Vintage 2015

04 september – home domaine’s 2015 harvest day 1

By billn on September 04, 2015 #vintage 2015

Only two vines today – Beaune Cras and Santenay Comme – both 1er crus. The Beaune is usually quite good from a fine selection of more than 80 year-old vines, the Santenay always needs a lot of triage from this plot/grower – but! – the triage table going at full speed, and not many triagers required. Something of a revelation. I don’t actually remember how good the 2005 Le Comme was, but this was superb. A great start – and only one of those spotty red things to be found in the whole day!

Tomorrow two whites, one from Meursault and the other from Chassagne. More from me as it happens 😉

2015 harvest update – hail!

By billn on September 01, 2015 #vintage 2015

Video Here

 Photo belongs to Aurélien Blugeot

Happy are those in the Côte de Beaune that have already cut a significant portion of their whites – Dominique Lafon and Olivier Lamy leading the way with accompanying social-media images of perfect grapes picked under perfect blue skies.

Yesterday night it turned stormy – a modest amount of rain fell in the Côte d’Or, and the forecast for the days that follow is fine, but in Chablis the rain was much, much heavier – historically high levels for a 12 hour period – and at about 2am there was also hail, big hail – @Meteo89 announced that 600 hectares were touched by hail. Alerted this morning by Meursault vigneron, Patrick Essa, I then spoke with Matthieu Mangenot of Domaine Long-Depaquit and he had the following to say:

“We got got hail last night and some places our domaine vines suffered, such as Blanchot, Clos and Montée de Tonnerre. We also had a huge amount of rain – 60-70mm. My plans were to start on Friday as maturities are already high (Moutonne 12.30°), but I will build a small team to start on Thursday for the places that were injured.”

I’ll update this post as I get more producer info, such as Christian Moreau below…

Very bad hail storm last night – damage in many parcels, so we decided to advance our harvest to Thursday morning to save the grapes that can be saved specially with a cooler weather !!

And from the BIVB in Chablis the following infos:

Saint-Bris, Irancy and Chablis suffered a very localized hailstorm, Tuesday, September 1st between 1:20 ET 2am.

The love of Burgundy is lively and a lot of estimates have been circulating since this morning, but it is still too early to give any definate information. What is known is that the vast majority of the vineyards of Chablis (over 5,000 ha) was spared. Saint-Bris has been touched partially, Irancy more widely.

The plots that have been hailed, the maturity of the grapes and the return of dry weather will allow rapid harvest, which will preserve the essential qualities of this very promising vintage. The harvest will be as expected for all non hailed vines.

We’ll tell you more when we have the information.

Followed by a little more precision from the BIVB (Chablis):

The hailstorm hit a narrow corridor running from Irancy to Chablis.

It went through the towns of Chitry and Courgis, touched Chablis Premier Cru Montmains (and Butteaux and Forêts), crossed Chablis town and damaged Les Clos, and Blanchot on Chablis Grand Cru hill, Montée de Tonnerre and a part of Mont de Milieu.

We think that between 200 to 300 hectares have been damaged at different levels.

The other parts of the vineyard are safe. (Surface of Chablis vineyard : 5400 ha)

The harvest was supposed to begin on Saturday, but the balance between acidity and sugar is already very interesting that why the vine growers decide to harvest the affected vines from today to preserve quality.

It’s impossible for me to give you more information at this stage, I’m sorry about that.

vendanges 2015 – vendanges!!

By billn on August 28, 2015 #vintage 2015

To be honest, it’s still very much the calm before the storm, but there are plenty of big names already in the vines…

It started with Olivier Lamy on Wednesday and then on Thursday he was joined by Dominique Lafon and Jean-Marc Roulot – amongst others. Today both Dujac and Vougeraie were in the vines – though only for their Côte de Nuits whites – in particular, Pierre Vincent was only picking his young vines in the Clos Blanc de Vougeot. One vigneron from Meursault dryly noting that much of Meursault might be picked before people start picking their grapes for cremant!

