Vintage 2019

thurs 19 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 19, 2019 #vintage 2019

2019 Pommard Vaumuriens
2019 Pommard Vaumuriens on steroids!

My home domaine’s day started in a calm fashion – two plots of villages Beaune in the programme – Montée Rouge which as it sounds is a plot high on the hillside – and Bons Feuvres, a plot on the flat that borders the road to Pommard. The policy of the domaine is to showcase the differences rather than blend to make a ‘generic’ cuvée of villages Beaune. In both cases, these plots were true to the vintage – ripe, crunchy, thick-skinned, a little rot and dried-out berries to triage – super villages in 2019.

We did a long morning session – running through to a lunch-break only at 14h15 – mainly because the bins of grapes were coming in a little quicker than in many vintages – easy grapes to find/harvest, easy underfoot too – perfect conditions to pick – not too hot either as the cool wind was still with us, despite azure-blue skies. That brought us to ‘change of plan time:’ We’d planned our plot of Pommard Vaumuriens to be the final pick tomorrow, but gave the pickers the option of continuing to a ~6pm finish in the vines or finishing a little earlier and come back on Friday for just 2 hours of picking – they chose the former!

I joined the team in Vaumuriens, returning with the grapes, the horns of our vans blaring to announce the end of our vintage – much to the bemusement of ‘non-locals.’ Of course, returning to the winery at this time meant that all the triage was still to be done – we finished at nearly 8pm. Great grapes from a super vineyard with such brilliant views towards Pommard and the Saône plain beyond – and what a difference to last year when they were hailed so the maturity was delayed by 10 days!

Tomorrow will be our Paulée 😉

wednesday 18 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 18, 2019 #vintage 2019

Batman Returns!

The home domaine already has the end of the harvest in mind – probably we will finish at lunchtime on Friday. Around the Côtes there are many approaches: Today de Montille finished harvesting their broad range of Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune wines whereas Grivot started today – there are others starting tomorrow, or Friday, or…

I spoke with a consulting oenologist today; he has a broad view of analyses from multiple domaines, so, with his help, I was trying to position the 2019 reds from an analytical standpoint. The level of the phenolics is comparable with other recent vintages (2015-2018), perhaps a little behind 2018 but also showing a little more acidity than that vintage. Of-course that’s based on the grapes already picked, not those that may be picked in the coming days, but you can see the ripeness of the reds from how easily the juice stains the hands and how quickly the colour is developing in the tanks, long before the onset of fermentation

Today our morning was filled with Bourgogne Blanc – from the same place as yesterday’s rouge – here is half a hectare worth. For this wine, it’s the second vintage and like last year, the main triage is for oïdium – a result of the vintage conditions and the vines being so young. These grapes had a fine, fresh, aromatic while moving over the table.

Lunch brought the chance to taste something different; I have much respect for the whites of Louis Latour, but the reds leave me confused because they taste almost as good as anybody’s wines before bottling but are tight and uninteresting for some time afterwards. I rarely see bottles with a few years of age to challenge that experience – but this 2009 was one. The nose started strange – certainly not ‘Chambolle-like’ – as if there was too much CO2 despite 10 years of age. The palate showed it perfectly – yes, too much gas. We released much of it with shaking – it was a mousseux! Slowly the wine rounded out in shape and the nose began to grow. In the end, I’d say that it became quite tasty and yes, even Chambolle-like – I wouldn’t have said that to start with – so carafe!

The afternoon brought me joy – above, right – clusters of pinot so beautiful that they are amongst the best I ever saw on a triage table – since 2004 – fruit for the eyes rather than work for the hands! Did I forget to mention? This was Beaune 1er Les Reversées. I’d have been keeping at least 15% whole clusters, but that’s not the politique of the domaine, so all was destemmed.

tuesday 17 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 17, 2019 #vintage 2019



Today we started our day with Charlemagne, Corton-Charlemagne!

A mere 31 hl/ha but requiring only the most modest of triage – just a tiny bit of everything to remove! Like the rest of our wines from Pernand, there was a little some pinot beurot in the mix, though perhaps a little less than those others.

