Vintage 2016

arlaud vendange diary – day 3

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on October 02, 2016 #vintage 2016


Arlaud Vendange Day 3, Monday 26th Sept 2016

The aforementioned rest day arrives. ‘Overslept’ until 7.30, extremely fatigued by the previous two days exertions, but was still first into the refectoire. Boy though, was I stiff in the legs and hips areas. Initially, I concentrated on computing, writing, camera downloads & photo editing – all very time consuming.

Main event/focus of the morning from this unexpected free time was to get myself and the car down to the VW Dealership in Ladoix, somewhere I’d passed many times but never for a second thought I’d venture through the gates, let alone the showroom door. Quite entertaining experiencing a French dealership – seemed just the same, barring the language as the English ones. Eventually, in my limited French, having sought to explain my predicament and car repair required, I ended up sat with smiley, cheery, Fred, who seemed to be some sort of chief mechanic, if a youngish guy, and in (clean) overalls (other than the ‘regulation’ whites shirts and seeming de rigeur tight, narrow pants of the salesroom guys). Fred came out to my poor damaged Bora with me, inspected it briefly, taking a photo of the window with his phone and noting its VW details. We then returned to the showroom and his computer where he proceeded to take all my details bar my inside leg measurement ! My UK Post Code seemed to cause notable consternation in terms of entering but eventually, surmounting the language barrier between us, he seemed confident the repair would be straightforward but, as I’d fully expected, they’d need to get the part in (the window glass). He suggested that would be the next day so I promised to return with the car and leave it, Fred for his part suggesting only Tuesday morning would be needed and I could call back for it Tues lunch or evening. Hum !!!! The best laid plans……………see later.

I’d used my run down to Ladoix & back to Morey to spot the small roadside arrow signs pointing to domaine locations, mentally filing these away, for possible future visits e.g. D…… & Ravaut. On the way back rambled my way through sleepy Chambolle, not much happening at all (in fact nothing !). I’d seen very little signs of vendanging life during my there & back to Ladoix – just the very odd (as in rare) team alone in a vast sea of vines. From Chambolle taking the ‘high road’ to Morey I spied a team at work in Bonnes-Mares and stopped for a look/chat. They greeted me cheerfully as Domaine Bruno Clair, one of the guys pointing to an older, greying, guy sat on tractor & attached trailer with grape cases as the man himself. If this was BC he greeted me pleasantly, professing himself happy with the cut grape quality – certainly looked ok to me. There didn’t seem to be ‘that’ many cutters and, if I hadn’t been in smart attire, I’d have happily offered to help.

And so back to the village domaine buildings for lunch where the rest of the resident guys and Herve were already tucking in. An interesting event occurred as we finished lunch, and can’t remember now who came in with it (might have been local vendangeur Daniel), but someone arrived with a ‘parcel’ which happened to be a large, if not huge, Common Carp, frozen stiff, wrapped in cling film. I’ve never been fortunate to have caught such a fish in my freshwater fishing days (mainly my youth) but I’d estimate its weight at between 10-15 lbs. This prompted much appreciative conversation, and many references to Le Carp (if there was any doubt what the poisson was), with debate on how to best prepare and cook it. This would be a new first for me but more of that for Day 4 evening.

Early afternoon I returned to, & concentrated, on my computing for Bill. Cyprien had told me there was now (shock horreur, wonders will never cease !) l’internet at our residency but I should see Basile for more detail.

However, I had more in mind for maximising the rest of the day than being chained to my laptop so mid afternoon set off for Beaune with a view to picking up my 2013’s Le Grappin order having been ever so politely approached by Emma pre vendange if I could collect given Le G’s limited space. Managed to go straight to the Le G premises which chuffed me. Found them all hard at work bar Andrew who’d ‘nipped out’. My mission ended as something of a fool’s errand though as Emma explained the storage bottles were off site and needed notice to arrange collection and, if I understood correctly, needed labelling. Guess I should have anticipated but I hadn’t so agreed to come back post vendange.

