Travels in Burgundy 2021

week 39: the last harvesting days, @louvre_lens & some wines

By billn on October 04, 2021 #degustation#travel pics#travels in burgundy 2021#vintage 2021

week 39 wines...We’ve just returned from a (necessary) week in the UK – so my harvesting this year was cut a little short – that said – my home team in Beaune still managed to finish in September, just!

The major part of the harvest was completed on Saturday (25th) and their Paulée followed on the Sunday. Their last parcel to be picked is always some vines high in Pommard – Les Vaumuriens – often 3-4 days after the rest of the harvest due to the altitude of these vines – but this year they were picked not for full maturity, rather they were picked to avoid the heavy rains that were forecast at the end of the week – 12.5° was not a bad result though and capped 10 days of harvesting for the team.

Apart from our Charlemagne that brought in 30 hl/ha, most of the rest were between 15-25 hl/ha. The Charlemagne was saved by 3 nights of using candles to counter the worst of the frost – at a cost of ~€5,000 per hectare per night – and the domaine owning just over 1/3rd of a hectare here – so that was at a cost of €5,000. Given a price of over €100 a bottle for this grand cru, that’s less than 5 cases of wine so a cost that could easily be absorbed but you can see how quickly that becomes uneconomical as the bottle price reduces.

The team were making their first ‘decuvage’ today and whilst it’s clearly a vintage where the triage was paramount, they are happy that it was done well as the latent wines taste good with no detectable taints.

Below, I include the notes of a few wines that were, mainly, drunk in the UK.

On the way back to Burgundy from the UK we decided to stop at the Louvre-Lens Museum. It more than breaks up the journey, it’s a super location – free to enter but, should you wish, you can make a donation – with a packed restaurant too which, next time, I’d like to try. The next stop was for a few plates of tapas in Chablis’ Why Not – here a bottle of Tribut from the list – more on that below. Finally, to Beaune to sleep and take in the very rainy Sunday!

1998 Guy Castagnier, Clos de la Roche
Not bright and clean but still an inspiring nose – on of purity of fruit and a decadence that implored me to drink – so I did. Deeply flavoured, beautifully fresh – just a little muddled in the long finishing flavours today. Probably to start drinking up but still with plenty of pleasure.
Rebuy – Yes

1996 Leroy SA, Bourgogne
Less depth of colour vs the Castagnier – but clean and bright – actually not so old looking. Complex, a little spice – racy red fruit too – another good aroma. In the mouth, I find unexpected concentration and depth of flavour. This is very, very good. Of course, simpler than the grand cru but with great personality and flavour. Great Bourgogne – bravo – luckily a few more remain at home!
Rebuy – Yes

2019 JC Fagot, Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles-Vignes
An impressive provenance – which I’m not allowed to reveal – that’s why JC had only one barrel – but it’s a beauty. Richly aromatic – ripe but pure – a certain impression of salinity too. In the mouth, the salinity is replaced with a slightly minty attitude to equally rich flavour – not a bruiser by any means though. Beautifully constructed wine – simply excellent.
Rebuy – Yes

2016 Laurent Tribut, Chablis
Ordered from the wine-list – and I’m a bit disappointed by this one – I suppose it serves me right for not being sufficiently adventurous as I’ve had a few of these and they have all been great. This wine, however, has a slightly apple-y hint of oxidation to it. Direct from the fridge (I took the rest home) you will barely notice until the wine starts to warm in the glass after which it’s as clear as day. Sub-standard vs all my previous great bottles.
Rebuy – No – though previous bottles were great.

2018 Château Rougeon, Bourgogne Passetoutgrains La Chapelle
Predominantly (72%) Gamay
What a simply delicious wine – from top to toe – aromatically interesting, beautifully textured, long and deliciously flavoured too. Great Passetoutgrains – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

Some images from the week:

touring the côtes last week…

By billn on July 26, 2021 #degustation#travels in burgundy 2021

weekend wines week 28 2021

I suppose I should start with the weekend wines (week 28, 2021)

2019 La Grosse Pierre/Pauline Passot, Chiroubles Claudius
Average of about 80-year-old vines. I’m so glad to have bought a 6-pack of this.
A perfumed and energetic nose – suggesting crunchy fruit and minerality. Depth of flavour, nicely textured and with a wonderful mineral bite. A seriously great wine of energy and flavour dimension – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

1991 Unknow Négoce, Clos St.Denis
Over the last years I’ve seen exactly the same packaging (capsule, short cork, label-font etcetera) on a number of auction bottles in Switzerland. My experience is that they are of modest quality at best, often not a lot better than Bourgogne standard – even the grand crus – some of them I’ve simply used for cooking. This particular bottle is a little better than average – I even chose to take a second glass on both the first and second evenings I tried it. Not bad…
Rebuy – No

2009 Ramonet, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Ruchottes
A nice long cork – 54mm and untreated it seems. For this bottle it’s done its job – most of my 2010s are dead but this is very much alive.
Alive, though a little tight: The nose is narrow but deep – flinty-mineral in style but almost absent of fruit. In the mouth it’s broad and complex – very mineral, not fully delicious, but impressively complex. The finish is very long. I assume a tight phase – it was certainly more delicious when younger but this particular bottle has held up well.
Rebuy – No

Just a few places from last week:

an update from the côtes…

By billn on June 28, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021#vintage 2021

It’s now the mid-point of the summer and to all intents and purposes, the flowering of the vines in Burgundy is now over.

