Vintage 2016

‘the magnificent seven’ – the measly montrachet 2016 follow-up

By billn on May 15, 2019 #the market#vintage 2016

I gave you this update, almost 1 year ago. Finally there is something concrete:

600 bottles are to be distributed, though some will be kept back by the domaines. Wax-topped, in special presentation boxes and all will wear the same label: “L’Exceptionelle Vendange des Sept Domaines“. It’s unsurprising, given that they had to take out a négoce licence so as to do the elevage, that all this work is being undertaken by the Domaine Leflaive, despite that their name is not on the label – but it’s the same level of anonymity for all the seven owners who contributed grapes.

The domaines and their distributors were tasked with picking suitable names from their client lists – to honour those chosen, with the possibility to buy a bottle. I haven’t received a letter – not yet anyway!

And the price? As always, if you need to ask… But just entre-nous, €5,500 the bottle when exported – or €6,600 including French tax. That’s nearly double the price, for those on the list, of a 2016 Romanée-Conti. Keep an eye out for your letter…

Oh, and what do you guess – cork or DIAM? 😉

the measly montrachet 2016 update – for #ChardonnayDay

By billn on May 24, 2018 #vintage 2016


Pierre Vincent of Domaine Leflaive, pictured posing with the amalgamated 2016 production of 6 owners in Le Montrachet – image from October 2017

I’m sure you all remember the story of the frost at the end of April 2016, it was particularly cruel on the Chassagne-side of Montrachet – or Le Montrachet. For (even more) precision it was the domaines of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Guy Amiot, Domaine Lamy-Pillot (including their métayage of 0.054 hectares of the vines owned by Claudine Petijean) and Domaine Fleurot who assembled their production of grapes. This resulted in a measly 530 litres of wine from 1.25 hectares of Le Montrachet – 5 hectolitres per hectare. All the elevage was done at Domaine Leflaive.

I asked Dominique Lafon today if the wine was bottled yet, and what their plans were for its commercialisation – if any:

The wine will be bottled soon. There should be ~700 bottles but as we will all keep some for our own cellars, only 500 will be released. (Those 500 will all wear the same label – Bill)

We will not auction it, we plan something for charity but are still working on the distribution system. The wine will released in 2019.

So there you go…

a few friday lunch bottles…

By billn on October 15, 2016 #degustation#vintage 2016

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I stopped counting a long time ago – but it seems that last Friday was my birthday – it was also our domaine’s Paulée, to celebrate the end of our 2016 harvest – now how’s that for planning? Actually there are still three tanks to be dug out, but by Monday, or Tuesday, all will be safely put to bed in either tank or barrel.

As Paulées go, this was a very modest affair – indeed, only 8 bottles for 8 people – but there was nothing modest about the wines.

Champagne 1 – a little apple-y and a lot tasty. Champagne 2 was more muscular and intense – tightly wound and fabulous – as it should be. White 1 was Camille Giroud’s 2011 Meursault Charmes, big, bold and impressive – despite the fat, balanced and expressive. Lots of petrol on white 2, and a fabulous open-ended and creamy finish – yum! White 3 was tasty but without reference points – it was basically exactly the same when finished on Saturday night! Red 1 turned out to be Camille Giroud’s 2005 Chapelle-Chambertin – massive aromatics, impressive, tightly wound and complex flavours – bravo – a red version of the Crystal! Red 2 was filigree, complex, fresh, more complex, superb wine – simply exquisite. Red wine 3 was young, a hint diffuse on the nose (though Brillat-Savarin brought out a beautiful beacon of fruit) likewise in the mouth this was young and still showing some oaky structure to go with the impressive density – again the BS shaved off the sharp edges and helped with the focus – easily the youngest of the reds but still number 3 in terms of drinkability today…

And this year’s team:

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a synthesis of le montrachet 2016

By billn on October 06, 2016 #other sites#the market#vintage 2016

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 Montrachet – 28-Aug-2016.

A really interesting story from Bourgogne Aujourd’hui, yesterday: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Leflaive, Guy Amiot, Lamy-Pillot and Domaine Fleurot have blended together all of their grapes harvested in Montrachet – or maybe I should say Le Montrachet, as their parcels are all on the Chassagne side.

Normally these domaines would produce 20-30 barrels of wine from their combined 1.25 hectares, but this year, the sum of all their efforts will be 2 barrels worth of wine – all because of the frost at the end of April this year. It was clear that nobody really wanted to do a micro-vinification as it would have been more like a lab-exercise! Note, so exceptional was this frost, that there is no-one alive that can remember a similar event in the vines of Montrachet.