Quick thought process with time on my hands pre needing to be back en Morey for evening meal had me head to beloved Pernand-Vergelesses and a call in to my still fondly remembered Dubreuil-Fontaine (‘D-F’). Initially met cuddly office lady, Bernadette, who told me she would be retiring April 2017 – what a shame as she’s been lovely with me. Before heading uphill to the cuverie I commiserated with Bernadette on the sad death previously of Bernard Dubreuil. To add to this Bernadette told me that as we spoke Christine’s husband, Nicolas, was in hospital having a back operation that day hence, as Bernadette put it with some drama, Christine would be ‘alone’ for the vendange. I asked about buying some wine and was handed the price list (carte) but with Bernadette pointing out a number of unavailable, sold out, wines which amazed me as until now one could count on D-F to have a v good selection. No blanc premier crus made for an easy decision there so settled on 6 packs of each of the P-V Village 2014 blanc and Beaune 2013 1er cru ‘Montrevenots’. Concluding the purchases and with a fond good by to Bernadette I headed uphill to the cuverie. Here came across Christine in conversation with two very nice older local couples notwithstanding which she greeted me in the most delightfully warmest fashion. Leaving her to conclude her conversation I said ‘hello’ to 3 or 4 of the same cuverie staff there in my ‘day’ and helped them with their final washing/brushing up. Christine came to join us & asked if I’d stay for a degustation – ‘yes please’! Over a very pleasant Aligote I heard how their vendange was going well other than decimation of certain terroirs/parcelles. Christine quoted me some figures which I should have written down, but suffice to say they were Cotes de Beaune horrific. She told me the Cortons were actually ok & largely unaffected – good, but only I suppose if one has the funds to buy them idc. Said my regretful good bye’s as they are all lovely people – if I wasn’t now so ‘embedded’ at Arlaud I’d return to D-F in a heartbeat, and may yet do so one day as I feel I owe it to them.
Treated my fellow evening diners to a bottle of each of my purchases. I normally bring some wines with me but didn’t have time on this occasion to get a few together so manic rushed was the run up to my departure from the UK. The Pernand ’14 Village blanc was steely, mineral, just a touch of miele delicious. The Beaune Montrevenots ’13 went down well but personally surprised me at its softness and (low) level of acidity. My previous experience of this wine (deliciously) all relates to the 2008 but this one was nothing like how I recalled the earlier vintage bottles. Very strawberry & raspberry fruited though, easy to drink.

And so to bed but with an unfortunate, if annoying (very!), twist in that Sebastian the traveller hippy type (and suspect he’d fallen asleep) was playing loud, dull thudding, repetitive music from his room, and there’s a stairway to a loft space in between our rooms (not to heaven) which woke me at around 2.30 a.m – 3.00 a.m. and destroyed the rest of my night’s sleep, although the noise did eventually stop. This was something to be tackled later and was (to be continued !).

Day 4 details to follow when we eventually move away from the Bourgognes (and how), have Le Carp served up for our evening meal and things continue to escalate re Sebastian. Meantime I’m sending some pics of today, including our evening fare but as ever its up to Bill how many he ‘publishes’.

harvest day 9 – 30-sept-2016

By billn on September 30, 2016 #vintage 2016

Friday 30 Sept.

Despite the poor weather forecast that tells us that there will be plenty of rain later today (Friday) and rain for most of the daytime on Saturday, it seems we are still left wanting for a volume of grapes today. Still, we actually do have grapes and from very different ends of the spectrum.

First up, we have some (Bourgogne) Hautes Côtes de Beaune, these are actually domaine vines, but ravaged by frost – there wasn’t much. And from the other end of the hierarchy we had Charmes-Chambertin, and they were very-much grand cru grapes…

The home ‘domaine’ actually is a négociant, but with a little over 1 hectare of domaine vines, and today’s parcel from the Hautes Côtes de Beaune laid bare what the frost has done to so many vines in this growing season; normally more than 80 cases of fruit are yielded here, today 18. Last year there was more than 7 barrels worth, this year, maybe, one and a half. There was some botrytis to remove from these grapes, but in this case very little of the raisined, dried mildewed fruit. The tiny quantity prompted a rarely seen sight, people triaging what came out of the destemmer – we recovered nearly half a case of grapes!

