Vintage 2018

general maturity update, with côte de beaune pics…

By billn on August 10, 2018 #vintage 2018

Volnay 1er Clos Santenots – today…

Whilst the northern Mâconnais and southern Nuits, remain a sorry spots, given 2x hail, most of the rest of the Côte d’Or, Chablis and Beaujolais look resplendent!

Whilst many areas of France – and I would include the Mâconnais and Beaujolais – lack rain so have a little maturity-blockage due to the high temperatures, the Côte d’Or seems to be in great shape. The temperatures have not been lower than elsewhere, but heavy downpours have come consistently every 10-14 days – the last heavy ones have been the 25th July and 9th August. There is no lack of water in the Côte d’Or where the volume of rain is the largest since 2004 – but its still an early (so far) vintage with little else in common with that year.

I toured the Côte de Beaune this morning, and apart from a few bruised or split grapes from the hail, the vines and the grapes look in very good shape – veraison certainly a little behind in Pommard Rugiens (Hautes) where I saw only 50-90% completion. All-in-all, looking good – whites still on for a harvest start well into August, the reds, clearly needing a little more time. Fingers crossed, it’s stormy out there!

First, the whites:

Second, almost all reds!:

down south – a 2018 mâconnais update…

By billn on July 25, 2018 #report: producers#reports#travels in burgundy 2018#vintage 2018

Yesterday I hit the Mâconnais to taste wines from the Artisan Vignerons of South Burgundy – wines that are as good as Mâcon can be. They will be in my July report at the end of August.

Northern Mâconnais got pretty badly hit by the hail this year, some vineyards (to use the local black humour) completely harvested. Most people have some hail damage, the very worst affected domaines have lost over 80% of their production. By contrast, the south of Mâconnais which includes the important areas of Saint Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé were overwhelmingly untouched.

In the south the vines and grapes look fabulous – despite a little mildew towards the bottom of the slopes – their one (joint north-south) issue is that the hot and dry weather – much drier than the Côte d’Or – is starting to block the onset of maturity. So whilst the south are planning on a harvest start of ~25 August, it could easily slip into September without the help of a little rain. The grapes are plentiful but small – see images below – rain will not just be needed to rejuvinate the progress towards maturity, it will also be needed to bring better balance to the grapes. The producers of the northern Mâconnais are already looking at September for harvesting, their vines being 7-10 days behind those in the south…

early evening nuits & vosne

By billn on July 23, 2018 #travels in burgundy 2018#vintage 2018

A jog from Nuits to Vosne – and back again.

I saw Guillaume Tardy – he told me that he lost 10-15% of his Nuits Bas du Combe to hail impacts on Friday evening – which is on the northern side of Nuits – but vines he has on either side of these were unaffected – so it was very localised – I have seen some very modest impacts in Vosne though practically nothing. I do note that even some of the smartest of vineyards have a far from elegant caking of almost dry mud at the bottom of the slopes – a lot of rain that was delivered on Friday evening.

There is some green harvesting underway in the grand crus of Vosne, though mainly just leaf-thinning in La Tâche. As for harvesting, Guillaume is thinking 05-08September to start, but he’ll take stock when he comes back from his (imminent) holiday!

today on beaune’s middle hill

By billn on July 23, 2018 #vintage 2018

After a week of pandering to my recurring hamstring injury, I was back out on the jogging trial around Beaune this morning. Above you can see the tractor tilling the soil in Beaune 1er Les Teurons – I asked, and the vines are owned by Remoissenet – so once those of Benoit Germain. Panning to the left (yes I know I should pan slower!) you can see the wall at the bottom of the Hospice de Beaune’s plot of Teurons, and panning to the right, you can see the hill of Corton in the distance.

Around Beaune, just a little more veraison than I saw in Chassagne yesterday – but still only ~10%

a little sunday afternoon chassagne…

By billn on July 22, 2018 #travels in burgundy 2018#vintage 2018

A stroll around the village of Chassagne this afternoon – like most of the Côte d’Or, and despite the nice picture I shared of veraision in Corton on 9 July – veraison is still on a low level in both the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits. In the middle of this week Boris Champy at the Clos de Lambrays told me that they had only 2-3% veraison.

