a bit snooty, but it isn’t bad either! 馃槈

[Archive 1 and 2]

a 2012 summary from clive…

By billn on October 01, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

JN Gagnard’s pic: Clos Bortier Bourgogne Hautes C么tes de Beaune (red) being harvested 1st October.

I’m slightly bemused by the language, only because it sounds like there are real wines to commented on – virtually nothing has yet finished alcoholic fermentation, indeed much has not started to ferment – yet the sentiment is fine, plus there’s tons of useful information (as always) too…

Also, hot from the presses (I couldn’t find them before!!!) are the daily vintage commentaries from Domaine de la Vougeraie

harvest 2012: a basic summary

By billn on October 01, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

split-beaune-avauxLast year it was relatively easy to make some broad-brush descriptions of the vintage. This year it really isn’t so easy.

  • The growing season has delivered very little consistency in terms of yield – it’s very low but not consistently-so. Poor weather at flowering was the starting point, followed by frosts, constant rain, then later came occasional hail and the concomitant disease pressure that made life harder, day by day. The only ‘given’ was that the C么te de Nuits suffered less than the C么te de Beaune. Some parcels have come close to delivering a ‘normal’ yield, while neighbouring vines have offered nothing – for example Jean-Marc Roulot has 50% less volume in 2012 and decided not to bother harvesting 45 small parcels! Meursault certainly suffered, with most of the renowned domaines harvesting near to 20 hl/ha. Biodynamic practitioners were particularly made to suffer, but not just them – the grapes of Camus (for instance) in Charmes-Chambertin, and they have a lot, were almost wiped out.
  • Despite the vigneron’s many trials and tribulations during April to early July, the second half of July and August was just about perfect for ripening those few grapes that avoided the attention of botrytis, mildew, o茂dium, hail and sunburn. But when to harvest? A few domaines in the C么te de Nuits, mirrored by the great white villages of the C么te de Beaune, chose to get everything in by Friday 21st – before the rain was forecast to arrive – whereas some others (a smaller group) hadn’t even started by Friday 28th (actually the day Clos de Tart started). Laurent Ponsot, always on the edge, begins his harvest today. Harvesting temperatures have not been particularly high, so only those grapes harvested in the mid-afternoon sun (still rarely above 20掳C) really benefited from cooling. But what of those grapes…?
  • The whites from the C么te de Beaune often needed triage to remove a little botrytis (sometimes a lot!) and to remove the split, dried grapes which had been hit by hail. The skins were reasonably thick, showing plenty of flavour, and there was good maturity too. Fermentations have started quite quickly but there seems no reduction. Probably not the freshness of 2008/2010 but it is very early to be definitive, particularly as the lab results are currently all over the graph-paper!
  • The reds: except in one dimension, almost always exceed expectations – at least those expectations that were set by the mid-summer commentaries – the one dimension where expectations were fulfilled was the yield; on average 40% down. Some vineyards in the C么te de Beaune were below 10 hl/ha, the C么te de Nuits generally had more opportunity to reach 30+ hl/ha. The grape size was rarely a match for the tiny caviar-like 2010s, indeed young-vine bunches were pretty large, the older vines contributing much finer clusters. I have to say that the grapes (from many villages) that passed over our triage table were very clean indeed, just behind 2011 in terms of botrytis but with less unripe material to weed-out. Only one parcel from Santenay had botrytis similar to 2007 – still, much better than 2004 – yet others from Santenay were very clean and impressive. So, overall cleanliness was close to that of 2011, but with much better maturity – many from 2011 were chaptalised, that won’t really be needed in 2012 – we had to throw very little away at the home domaine (fortunately! as there was little enough to start with) other than those grapes that had been marked by the hail (click on the example above – also with a little botrytis in evidence). The skins are thick and flavourful too – there will be many very good wines in 2012, just a paucity of bottles…
  • Fauna: there was little wildlife on the triage table this year – a rare ladybird, a few earwigs (plenty of those in Gevrey last year) and spiders – perhaps a few more stink bugs than usual.

Almost the last throes of harvesting for the ‘home-team’ was in Le Chambertin (only some Hautes C么tes left to pick next week) you can’t actually see the (three) courtiers fighting for their cases in the pics below (thanks Outi!) but they almost were – one of their customers told me ‘well they certainly earned their commission that day’! Those Chambertin grapes needed a little triage, but had very good ripeness, hopefully not too-much ripeness as overall the clusters were a little less ‘tight’ than the other grapes we triaged – with skins that were a little more fragile than the average – but the lab-numbers look good, so let’s see. The reds I triaged last week are now extracting their colour nicely but only just beginning to ferment. They seem to offer balance and length (as best as one can currently tell) with pHs in the region 3.3-3.5. Let’s see how they develop.

naked virgins…

By billn on September 30, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

harvest: september 28th

By billn on September 28, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

I understand that the Clos de Tart has just started its harvest today, whilst the home domaine is still waiting for their last grapes from the 2012 campaign – Chambertin – they will be picked this afternoon, but that will be too late for me as I’m heading home tonight. The grapes will be quite warm once picked – did I mention that Friday is a dry(!), beautifully sunny and deceptively warm (19掳C) day? – so will spend the night in a cooler-van, waiting to be triaged on Saturday morning.