The Charmes-Chambertin was really a sight for sore eyes – just beautiful fruit that needed very little in the way of triage – at least optically, better than the Corton Clos de Roi due to the smaller more classic grape size. Gorgeous stuff! The grapes here were not better in any of the 05/09/10/15 vintages…

And that was it! Given the forecast, no grapes are in the planning for tomorrow (Saturday) and possibly not Sunday either. Eventually we will get our ‘big day’ but maybe it will be Monday…

harvest day 8 – 29-sept-2016

By billn on September 29, 2016 #vintage 2016

 So beautiful – 2016 Corton Clos du Roi – only for caressing…

Wednesday was an ‘enforced’ rest day at the home domaine – at least from the perspective of receiving grapes – there were simply no grapes to be had. With such a small harvest in the Côte de Beaune, it will be very difficult for the traditional, smaller (actually not just the smaller!) négociants this year, particularly since 2011 was their last ‘okay’ harvest from a volume perspective.

We did have some Corton Clos du Roi planned for Wednesday, but the picking was re-arranged for today – and a mere 30 cases of fruit at that – possibly about 2 barrels worth. No other grapes were planned for Thursday – another fabulous late-summer day..

But let me say, the fruit was really beautiful – still with some raisined/dried/mildewed ‘grapes’ to triage, but really perfectly ripe; the berries didn’t need a lot of coaxing to fall from the bunches, yet those berries were robust and not even close to being ‘mush-able.’ Probably the finest we have seen this year, so-far. We triaged only about 5kg worth of waste from those 30 cases!

Not much more to add regarding today, except that it took longer to wash our grape-receiving set-up, than it actually took to triage our only delivery of the day. Still, it looks like Friday will be very busy, particularly with rain forecast for Friday evening and the whole of Saturday…

arlaud vendange diary – day 2

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on September 28, 2016 #vintage 2016

Arlaud Vendange Day 2, Sunday 25th Sept 2016

Similar morning start to Saturday, one or two new faces presenting documents, some others from the day before not turned up. New faces included the most extraordinary looking character I think I’ve ever seen vendange time. Turned out to be a girl (I wasn’t sure honestly) with the most inappropriate, (bizarrely) ‘floaty’, ‘outfit’ for a day in the vines and an incredible blonde ‘beehive’ type outfit – a true apparition.

Vines wise this was a totally Aligote flat lands morning experience. We started nearer Morey than Roncevie but beyond that & even nearer to the train lines, passing several lovely looking ‘virgin’ pieces of earth ready for planting with whatever, super looking soil though. The plot we arrived at, vans parked under a very attractive large tree, was not one I could ever recall from my previous years thus I wondered if rented, or maybe machined in past years. Machines are generally an absolute “ No no” for Arlaud as wholly against the much valued certified organic/bio status. The vines were atypically dripping wet from over night but I’d learnt my lesson quickly from Saturday a.m. and wore waterproof over trousers. The sun was rising behind us for an ethereal atmosphere as Herve gave a lecture to the newbies on how to pick Aligote, and the essential need for vandalistic leaf stripping beforehand to reveal the ‘hidden’ fruit for then cutting. Gloves, or a left one in my case, utterly essential. If one ignores a leaf you can guarantee a bunch of grapes behind it. Here I had ‘love himself’, “aren’t I great, fantastic, girls look at me supa cool dude” Thierry as my porteur – conceited idiot. Just stood there, fagging it for the most part, preening himself in his 60’s style, throwback from ‘Grease’, baseball bomber jacket – get a life monsieur. Total opposite of fantastic, rough edged if great bloke, porteur Claude (see later).