Of note was a big storm on Friday evening – about 11pm with very heavy bursts of rain and enough wind to bring small branches down from trees – but I’ve not encountered reports of any damage.

[EDIT: I spoke to Guillaume Tardy on Monday – he tells me that he lost 10-15% of his Nuits Bas du Combe to hail impacts – which is on the northern side of Nuits – but vines he has on either side of these which were unaffected – so it was very localised – I have seen some very modest impacts in Vosne – practically nothing – take a look at Monday’s images…]

Generally in the vines there is still a small amount of ploughing, vine triming and some last treatments – you are not allowed to harvest within 30 days of your last treatment, so there’s still a few days of potential treatments to go in the chardonnay, if harvesting commences towards the end of August – as seems likely.

sunday’s hail in the côte de nuits – updated

By billn on July 17, 2018 #vintage 2018

The hail was largely a Côte de Nuits event. Northern Nuits, Vosne, Chambolle and Morey had virtually no effect. The flats of Gevrey were affected up to 20%, but not the hillsides. Fixin was more broadly affected – also at around 20% levels. It’s said (by Pierre Damoy) that despite containing hail, the heavy rain of Sunday was quite warm – mitigating the level of damage. The pictures above show the modest shredding of the leaves, which did a good job of protecting the south-facing bunches, but the north-facing bunches were more affected – the pictures above (this morning) from the Côte de Nuits Villages vines adjacent to Nuits 1er Clos de la Marechale.

yesterday – hail again in the côte de nuits…

By billn on July 16, 2018 #vintage 2018

And it’s the area around Comblanchien/Prémeaux that’s been hit again – multiple vigneron(ne)s are affected – and if anything, it looks a little worse than the previous hail passage that also caught some of the vines of Beaune.

I’ll hopefully get the chance to take a look tomorrow…

Chloe Chevalier
Christian Gros
Charles Lachaux

already veraison…

By billn on July 09, 2018 #vintage 2018

I thought that people were joking last week when they said that we might see first veraison (grapes starting to change colour) later(!) this week. It seem that even they underestimated things. The image above is from Mark O’Connell from Domaine Clos de la Chapelle and was taken in Corton-Bressandes, today!

counting the cost – this week’s hail update

By billn on July 05, 2018 #vintage 2018

I’d promised an update after 48 hours and here you go – but first a few images from this morning’s jogging route around Beaune:

Beaune has been modestly affected, but the southern part of Nuits was worse. It seems that the vineyards south of Beaune, Mâcon excepted where there were also some impacts, saw only rain, though there are further reports, today, of hail around Dijon.

“We had quite serious damage in Beaune-Grèves, maybe 10 to 50%, it’s hard to evaluate right now. Very few impacts in Beaune Clos du Roi, and we were also fortunate to have avoided hail everywhere else. I saw yesterday my friend Sophie Confuron from Premeaux, where it seems to be quite hard…
We are now waiting for dry weather.”
Nathalie Tollot, Domaine Tollot-Beaut (Chorey).

“We have been touched by hail in Nuits 1er Les Cailles (losing) 30-40% and Nuits les Porrets 10-20%, nothing on our other vineyards from Côte de Nuits.
In Beaune, just 5% losses – mostly in Grèves and Toussaints.
We are still confident because tomorrow and for the next week the weather will become more sunny and dry, that will permit the berries which were touched by hail to dry.”
Fred Weber, winemaker at Bouchard Père et Fils (Beaune).

And for more precision on the situation in Nuits St.Georges:

“The hail came from the Combe Vallerots in the south of Nuits, finishing in Comblanchien. It affected the appellations of the Nuits 1er crus, villages Nuits and generics that are located between the route-nationale and the highway. The damage is between 20 and 50%. Now we need some sunshine with the north wind so that all affected berries can dry out.”
François Ambroise, winemaker at Maison Ambroise (Prémeaux).

Louis-Michel Liger-Belair estimates that he may have lost 30% in his Nuits 1er Clos des Grands Vignes (Prémeaux) so it’s likely that there are some losses in all of the Prémeaux 1ers, such as Arlot, Clos St.Marc, Clos de la Marechale, et-cetera. From Saturday onward, the forecast is just what the vingeron(ne)s are hoping for – at least 5 days of dry sunshine, approaching 30°C…

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