With their négociant licence, it is Domaine Leflaive that will actually make the wine, which will (presumably) be shared between the proprietors when it comes to bottling. These cuvées, in theory, will not be commercialised, as there will be no more than a few cases per producer – I can’t wait to see the label (design) – assuming they use just one label…

harvest day 13 – 4-oct-2016

By billn on October 05, 2016 #vintage 2016

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 Our 7am accompaniment – some days they can be very loud!

Our last day of grapes began with a trip to Gevrey-Chambertin – on our collection list today was Lavaux St.Jacques and Chambertin.

The morning sky was as clear as can be, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better early morning view of Mont Blanc – a shame that my camera wasn’t to hand in our truck. The clear night had sent the temperatures tumbling – some higher spots in the Hautes Côtes were even touched with a little frost…

The light from the early morning sun on the Côte St.Jacques was really super – the team of our grower was already well underway at 8am, picking in Lavaux. And what grapes – see the images below – this was the best fruit of our 2016 campaign, marginally besting those Charmes-Chambertin grapes towards the end of last week. These grapes from Lavaux provided only one disappointment – we got the equivalent of only 1.5 barrels worth – normally we have two…

Next we drove to Chambertin, and the grower here bussed in a complete team – it seemed from the continent of Africa – most of the women with mud-painted (style) faces – yet in the vines they were as fast and efficient as any team I’ve ever seen picking. 40 cases for us, 40 cases for another producer and just under forty for the final producer. The first booked producer (who is new to this contract) was on site at 9h00, but his cases hadn’t arrived – much to annoyance of his courtier – and to the amusement of everybody-else. I’m sure the courtier would be able to console himself afterwards in his Range-Rover 🙂

Back to our base in Beaune, and Maranges 1er Cru was on the triage table. These were just fabulous grapes – the first pallet with virtually nil to triage – but subsequent pallets had quite a bit of unripe fruit – such a shame to throw it all away – and despite this being the very last day of our harvest, (at least some of) these grapes could have benefited from at least another 3-4 days on the vine. Like yesterday (Monday) our hands were slowly turning blue triaging this fruit – definitely a day for extra layers of clothing, despite the bright sun.

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 Perfect Lavaux – and entirely representative of our 1.5 barrels…

Post-lunch, came the Lavaux. Simply fabulous fruit – see above – and like the Charmes, at least visually, close to perfection – a great vintage beckons for certain wines. Part of this went into the tank as perfect whole-clusters. Lastly came the Chambertin; not the absolute optical class of either the Lavaux or the Charmes, but really as good as I’ve seen from this producer/vineyard – and I’ve seen it every year since 2004! Interestingly today, our three parcels of fruit showed zero raisined/mildewed fruit – such a pleasure.

Okay, now it is just pigeage and pumping over for the next days – a number of our tanks are slowly fermenting with temperatures in the mid-20°s – more on those when I return to Beaune next week. Now it’s the final whistle for our 2016 harvest and time for a few days back home…
 

harvest day 12 – 3-oct-2016

By billn on October 03, 2016 #vintage 2016

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 The aftermath of lots of Santenay…

That was a day!

And a Santenay day, at that. Our triage table started rolling at 08h30, it stopped at 19h00 – the cleaning wasn’t finished until 21h00…

To be honest, it was a hard day’s work, because (at least) our parcels of Santenay had quite a bit of rot (porriture/botrytis) to remove – to a lesser extent some under-ripe fruit too, amd that was despite most of the Côte de Beaune already having finished their harvest. I also noted that some of the fruit seemed a little less robust than what I’d experienced to-date. To be honest I needed 30 minutes to warm-up over lunch – it was only 5 or 6°C this morning, and 4 hours of standing on one spot takes its toll! Every pause was spent in the sunshine, rather than the shade of the triage table 🙂

We did about 80% Santenay villages, the rest being premier cru Santenay Clos Rousseau. The 1er cru was a little cleaner so easier to deal with.

That leaves us with a nice trio for tomorrow – and the last grapes of our harvest – Maranges 1er Croix Aux Moines, Gevrey 1er Lavaux St.Jacques and finally, Chambertin.
 