Given the thick skins of the (both colours of) grapes, it is clearly going to be something of a phenolic vintage, so maybe it’s better to be a little earlier with the whites, though not probably not the reds, as it wouldn’t hurt if their tannins had the chance to became smoother. Staying with whites; they certainly have only average acidity, but the tartaric is high and the malic quite low – so not much acidity will be lost during the malolactic fermentation, hence, people can wait if they like – yet many vigneron is now thinking that the grapes are presenting themselves very-much like they did in 2005 – and 2005 is/was rather a brutal white wine vintage, so maybe earlier will be better than later, the grapes often still look green, but many are already showing >12.5°…

2005? So it might seem.

More than one vigneron had previously told me that they thought the vintage could be a cross between 05 and 09, but as the harvest approaches, the form and presentation of the grapes reminds them more and more of 2005 – and looking like there may be just roast grapes to remove during triage as rot is so low. Tasting the pinot reveals quite some tannic structure, for this reason many will not rush into the vines to pick, despite many vineyards looking ‘ready’ already. As one vigneron put it to me “Based on the date of full flowering, and taking only an additional 95 days before picking – given that we had so much heat – that would mean that my Beaune Grèves should be picked on the 7th September – so there’s still a quite some waiting to be done, despite the grapes already looking fine.” Some producers seem pretty sure that the red grapes will continue to mature, without any great risk of rot – unlike 2007 and 2011 where the grapes turned very quickly as the rot developed.

So, just now, it looks like next week will mainly remain the realm of chardonnay harvesting, whereas the reds will mostly wait until after the 5th.

Let’s see!

gevrey, rôtisserie, beze – dead?

By billn on August 18, 2015 #travels in burgundy 2015#vintage 2015

DSC07496Finally! you say – a bit of Côte de Nuits action!

Today, a small tour around Gevrey centre, followed by an excellent lunch in the bistro of Rôtissèrie du Chambertin (good value too) and then a walk through Clos de Bèze to recover. Although only about 21°C today, the sun was hot – only later in the afternoon was there more cloud and a threat – but no more – of rain.

Clos de Bèze – despite its lofty status – is a great place to get an average view of how the grapes are progressing; it starts low but goes quite high on the hill, there are dark areas by the forest too – very different to the sunny, lower and mid-slope vines. The grapes look very clean, very small and the clusters have the weight and hardness of small hand-grenades – all seem very clean of rot so-far. The leaf colour of first vines of each row that face the sun already have the look of autumn (see right), but behind, as the rows continue, they seem pretty normal. In just a few places – for instance the first vines next to the road (Route des Grands Crus) as you approach Morey St.Denis, the lowest leaves are brown like November – yet like elsewhere, the vines along the rows seem fine.

Overall the veraison is a little more advanced than some of the Côte de Beaune vineyards I’ve seen, but not 100% done. The taste of these (€100/kg?) grapes is largely sweet and round – like the whites – probably because malic acid seems relatively low in this vintage. Clearly there’s plenty of skin this year though, and it has quite a good taste – so-far…

Building-site Gevrey-Chambertin:

Clos de Bèze:

a little walk around ladoix today

By billn on August 15, 2015 #travels in burgundy 2015#vintage 2015

Well, nobody else was doing it!

It’s been a pretty rainy week – there was a little this morning too, but mostly just cloud after about 10h00. Indeed we’ve had more than 60mm in the last week, which is such a contrast to basically nothing in July! It’s been hard for the young vines – you can see some with yellowing leaves, but nothing (yet!) like the vines stripped of leaves that we saw in 2003 when in certain vineyards the roots couldn’t go deep enough to slake their thirst – Beaune Clos du Roi springs readily to mind.

May 2015 started cool and wet and ended up almost 30°C. June had 2-3 days of heavy rain, July, depending on where you were in the Côtes had 1mm to 10mm – but only on the one day. The vineyards largely looked in super condition before this August rain, despite the dry weather, but the recent rain has eased vigneron’s concerns considerably.