Mixed results here, vines clearly frosted badly, and nothing remotely like the weight of fruit Aligote routinely produced in past years. What there was though was nice, much care required to make sure none missed. I rattled up my first row, having always enjoyed picking whites. We moved south a plot or three, passing a bold cock pheasant chancing his ‘luck’, to do our second plot quickly via doubling up to the few rows before moving onto familiar Aligote territory on the Chambolle side of Morey below the RN74. Here, to my utter amazement, we had a coffee break ! Unheard of a la Arlaud but welcome, father in law chef arriving with flasks, biscuits and No 2 Cyprien & Carole daughter, the lively, fun, Jeunesse. Pleasant interlude before we attacked this latest plot of long rows towards the main road. For me this was superb as in my row I had longtime regular porteur, Claude, who was missing Saturday. Claude is a bear of a bloke, but super cheerful, despite surviving a bad illness of some sort which saw him absent a year and losing a load of weight (he had it to then lose !). What rules him apart from ALL the rest of the (mostly lazy in my experience) porteurs is his sympathetic nature to the coupers, manifest whole heartedly in the Aligote, in being prepared to, most efficiently, leaf strip without being asked. This was worth loads to me and, between us, we stormed up the row we were in, ending up way ahead of anyone else – hugely satisfying to me as the anglais outsider. Brilliant.

Resting after lunch, I overheard mention between Herve and Damian, the latter clearly being groomed as 63 yrs old Herve’s in the vines leadership succession (have my personal doubts as, whilst I have no problem with nice guy likeable Damian, having patched up our 2015 differences) I’m not at all sure he has the gravitas or ‘drive’/authority for vineyard team management) of a team split for the afternoon, and Echezeaux. I asked Herve if I could be included for the Echezeaux (Les Treux) team so off we went, just a few of us. Some more activity noted around Vougeot and Vosne which Cyprien had mentioned at lunch (Mugneret-Gibourg and others he mentioned seeing on his parcelled checking travels) but we arrived at our few rows with no activity around us. Some really nice looking grapes here, very nice, but not many of them compared to previous years. Here Damian gave me a lecture (unnecessarily in front of all – singling me out as being English ?) on putting my Bucket under the bunches being snipped to avoid, as if, single grapes hitting the deck. I said nothing, but took tacit support from my porteurs knowing ‘looks’ and brief supporting words après. The owner of these en meteyage vines was present throughout, hovering. We had a brief conversation post picking where he was clearly intrigued/amused at my English vendangeur presence, asking all the usual questions about where in England I am from, how many vendanges I’ve worked, etc etc. We agreed about the positive looking quality but he bemoaned (assume he gets paid by the caisse) the lower than in the past volume (to be the recurring theme of the vendange I wonder ?).

What followed was ridiculously horrible ! Passing two lots of separate gendarmes teams before and after the Vougeot roundabout, stopping drivers for a) speeding and b) drink testing we arrived at a new to me, ‘wrong’ side of the road plot below Chambolle, with Cyprien present ahead of us in his Volvo V50. He confirmed to me this is a constituent of his negoce Bourgogne Oka. But what a farce cum disaster. If one wanted any further evidence of frost effect here it was. Incredible, hardly any grapes at all, really at all, many vines with none. Dishearteningly tedious, soul destroying, under a broiling sun, which left me hardly able to speak so thirsty was I and with no water (go figure) in our accompanying truck as usual. Initially I wondered why pay us to ‘do’ this waste of time plot rather than just machine what little there was but, without asking anyone, it occurred to me later that to machine would be against everything bio/organic which the domaine so values.

We moved on to join the rest of the crew, resting in a break and, thank god, with plenty of carafed water, in Roncevie to jut finish the few rows o/s from Monday. These we knocked off in short order for a c.5p.m. early finish but not before Herve called the team around him below the RN74 to announce Monday would be a no work, rest, day and we’d re-commence Tuesday. Caused some consternation for the locals, the younger one’s particularly. Almost unheard of for me – think we had a rest day (fatigue and forecast bad weather 2014) in 2014, the only other day off I can recall in 7 years.