arlaud vendange diary – day 5

By Marko de Morey de la Vosne on October 03, 2016 #vintage 2016

Arlaud Vendange Day 5, Wednesday 28th Sept 2016

2016_0928lescargot-in-chambolle-bussieres-800x600Day started early with my taking my car down to VW Ladoix to leave with them to fit a new left side rear window to replace the temporary and not very fetching cardboard and tape. Daniel (Le Carp) followed me down there in Serge’s Touran to fetch me back. I was of course too late back to get out start wise to the vines with the rest of the gang so we went to the cuverie as Daniel’s place of work & for me to await the arrival of one of the camions with first cut fruit to hitch a ride back to wherever the action was. Sure enough Rene rocked up and once he’d unloaded we got back to Chambolle Village terroir, if nearer Morey than C-M. Another stunning, sunny, clear blue sky, day weather wise in prospect. We moved around 4 or 5 plots of C-M Village through the morning. Mix of fruit dependant on which plot, or even which vine, but the good was looking very good, akin to Morey Clos Solon from the day before. Saw my first of many large snails attached to a vine who’s fruit I was dealing with – they all turned out to be same shades of dark brown with cream stripe. Serge later told me they are highly prized in Poland – well, the Poles are welcome to them. My one and only escargot (cooked) experience is not one I’d rush to repeat. We finished the morning close to the nearest to Chambolle back corner of Roumier’s Clos de la Bussiere. Another domaine were embarking on their transport close by – Herve told me it was the H Lignier team.

After lunch came a bit of a shock – back to Roncevie yet AGAIN ! Well, I suppose this is a fact of life when the domaine has circa 5 ha. I did finally believe after this latest effort, which lasted longer than Tuesday’s post lunch Roncevie session, that we’ve finally now ‘done’ with Roncevie but can I say that with confidence ? Errr, no, we’ll see.

What came next though, if not for the rest of the afternoon, was just the real deal tremendous. Our post Roncevie destination was Gevrey 1er ‘Combottes’ and its aged vines chez Arlaud. Wow, wow, wow ! This was just seriously impressive in every way. Maybe not the ultimate max volume but appeared very useful and, as usual, with this Combottes a real mix of type of grapes from millerandage variety (always a feature here) to the full & voluptuous. Just a joy to pick here, any fatigue thoughts banished. We were doubled up two folk to a row, one at the bottom, one starting half way up. I managed to wangle a mid row start to ensure I ended up at the patch of grass ‘summit’ at the top of the parcel. We must have collectively kept the porteurs pretty busy in volume terms as there were a couple of fullish crates at the top and I stumbled out of my row with a full bucket looking for a home. Short break only for a drink (water !) and Herve moved us along a ways towards Clos de la Roche to work our way down some separate Combottes rows back to the road & our vehicles. Again little or no other domaine activity round and about – very odd but for my part I’m very comfortable Cyprien has got his timing right. Some of the smaller bunches detached with ease and the larger bunches looked pretty ripe to me.

I can’t really get my head around what’s been happening to date but am quickly getting there ! What I mean here is that, prior to coming out, pretty much most things I’d read or heard were what a disastrous year this is/would be. I get that for parts of the Cote de Beaune no problem, as Christine Dubreuil had outlined, and then had ‘evidence’ for my own eyes of the frost damaged parts of Roncevie (not all though), other plots of Bourgogne Rouge, and the Aligote – the latter not producing anything like I’ve seen in other good or not so good years. However, the fruit of Echezeaux was a first sighter of what has since emerged / continues to emerge, even though volume there was markedly down (I’ll get a figure from Cyprien if I think on). Once we moved away from the ‘base’ appellation stuff and flat lands though things (on the slopes) have improved immeasurably e.g Clos Solon yesterday, Chambolle Village this morning, and now jaw droppingly Combottes. My experience of so called lesser vintages is that Combottes, or the bottom part particularly, is always prone to some rot or mildew etc but all looked encouragingly good now.

If Combottes was not enough our ‘cup then overfloweth’ as Herve led us, en pied, almost like a school children’s outing, along the roadside grass verge from Combottes to one of ‘the Daddies’ – Clos de la Roche (further than it looks !). Before I forget, here I’d better mention the pics I’ll be sending to Bill taken from around midday onwards have come out rather ‘dark’. As always will be up Bill what he prefers to ‘publish’ & maybe he considers they will be too ‘dark’ but it was only when I came to download them did I realise something was amiss. It turned out both the settings ‘wheels’ on top of my Canon G16 had inadvertently been moved from the default auto settings hence the ‘dark’ shots – a crying shame & frustrating. I was ‘brushed’ by a porteur with case on his back just before lunch and my uncovered camera (looped around my neck/shoulder so that I can keep it on my back out of usual harm’s way whilst cutting) I can only think might have taken a brush also – on which basis maybe I was lucky there was nothing more serious.