As you can see (below) veraison is not yet finished in this part of the Côte de Beaune – we have potential alcohols of about 8-9% at the moment. So-far in August, despite the odd spike approaching 40°C it’s been relatively cool versus July. As veraison is not yet, or only just, finished and the weather is now more changeable, it’s still much too early to conclude anything meaningful on the character of the wines that will come – but in about 3 weeks we’ll be harvesting and all will become clearer. So-far, and as you can see, the berry size is rather small – like 2010 or less – and the sanitary conditions look very clean indeed. Let’s see how the weather progresses and whether it will stay this way, or if the grapes will get the chance to suck up a little water…

harvesting – but will that be in september or august?

By billn on July 16, 2015 #travels in burgundy 2015#vintage 2015

 Oïdium today in the Côte de Nuits…

The harvest date: Some people are mentioning the 5th of September as a potential harvesting date, which is entirely possible, but as of today, it’s still too early say whether the 5th of September will be the start date, or the finishing date!

We seem to have the potential for a record early vintage, or just a modestly early vintage – though there’s still time for even that to change.

The weather has been so dry that:

  1. The vineyards look resplendent…
  2. There is no rot to be found anywhere….
  3. But it’s becoming very stressful for the young vines – those suffering the most having yellow leaves nearest the ground, it’s really time that they were allowed to drink
  4. The humid conditions of 2014 allowed fruit flies to multiply late into the season – so-far it looks like that won’t be the case for suzuki and friends in 2015. Fingers crossed!
  5. The dry heat hasn’t stopped the oïdium though. Usually the pinot noir is more robust than the chardonnay to this problem, but not so in 2015, indeed, this year, the problem is currently most prevalent in the Côte de Nuits, mainly in the Nuits to Morey vines. Right now, this is the single-most important issue for most vigneron(ne)s in that area.

Of-course it’s been a hot year so-far, but as veraison (except a few outliners) is hardly underway, the weather has not yet decided if this will be a cool vintage or an année solaire – cooler weather and maybe storms are forecast for the weekend, but afterwards more hot weather is indicated. Any meaningful rain will be welcomed with open arms, particularly in the Beaujolais and Mâconnais where they didn’t get the same soaking in early and mid June as the Côte d’Or. But, a little welcome rain combined with the hot, but not too hot weather, could see the first chardonnay already being picked by 25th August!

Oïdium excepted, the vintage still looks on course for a good one. The potential yields, despite great flowering conditions, seem good, but not on the high level of 2009. Those vines heavily hailed in the last years, not surprisingly, have a poorer fruit-set, particularly the older vines. Many growers in the Pommard to Beaune axis are talking of possibly 20hl/ha – of-course if it rains a lot, then the grapes will expand and add weight (yield). But honestly, many of those growers will happily accept 20hl/ha!

Note: There are some roasted looking grapes to be seen (there was a photo in my diary yesterday) but look more closely, and they seem not to be the result of sun-burn, rather the result of chemical (sulfur) treatments in the heat of the day, rather than in early morning or late evening. Heat, direct sun and sulfur powder is a bad combination!


By billn on June 06, 2015 #vintage 2015

 Vosne-Romanée this week…

36 degrees yesterday, and and practically the whole week with 30°C-plus.

Sticky but glorious! Next week starts similarly but cools and becomes a little stormy – so they say anyway!

It’s frankly perfect for the flowering as there’s not much wind and the temperature is really driving the process – at this rate it may all be finished next week – at least in the Côte d’Or. Farmers the world-over, however, always have a little something to complain about, and Burgundy is no different; The heat rather compacts the flowering into a few fewer days and a shorter flowering will typically mean a shorter harvest – because more grapes will be ready at the same time.

Some you win, and some… 😉

One person not complaining? well that’s me. Unexpected helicopter flights plus invitations to dinners which included Leflaive, Lafon, Dujac and de Vogüé made for a great week. I would tell you that it’s something that only happens once per year, but I’d be lying – I’ve been regularly visiting the Côte d’Or since 2000, and less regularly since 1997 – and it’s only happened once in the last 15 years 😉

time to start your 100 day countdown!

By billn on May 24, 2015 #vintage 2015

Pic by Olivier Lamy.

Floraison in Burgundy (flowering in Burgundy) – reported and pictured by Olivier Lamy today. He saw the first flowers today in Criots, Chaumées and Gravières vineyards.

Those are all chardonnay – the pinot is usually later to flower…

Burgundy Report

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