Just back from our holiday of touring in Normandy and Brittany – a lighthouse tower or two above.
But, of course, you want to know about the harvest!
Grapes have already been picked – since the 17th of August but for crémant and also in Beaujolais too – red ones as below – but, for the moment, we are still waiting in the rest of the Côte d’Or, the southern côtes of Chalonnaise and Mâconnais and, of course, Chablis.
In Chablis, one month ago, they were thinking that they would start around the 25th of August but many domaines are waiting for Monday the 29th. Likewise, many had been projecting a mid-August start for the whites of the Côte d’Or – underlined by the butchers in Meursault! The butchers? Yes, they are also traiteurs (caterers) and were already booked by several domaines to start delivering food from Monday the 15th – but the 15th came and went.
As one vigneron of Beaune explained to me before my holidays; “You learn at wine school that the vines put their energy into growth and then into maturing the grapes – not both. We would have expected the growth to have stopped by the end of July and so the vines’ energy would then have been focused on maturing their grapes but it hasn’t worked out that way – the vines are still growing (end July), we are still having to cut the extra growth of the vines. It’s probably because of that that our veraison is so variable. Anyway I’d initially planned to be picking my reds towards the end of August but I’ve pushed everything back a week, maybe 10 days and certainly into September…”
I spotted 2 well-known vigneron(ne)s of Volnay in Beaune’s market on Saturday (Lafarge & Roblet-Monot) and both were suggesting that another 6 days would be enough – so Monday 29th August.
My own home domaine in Beaune had also been planning to be in the vines by now but given the slow advancement in maturity, only began their maturity tests in the last few days – the current projection is to start on Friday the 27th or Tuesday the 30th of August – they will decide tomorrow.
Ready for blast-off then! It’s certainly going to be an interesting one – another in the, seemingly, never-ending series of hotter vintages but a hot vintage with by far the most rain in recent years – there was more at the end of last week. Couple that with the expectation of quite a large crop and we have the making of a vintage that could properly differentiate itself from other recent offerings – let’s see!