Went to the cuverie evening, after bucket cleaning & getting changed out of filthy, sticky, attire with a view to despatching early missives to Bill but confess got distracted by catching up on early emails as well as essentially sports results, including my dear to ma coeur Liverpool FC’s 5-1 thrashing of Hull FC, as well as being much amused by waste of space, W Rooney’s long overdue dropping by MUFC’s (aka the Scum) Moaninho – priceless . Lost track of time, partly by laptop’s clock being an unaltered hour behind UK time but finisihed with a pleasant tasting interlude in the cuverie tasting room hosted by vendange stageur, Arthur (?) Salvadori from his family Jura domaine. We had an Iscardi (no vintage labelled) Dolcetto d’Alba (pleasant but not for me) and a much better, hugely interesting and atypically oxidative 2009 Savagnin Cotes du Dura. And so back to the village, evening meal, and very tired early night. Appropriate to mention during the day I learnt the 2016 Roncevie total production was circa only 20% of a ‘normal’ year – terrible but can totally believe on what I’ve seen to date. We’ll see re the premier and GC’s to come.

harvest day 6 – 27-sept-2016

By billn on September 27, 2016 #vintage 2016

 The ‘second-set‘ fruit that shouldn’t have been harvested vs far right, an unripe bunch (that also shouldn’t have been harvested!) – This is why we triage!

The wall-to-wall sunshine of the last days had left us this morning, but it was still dry with some flashes of blue sky.

Sunshine was coming to Beaune though, in the form of grapes from Vosne-Romanée – always a great cuvée, and almost always one where we do a high percentage of whole clusters. Like all the previous grapes, generally high ripeness , dark berries with crunchy thick skins. Here was the same amount of dried material to remove, more second-set fruit to discard, but also some oïdium too – not lots, but I never like the look of that stuff!


In the end it was Vosne for the whole day – nice to have a bit of volume from somewhere – we will have some days without grapes this year as we’ve lost habitual cuvées from Volnay and Marsannay, all frost-related.

It might have taken longer to warm today – t-shirt weather really only from the late afternoon, but it was a good day…

the return of the mark! arlaud vendange diary day 1

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on September 27, 2016 #vintage 2016

Arlaud Vendange Day 1, Saturday 24th Sept 2016

Bonjour Bill et tout le monde. J’arrive sur la Cote Friday evening after leaving my North West England home for Dover circa 2.15 a.m Friday morning. J’a une petite probleme avec ma voiture on the Autoroute about an hour from Dijon when it locked me out of it after I’d stopped for some diesel and was washing the windscreen free of half the insects between Troyes and Chaumont. I won’t bore you with the rest but suffice to say after recovery from the service area on a flatbed truck to some garage in a hamlet somewhere in the countryside my VW now needs a new left rear window – was impressive how the car stood up to the attempts of the garage guys to break in with increasingly larger hammers but eventually a spot welder or similar something lance like hot on the glass enabled entry & keys retrieval (insert various rude words of choice ici). . I could hardly watch. Now over 200 Euros worse off (that’s less wine to be acquired doh !) I’ve still got to sort some replacement glass before returning home – a trip to VW Ladoix beckons !

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. All hugely familiar in Morey Centre after my diversion to the Arlaud cuverie first to see what was happening, who might be there – it was by now after 7.00 p.m. due to my incident which I reckon cost me 2 hours or so. Only Herve and the office lady packing up at the cuverie but clear all was ready to commence with triage table, presses, cases etc etc outside under the roof overhang as usual. Cyprien had originally contacted me in early August to say, quite explicitly, we would not start before the 28th Sept. Yeah right ! At the beginning of last week he told me Saturday the 24th. Gawd, loads to do in my desk bound UK day job to ‘escape’. Eventually turned my work computer off at home Thursday evening very late having done all I needed to, grabbed a couple of hours sleep, fuelled up with black coffee and set off as above. Some 680 UK miles later, one English Channel & one ferry, 3 quick stops en route to ‘refresh’, plus beaucoup of self inflicted car woes (my defence is I’d no idea it had a self locking system – I’ve only had it over 10 years !) here I am in dear ole Morey-St-Denis, and very sleepy it is this Friday evening.