Clos de la Roche (‘CdlR’) well, cor blimey guv, from this proud Lancastrian was just the male pooch nether regions. Gobsmackingly beautiful looking ripe fruit and lots of it. The best yet ? Who knows, bit different from Combottes which maybe had more ‘finesse’ from millerandage etc but for me the CdlR grapes, in my row anyway (always that caveat), were breathtakingly, jaw droppingly fantastic. Note to self think about CdlR as a 2016 must have – acknowledging the wine has to be ‘made’ yet. This just lifted the end of the day spirits for me to a very special place despite my inevitable fatigue. Trudging back to the Jumpy, stripping off knee pads and single left hand glove, looking up CdlR slope to in the sunshine all of a sudden the world, or my world, was a very special, ‘lifted’, place. I’m a lucky (59 yr old) boy to be doing this and with great people. Be anywhere else ? No thanks, this is the best.

Subsequently I quizzed cuverie located Basile on how our afternoon efforts went down. To no great surprise he confirmed, grinning that Basile behind the specs grin, that Cyprien was very happy (he should be) but to my alternative surprise advised Cyp preferred the Combottes grapes.

What a just cracking day though, superb. Onto day 6, could D5 be surpassed, yes, actually/amazingly it could – stay tuned pop burg pickers!
 

arlaud vendange diary – day 4

By billn on October 03, 2016 #vintage 2016

Arlaud Vendange Day 4, Tuesday 27th Sept 2016

Am starting to type this at 6.24 a.m Saturday morning, grabbing some rare free time, having managed to get Day 3 stuff to Bill last night. Its raining outside and has been heavily overnight I think so today (Saturday) could be ‘hilarious’ but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Back to Tuesday which essentially almost divides neatly into Bourgogne Roncevie and Morey Village.

All morning we dealt with various parcels of Roncevie, mostly nearer the road, the top section as it were in my parlance. The grapes here were mostly ok if not in the volume of past years but one could come to a particularly laden vine which would challenge your bucket. Weather was once again blue sky, bright sunshine glorious once past early morning. Seems we are truly blessed with this first week’s weather, really too hot in the afternoons. The Morey centre car park was still relatively lightly populated and neither was there ‘great’ activity in the vines – seems a little odd this year in timings etc. Neither Perrot-Minot nor Taupenot-Merme seem to have got going yet, nor have I noticed Clos des Lambrays activity but could be mistaken re the latter. Anyway, an otherwise unremarkable morning of graft saw us to lunch – once some of us had cleaned buckets and secateurs.

Post lunch saw just a brief return to Roncevie, but not for long, then en vehicule not so far to Morey Clos Solon. Here we pitched up next to the team from Domaine Regis Forey. Nothing had quite prepared me for what happened next though which was just an incredible quantity and apparent quality from Clos Solon the likes of which I’d never seen here before. Quite breathtaking and all the more surprising given what we’d been seeing/dealing with previously. It was as if the grapes had taken a large hierarchical leap with higher plot classification.

Once we’d seen off Clos Solon we moved just yards away, and cutting, towards the road in Morey Seuvrees. The rows here were long, great weight of fruit again so this was a bit of a slog for this old man such that I was glad when time was called on our day. Evening meal saw Le Carp arrive on our plates. Daniel, of the Chasseurs vendange longstanding ‘gang of four’, normal day location at the head of the triage conveyor feeding it with cases, role including loading, unloading, and case washing (via machine), had been in self appointed ‘charge’ of the fish which he’d previously dismembered to remove head, fins, tail, innards etc and by the time the casseroled end result appeared on our plates it was as various sized pieces of fish. I can’t now recall what it was served with, may have been some yellow rice, but whilst I was expecting something muddy and unexciting tasting, the actual reverse was true, it really was quite delicious – very tasty indeed & a first time real treat. Those monks of the middle ages sure knew a thing or to with their wine, fish breeding, agriculture etc !

Unfortunately my evening closed with traveller hippy type Sebastian wanting to unburden himself and his life on me, seemingly wanting some sort of 3rd party (i.e me) psycho analysis of himself. I didn’t really need this nor want to get involved, all the more so when I realised besides his rolled cigarettes he had a small packet of something else which I’d better not go into. The issue of his night time loud music was ‘aired’ such that I was confident that would not re-occur.

And so to bed. Day 5 to come saw car frustrations but finished on very high, including domaine grand cru note.
 

some sunday pics – puligny & gevrey…

By billn on October 02, 2016 #travels in burgundy 2016#vintage 2016

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 Puligny-Montrachet.

A morning wander around Puligny was followed by a late afternoon walk around Gevrey. Very few people were harvesting today, despite really beautiful – if much cooler – weather, at least there is some wind, so probably not much problem with rot after the rain of Saturday. I saw Florent Garaudet harvesting some Puligny villages in the morning, and just popped into Domaine Pierre Damoy to say ‘hi’ as I saw them triaging. They are far from finished (they are late pickers) but had some beautiful Bourgogne rouge fruit that came from the commune of Fixin.
 

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