The recent combination of plenty of rain and temperatures of around 30° means that the vines have exploded into life – the flowering this year – what flowers remained – was relatively fast. Whilst the flowering was quite quick despite the frost of April, it seems that the grapes are far from homogenous – small grapes, larger grapes and a mixture of sizes await in the same parcel.

The overall effect of the warmth and plenty of rain has been to push the growth cycle of the vines significantly forward such that comparing the same stage at the end of June in other vintages, 2021 is now roughly in line with 2012 and 2019.

End june 2021 - vintage comparisons
Vintage comparisons/estimations, above, from the Chambre d’Agriculture.

We can assume that if all other things remain equal, then 2021 will actually be an earlier vintage than either of 2012 or 2019 – that will be due to the much smaller crop, due to frost, which will ripen faster than if there were more grapes were on the vine. Domaines are currently pencilling in harvest from mid-September but we can keep an open mind for now.

Not unsurprisingly, given so much rain and warm weather together, there is currently a heightened risk of mildew in the vines. Normally, the weather conditions that are required for oïdium are quite different – but also the risk is relatively high for oïdium too at the moment. Certainly, the forecast for the next week is stormy and cooler – I will keep my fingers crossed that hail such as seen between Gevrey and Brochon plus the storm last week in Pouilly-Fuissé, will not re-occur.

A few mixed images from last week:

yesterday in the côtes…

By billn on June 10, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021#vintage 2021

Beaune Gréves - mainly
Yesterday afternoon. Mainly Beaune Gréves but a little Toussaints and Bressandes to the right…

Obviously, some damage in Gevrey-Chambertin yesterday but the storms were extremely localised. The rest of the Côte d’Or was threatened – like Beaune above – but there was rarely more than occasional rumbles of thunder and a few spots of rain – unlike the 40mm of rain in just a few minutes that fell on the vines of Gevrey! Of course, there is damage here, which will compound the frost from April…

For me a trip to see the work (and what work!) that is underway at the Château de Pommard and then in the afternoon a chance to see the rare vine varieties that are being conserved in Beaune; Tressot Noir, Côt, Troyen, Gamay Castille or Oberlin Noir anyone? That latter variety the only one that was starting to flower – it was also the first (of these) in 2020 too.

As for flowering, in general; there are some early outliners in the vines – usually those in sunny spots, protected by walls – but it will be another week before the Côte d’Or really gets into the swing of flowering. Almost a week ago there were some flowerings in the ‘Americans’ as the locals describe the suckers that sprout from the American rootstocks – normally the proper flowering of the chardonnays and then pinots begins 10-14 days later…

For me, today will be a little typing, coffee drinking (terraces!), jogging and a visit to taste some Meursault…

friday’s pics…

By billn on June 05, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

Just to show that I was still alive after my Zoom Tasting yesterday – a 10km walk:

some côte d’or images from this week & the 2021 vintage state of play

By billn on May 26, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

Subtitled; A little Savigny and a lot of Beaune:

I’ve got to say, it’s still cold. There’s a little wind, occasional showers too. Despite the occasional sun(!), it’s rarely been more than 14-17°C this week, and the mornings are hardly into double figures.

There are still plenty of brave souls sitting in the terraces of restaurants café/bars too though – me included – if not always for long.

Remember when it was about 23°C in February? Well, luckily we don’t have such temperatures right now or mildew would be developing – as it is, in these cool, windy conditions there are very few worries right now. Treatments? Well, that’s a bit more tricky! Plenty would like to be treating – but then they expect rain, or the wind is a little too strong – nobody said it would be easy! It is reported that next week could see a return to temperatures in the mid-20s°C – tricky in the vines but the restaurant and café owners will be starting to smile…

I introduced you to my ‘Iris Gauge’ last week and finally, my first Iris of 2021 has flowered – 18 days later than in 2021. It seems that my Swiss garden is underestimating the relative delay versus last year – at least as far as the vines of the Côte d’Or are concerned – the Chambre d’Agriculture are currently estimating a little over 4 weeks delay vs last year, placing the harvest currently in line with the timing of 2013 – who remembers how cold and wet that harvest was? – in October!!!

The one positive in the weather, so far, is that the rain of this month has come some of the way towards bringing the year’s rainfall closer to the average…

I think that’s enough weather for today!

not just rain…

By billn on May 11, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021#vintage 2021

Yesterday, Beaune was a bit of a wash-out. They need rain – the vines – so no complaining!

Today I was in Chablis and St.Bris – a short week as Thursday is the Ascension holiday and they typically roll that into Friday too, hence, the short week.

Drier today – except when the thunderstorms hit! There was (I was told) a little hail in Beines. The forecast is not great for the next 10 days, which has the growers anxiously looking at the indicators for mildew – that was the big problem after the 2016 hail – and, well, the indicators are not that good.

Of course, I’ll keep you updated.

A few pics:

Oh, and a reader-contributor – Marko de Morey – alerted me to this headline – so beware if you plan to visit Beaujolais!!!

Wolf spotted outside Lyon for the first time in ‘more than a century’

this week’s views…

By billn on April 29, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

All you need to know in the images 😉

this week’s early spring views in Burgundy…

By billn on March 31, 2021 #travels in burgundy 2021

The forecast is cooler next week – indeed with overnight minus temperatures – but today it was 26°C in the afternoon – my lunchtime run being a bit of a sweaty affair – but who’s complaining. Obviously, it’s still sandwiches for lunch!

Here are a few views from this week (so far) in Burgundy:

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