Reassuringly familiar for this my 9th vendange, 7th at Arlaud (think I got my maths wrong last year when might have mentioned 10th). The chasseurs from Besancon area were here i.e Colonel Rene, loveable softy spoken Serge, sage Daniel plus new man, George. Also present were young Basile from Bordeaux who told me he’d completed his MA thesis on “Iconic Wines – what makes a wine iconic”, and a first time here young lady who turned out to be apprentice winemaker, Caroline, from Germany (avec perfect anglais) who has worked in the Rheinhessen, and latterly Sancerre, but has pitched up at Arlaud on a recommendation from the Sancerre winery (name not known, sorry !) to experience organic/biodynamic viticulture.

Amazingly no long time fixture, Dede, nor Mr Handlebar moustache, Jackie, who has occupied the annex off my room the last few years. Hey ho, nothing stays the same, but Herve is his usual larger than life self including my instantly becoming Marko (name is Mark actually but do I care not one bit !).

Convivial Friday evening meal relaxed me from my Autoroute car woes. In addition to the domaine’s ‘usual’ Bourgogne Aligote & Bourgogne PTG we had a couple of half bottles – one 1999 Morey Village, and one Morey 2002. The first was corked although only I tactfully called it out with Basile quickly agreeing. The 02 was flat out delicious – love to have some of that in my cellar (but not in halves !). We also had some sort of claret – very Merlot. Think it was Chateau du/le Pin 2011. No one seemed very interested & c.half of it it was there on the table for Saturday breakfast so I had a small glass with my breakfast bar and before my black coffee. Seemed quite pleasant !

Today turned out to be a (Bourgogne) Roncevie day all day. Contain your excitement ! Once the usual checking in paperwork (swear there’s more of it every year) had been done, seemed to take an age, with all the new for 2016 crew and some of the usual regulars, off we went. Quite a smarter line up of hired vehicles this year than the crocks of the past. Seemed to be a change of emphasis from vans and a couple of double cab, flat bed, trucks to only two vans (actually mini buses) but three trucks. Plus the usual decrepit, seems to go for ever, domaine workhorse Citroen Jumpy small van. Quite dark to 7.30 a.m. but we are later this year. Didn’t do a head count but we filled the vehicles – maybe not as many folk as last year perhaps.

Fairly early on the opening strategy for this year’s harvest it became clear i.e attack and complete the low lying, frost affected, stuff. We started in Roncevie, where regular Arlaud aficionados will know the domaine has 5 ha., in the furthest section towards the railway, up against a wood. This portion, probably the lowest lying bit,(think totally) was re-planted after the devastating frost/winter of 2009-10. Its always been a pain in the butt to try and pick the first efforts of the youngster vines. This year was weird. Many of the vines had little or no fruit on them but then one would come to a vine which for no apparent reason had a few nice bunches on it – much more than seen in past years. Also fairly quickly I noticed variable/inconsistent ripening with some bunches, or parts of bunches, next to fully ripe one’s, looking ‘rose’. Very quickly got quite muddy as well, as in clinging to one’s boots etc in vast quantity – not good. Very early the vines were pretty wet from morning dew so one also got damp. Morning passed uneventfully and so to lunch, before which Cedric, Jean-Pierre and myself cleaned all the buckets and the secateurs. On the subject of the latter I had two during the morning which were a sticking pain in the butt. Have never had sticking/blocking secateurs in my previous year’s – someone hadn’t oiled them me thinks. Porter friend/regular Laurent offered to get me a replacement for the first pair but the one’s he got from one of the trucks was no better so I persevered until lunch time then selected my weapon’s of choice carefully for the afternoon.