In the morning we were visited by a school class – this is Burgundy culture after-all. First, they had visited the vines with our pickers and all sang the La-la song together – including our Eritrean pickers! – then back to the cuverie to see the process and eat a grape, or two…

For us, more Savigny villages – we keep active with the triage – there’s a bit of rot here, but the removal is easy.

Lunch was late, almost 2 pm, but afterwards, we were still left waiting a while for our next grape deliveries – and surprise, it wasn’t Savigny! Here was the first harvest of Bourgogne from a parcel planted in the bottom of Chorey, the vines now 3 years old. There wasn’t a lot, maybe one-third of a normal harvest, though this is typical of a first vintage – we had about 800kg from 0.32 hectares. The grapes warm to the touch – another 30°C day today though tomorrow should be a little cooler – and needed the removal of a little rot which in this dry vintage it’s easily done – no squishy, sticky bunches here!

monday 16 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 16, 2019 #vintage 2019

Savigny 1er Les Vergelesses

We start Monday with some white Pernand villages – Les Pins – a few hail impacts and also a few dried grapes to remove, but cool and fresh from the vineyards, this first-picked wine of the day has grapes that were oh-so delicious – I really couldn’t help chewing on a few of these! All the whites are showing a nice acidity it seems – our chief is happy with that!

Next up, Savigny 1er Les Vergelesses, but now we are picking the red! This is good stuff – there are different vine ages here so the smaller, finer, bunches come in punctuated waves with slightly larger bunches on either side – but very little triage is required here – these are excellent grapes. Our third cuvee of the morning – it turns out to be third of the day as there’s plenty – is a Savigny villages, red. A few bins of this are triaged before we are ‘forced’ to go eat lunch. However, in condition and form these grapes are practically identical to those of the Vergelesses – this should make a super villages wine!

Post-script on the iPhone with 9 lives: It didn’t have 10 lives – our chauffeur somehow managed to break it while in the vineyard today!

There was a little extra action in the Côte de Nuits today; Comte Liger-Belair started his campaign with harvests in Echézeaux and in his Vosne-Suchots – for fun, below, you can see Louis-Michel’s 90° double triage in action, in the small video he posted today!

sunday 15 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 15, 2019 #vintage 2019

2019 passes the iPhone test!
Our truck driver was amply able to demonstrate the ripeness of this year’s grapes:

Loading the truck with the bins of chardonnay from Pernand’s Sous Fretile, then tying the bins down, our chauffeur set off driving from the top of Pernand-Vergelesses – bumpy and narrow to start – then drove all the way to the Remparts de Beaune to make the grape delivery at the cuverie.

It was only when unloading that the phone spotted, forgotten! It was still glued by the sugar to the lid of the cases on the open-backed truck – it hadn’t moved an inch!

We began our day with the aforementioned Sous Fretile; as always a lot of pinot beurot co-planted in this plot as was once the fashion – today the domaine only replants with chardonnay. These are the best white grapes I’ve triaged so-far this year; very little oïdium and practically no rot or dried grapes – looking good!

Then it was back to the Chorey-lès-Beaune, a somewhat monotonous proposition – but that’s what happens when you have 2 hectares of the stuff – I’m hoping for more variety tomorrow! Today’s Chorey delivered the same experience as yesterday’s. Some triage to be done for dried grapes and a little rot – but all easily done – the quality looks high.

saturday 14 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 14, 2019 #vintage 2019

A word on our Beaune 1er Belissand from yesterday – it had been de-leafed early and, unlike our previous whites, had no oïdium to speak of. This vineyard also suffered no episodes of frost or hail – unlike the Savigny and Chorey blancs. Only 35 hl/ha was the yield of the Savigny-Vergelesses – the aim is 45-50!

Today was the day of Chorey – the domaine has plenty of Chorey! Our white Chorey had a nice bite and freshness – moreish grapes, very yum – just an occasional bunch with some oidium, but it was rare – an occasional hail impact too, but this looks to be a very promising cuvée. In the afternoon we only had red Chorey – and there will be more tomorrow(!) There was some rot to triage as this is a ‘humid’ area, but the grapes were ripe, tasty and thick-skinned – the rot was easy to triage, though there was some shrivelled, sometimes grilled, grapes to remove too. Very high quality this year – it only required our ‘finessing!’