A stroke of luck for the home team is a new contract for Chablis Bougros – particularly with grape volumes being about 40% down. There could have been more grapes, but despite coming from a good grower this was a modest ‘sighter’ of a few barrels worth for experience. The grapes actually looked great as they zoomed along the triage table this morning and directly into the press. Even the 1400 millibars press juice was very tasty indeed and still with a decent acidity – one to watch for…

Finished the afternoon with a walk on the ‘Mountain’ of Beaune and with a few vineyard views from Chaume Gauffriot, south-east into the plain with Pommard just around the corner to the right – plus a friend we picked up along the way…

harvest: september 27th

By billn on September 27, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

The home domaine was on a fruitless day – still no decision on when the Chambertin would be picked – so I accepted an invitation to help at Chandon de Briailles. The domaine has, so-far, brought in about half their fruit – all the whites are done – today we were going to do a bit of work on their Ile de Vergelesses. Chandon prefer to do their triage at the vine, so picking is a longer process than at most domaines, of-course on the other-hand, things are quicker once the fruit reaches the domaine as there is no rolling triage table, just the decision whether to put the fruit through the destemmer or directly into the tank!

The Ile de Vergelesses was very good looking fruit, clean, consistent looking and with decent if not super-small berry-size. The skins were reasonably thick and certainly provided plenty of flavour. The decision was to destem about 50%, add those to the fermentation tank, and finally to add the whole clusters on top. There’s no long, cold soak here, just cooling if the grapes come in too warm – i.e. not this year!

We lunched with the pickers in a large tent as a cloudburst punctuated the otherwise sunny blue-sky day. This is when we got a message from a winemaker who’s van was bogged down in a vineyard. We came out with a 4×4 but quickly realised it wouldn’t work, and probably the tractor wouldn’t work either while it was pouring with rain. He got a lift back to the winery though – no names or pictures to protect the innocent (or embarrassed!)

Images from a day at Chandon de Briailles

harvest: september 26th

By billn on September 26, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

To a soundtrack of Johnny Cash and Massive Attack we make our own attack on the grapes of Lavaux St.Jacques and Maranges Croix de Moines – happy under our cover from incessant rain. [Edit: The rain lasted for 30 hours, delivering 50mm!]

The Gevrey is lovely – we use about one-third whole clusters – and even the other two-thirds from this produce of a lovely old-vine selection needs not much more than a cursory trie. Then we have the big cuv茅e of Maranges which will take us right up to lunch to finish the triage. If it hadn’t been for the rain, these would have been left on the vine a couple of days longer – and it’s easy to see why – a mix of very fine clusters and larger clusters which sometimes had questionable ripeness, weeding out the unripe was virtually the only triage that was required. Like most of the grapes that have crossed our table (Santenay La Comme excepted) there was virtually no botrytis.

Only the grapes of Le Chambertin remain on the vines – to be picked tomorrow or perhaps Friday? Let’s see…

2010 Jadot Beaune Bressandes (Blanc)
2005 Chapelle-Chambertin

harvest: september 25th

By billn on September 25, 2012 #harvests#vintage 2012

Too true.

This morning we have managed to keep completely dry, despite a little rain in some parts of the C么tes. Lots of grapes to pick today as the forecast is rather bad for tommorrow. People are racing against the elements…

Our grapes today have been against (my) expectations – in both directions! Opening with Volnay Santenots and based on so many problems in the area, including a few who didn’t even bother to harvest, we have some lovely grapes. I suppose the appellation is over 30 hectares and ours, at least, had reasonqable yields and nice bunch confirmations. The Corton Clos du Roi that followed was less good; admitedly there was little to triage, but the berry size was quite large.

After lunch – and in occasional sunshine (shock!) – there was Santenay Clos Rousseau to follow the Corton and you could easily assume the appellations had been switched, again there was little to triage but the grapes were small and healthy – lovely stuff! Afterwards we had Santenay Villages which was pretty-much identical (optically!) to the Clos du Roi – big grapes but clean – so decent for villages! Very good Marsannay Longerois, even finer looking Gevrey 1er Lavaux St.Jacques and finally Maranges Croix de Miones were our last deliveries – the latter two waiting overnight in the cool trucks for sorting tomorrow.

6:50pm – the heavens opened for about 20 minutes.
9:00pm – thunder and lightening – rained virtually non-stop overnight

2010 Chassagne 1er Clos du T锚te
1979 Corton-Charlemagne
2008 Charmes-Chambertin
1978 Charmes-Chambertin
1997 Volnay 1er Carelles

2003 Dauvissat Chalbils La Foret
2008 Janots Bos Chassagne
1962 Gevrey
1973 Voillot Volnay Champans
1996 Castagnier Latrici猫res
2004 Bonnezeaux…

Burgundy Report

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