Cyprien’s wife Carol(e?)’s father, an ex professional chef,. was in charge of lunchtime dining arrangements as last year. An engaging, larger than life, extrovert type whom one cannot help at being amused by. Lunch was usual mixture of entrée, mains, plat du fromage (large one) and fruit ou dessert. Wines as above i.e Aligote & PTG on free flow as required.

Back to Roncevie for the afternoon. Really hot weather wise now with clear blue sky and only an occasional whisper of breeze. What struck me now, as we worked the rows/section nearer to the road (RN74), was the almost total absence, as far as the eye could see between Gevrey & Morey, of any other domaine’s vehicles scattering the hillsides i.e we were almost alone. Very unusual but I heard later most of the Morey domaine’s intended to start Monday or later that week. I should have guessed sooner from the all but empty Morey car park !

My afternoon’s toil was brightened by music to work to. Initially, a tall, whisper of beard, guy next to me was playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon from his phone. Actually turned out to be a Floyd tribute band re-make but good enough. Took me back to buying ‘Dark Side’ years ago when it first came out, in my long ago 6th Form College days (between 16-18), as my first ‘proper album (actually my second but I don’t like to talk about the aberration first by Wizzard !). Moving rows later I was next to, hippy traveller type, Sebastian, with his long ‘matted’ dreadlock hair, a ‘type’ old ladies might cross the road to avoid. Sebastian is quite an engaging, if voluble, character with very good English, originally from the Vosges region, but who has spent his latter years as a travelling free spirit. A girlfriend (not present) who lives in Dijon brought him here. He explained to me, andhe can chat (!), whether I wanted to hear or not, that he has fallen in love with Colombia (of all places & nothing to do with drugs) and has dreams to get enough dosh together to open a bar or restaurant there – hum ! Anyway, he was playing what turned out to be an eclectic mixture of stuff, pretty loudly, via his phone. The first ‘tune’ was the rocking, if repetitive, Suzie (Suzy ?) Q which I will always associate with my favourite film, Apocalypse Now, said tune from the up river ‘concert for the US Vietnam War troops featuring, for those days, exotic dancers. Post Suzie Q an even better series of electric blues tracks (just my type) blasted forth to rock us down the rows and take my mind off my raging thirst.

The grapes in Roncevie Haut were pretty impressive, what there were of them. Volume very varied vine to vine but first sight of big bunches. Rising ‘dust’ as said bunches landed en bucket though suggested some rot albeit within the bunch other than being visible on the surface and so it proved post triage conversation – shades of 2013.

And so, to return to the village, final bucket cleaning, departure of the locals, quick glass or two of vin blanc refresher before photo downloads, evening meal and early night.

harvest day 5 – 26-sept-2016

By billn on September 26, 2016 #vintage 2016

 A little villages Gevrey-Chambertin to start the day…

The good weather continues – and if we believe the forecast(!) maybe for the whole week too…

For those a little slower off the mark, today is the real start for many in in the Côte de Nuits. As noted, yesterday, Dujac are starting today, and also in Morey, Sebastien Odoul of Odoul-Coquard is making his first cuts – they are not the only ones! Of-course Burgundy is not just the Côte d’Or! Many in Chablis are starting to harvest today too – I note Domaine Christian Moreau, Domaine Daniel Seguinot, amongst others, are now in their 1er Cru vines…

But for us, today, it was a slow start. Our fruit from Gevrey was out of the chill-wagon nice and early, but more was on the way – so we didn’t actually start triaging the fruit until 10am.

That being the case, I took a tour of the, mainly empty, stainless-steel tanks in the cuverie. Here we can easily see the advantage of temperature controlled tanks; directly I could see on the display-panel, that our first tank of Morgon (that which was destemmed) was starting to ferment – the other tanks were all ~16.5°C – but this one was now 17.5°C – stand well back! 🙂

Between parcels of Gevrey – we also have Gevrey in the afternoon – came some Meursault Vireuils. Actually a little bit too much for the size of our pneumatic press, but a solution was found; Our winemaker has his own domaine, and today harvests his Corton-Charlemagne, and there’s less of that. So his Charlemagne comes here to be pressed, and our Meursault goes to his place to use his bigger press – flexibility!