Tomorrow, I shall mainly be hoping for a little less Chorey-lès-Beaune!

friday 13 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 13, 2019 #vintage 2019

Chevalier-Montrachet – but not Cabotte!

Today the home domaine was triaging (largely) Beaune 1er Belissand – a white, and in just its second vintage here. The grapes looked cleaner than the Savigny 1er white of yesterday – no oïdium to be seen – easy!

We haven’t discussed the weather very much, but today was approaching 30°C and over the weekend it’s supposed to warm more – and there’s currently no rain to be seen in the long-range forecast. I think that this could have the effect of compressing the harvest timetable versus the harvest timing predictions of a week ago.

Anyway, today I was able to take time out to tour the Côte d’Or, and whilst I saw plenty of action in the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte de Nuits had virtually no harvesting – except for finding the team of Domaine Denis Mortet – harvesting their Chambertin!

Anyway here are some images from today, and some comment attached to the individual images themselves. Enjoy…

12 sept – home domaine, 2019 harvest day 1

By billn on September 12, 2019 #vintage 2019

Savigny Aux Vergelesses

Part 1:
Our first juice comes from Savigny 1er Aux Vergelesses. These medium-sized berries (but with a lot of millerandage) are ripe – the first press juice showing about 13.5° – the trough under our vibrating table has collected plenty of these millerandes, but they are not all completely ripe – it’s doing its job!

The bunches are harbouring very little in the way of insects, and there’s no rot to speak of, though some oïdium needs to be weeded out on the triage table. Given such a warm year the acidity looks quite good – there were more days over 30°C in July-August 2019 than in the same period of 2018 – but these grapes are refreshing to the taste.

As every year, our press is the limiting factor, when its full we revert to pinot noir despite more bins of Savigny Vergelesses in waiting. Our first red will be Corton Renardes – more than touched by hail on the 14 July – the estimate is about 20% losses, but we shall see!

Part 2:
Our afternoon is about reds – three of them – all small cuvées. We have two 1er crus from Pernand – En Caradeux and Les Fichots – plus Corton Renardes.

The Renardes was beautiful stuff; medium to small berries, with almost no rot – we could have done no triage at all. There was just a little more to be done with the two from Pernand, but only anecdotally-so, though their average berry size was a little larger – Caradeux had the largest grapes.

What was clear, was the crunchy thickness of the skins – along with berry size, the key attributes of the vintage. These thick skins are the source for plenty of tannin and that tannin was far from ready one week ago – the grapes were sweet enough but they were also showing plenty of astringency – today that’s gone – this is the concept of picking with phenolic ripeness in action.

wednesday 11 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 11, 2019 #vintage 2019


More and more people are attacking their vines. Yesterday Lafon picked his Montrachet, and Lafarge did their usual opening routine of harvesting their Clos du Chateau des Ducs, hand-destemming the grapes through a large ‘sieve’ – as in previous years – then they did the same with their Pommard Pezerolles.

Today, I got the chance to ask Erwan Faiveley how the harvest had started for him: “Our harvest started on Monday in the Côte de Beaune and Mercurey villages, not yet the Givry or the Mercurey 1ers. The whites in Côte de Beaune that were frosted – Bourgogne and Puligny villages, for example – were also harvested, bringing in about 20 hl/ha, but our Bâtard delivered 35-40 hl/ha (they are not yet decanted so it’s not yet fixed) so we can be very happy with that.” Erwan explains that the grapes grew quite well in the last days though it still won’t be a big volume vintage, “The reds are likely to show some tannin from the growing season. One or two vines in the Côte de Nuits are already harvested, including the old vines of Chambolle Fuées. Tomorrow we start in Chablis where we had a welcome few millimetres of rain at the weekend – and there will be Mazis tomorrow too!

Vincent Dancer coninues to post the most compelling images of the harvest – I leave you with one to finish. Outside of Chablis, Côte d’Or and Chalonnaise, some of the early ripening areas in the Beaujolais Crus are already beginning to be harvested, but the bulk remains on the vines, waiting – though Lafarge (again) started with their Chiroubles today!

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