Our day rounded off with the last of the Gevrey, and it’s been something of a constant theme; very good ripeness, the only unripe stuff being the second-set grapes that shouldn’t have been harvested in the first place, and the ever-present raisined grapes to be triaged. Once more, very good stuff – again with seemingly quite ripe stems too.

harvest day 3 – 24-sept-2016

By billn on September 24, 2016 #vintage 2016

 In the hot, early harvest of 2015, the pinot gris was rarely ripe at (pinot) harvest time. But in this vintage it has kept pace with the chardonnay and pinot noir – above from Beaune Les Avaux today…

Today starts a Côte de Beaune day, and finishes as a Côte de Nuits day.

We start with Santenay 1er Le Comme. We do this parcel every year, and usually it needs quite a bit of triage, but this year, in 5 pallets of grapes I saw only 1 cluster with a little rot – remarkable! What we did have, was ripe grapes with quite ripe stems too – what did require triage, however, was the ‘grilled’ i.e. completely dry, raisined grapes – this is sometimes harder work than snipping out the rot, but I have to say – very good stuff vs the average from these vines.

Next a sight to make us very sorry – the total harvest from Beaune Les Avaux and Beaune Les Cras required just 30 minutes work! The grape quality was super, but the harvest yield was probably below 5 hl/ha…

A short pause, waiting for the truck, and then came our Gevrey-Chambertin villages – quite a lot of it! Two lieu-dits worth, with another coming on Sunday – this to wait in the cooled truck for Monday. Really all the grapes this year have been ripe – very little under-ripe to throw away – and with crunchy thick skins too. The only complaint you could have is the amount of ‘grilled’ berries to remove. About one-third of this Gevrey went through triage and then was left as whole clusters.

Saturday was also a day that some attacked their Corton Grand Crus – according the Carel Voorhuis “The quality looks really good, and to be honest, in the context of the vintage as a whole, I have to be happy with the roughly 25 hl/ha that we managed to harvest.” David Croix (who Carel will soon replace at Camille Giroud) was a little more downbeat about his harvest at Domaine des Croix “The quality looks great, but there simply isn’t enough. I’m still waiting for my Corton-Charlemagne, but the rest is all done, and the domaine as a whole made only 5 HL/ha – the Corton-Charlemagne won’t materially change that.” I will add my own exclamation mark to that!

harvest day 2 – 23-sept-2016

By billn on September 23, 2016 #vintage 2016

 No, not a tiny globe – actually a sun-burned grape – to be discarded!

The Marquis (Guillaume) d’Angerville chose today to attack his Volany Champans, but we had unfinished business with our Morgon!

Today, the second-half of our Morgon was going to stay in whole-clusters – of-course we still made the same triage as the day before. These whole-clusters were collected in a different fermentation tank to those grapes we destemmed yesterday. I asked are the two going to be blended together – ‘maybe yes‘ was the answer – I would assume from a pure commercial standpoint, the actual answer will be yes! I also asked, so if we are doing whole cluster with this gamay, will it be a shorter cuvaison as is common in Beaujolais? The answer was – ‘yes – or maybe longer‘ with a smile.

I think that this is called wine-making by the seat of your pants 🙂

Interestingly, like yesterday – virtually no fauna was on the triage table – I smelled two stinkbugs – but again didn’t see them – and I saw one spider. So that spider was the only creature I actually saw from about 15 pallets of grapes. I guess I wouldn’t have been completely surprised if the fruit had come from a vineyard with zero growth between the vines – like too many in Beaujolais – but in this case there is some ground cover. I remain surprised!

  • Below you can see our whole clusters being moved from the triage area and dropped into the fermentation tank:

And the day’s sorting:

Burgundy Report

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