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29th august – wet côtes

la tache harvest
Harvesting in La Tâche

I left Switzerland at 7:00am – accompanied by thunder and lightening.

It’s 240km to Dijon where the BBC assured me I would find unbroken sunshine, but for the first 200 of those kilometres it rained – sometimes biblically. 40km to go and the rain stopped, 25km to go and we even have traces of blue sky and flashes of sun – amazing! It’s obviously rained overnight in the Côte d’Or and it’s hardly unbroken sunshine either but I’m not complaining.

grapesI started my tour of ‘vine inspection’ in Marsannay, slowly working my way south. Lunch at La Maison Vigneron (Chambolle), after lunch an appointment with a producer before continuing south to my harvest ‘home’ in Beaune.

The grapes in the Côte de Nuits look rather good, there are some shrivelled ones and an occasional bunch with rot, but this cursury inspection implied grapes way better than 2004 and possibly also 2006 – but inspection at the ‘table de trie’ will be the real judge as these are the grapes round the edges of the vineyards – I didn’t go deeper for fear of sinking in the wet red clay!
Eye-witnesses tell me the Côte de Beaune pinot noir is less well blessed – I decided not to check in the rain – Beaune and Savigny will apparently be ‘challenging’.

There is some small evidence of harvesting already done – piles of stems discarded outside cuveries and at the side of vineyards, but it’s clearly the exception so far. This morning I found only three groups of harvesters, the first surprisingly were in La Tâche; I thought at first it was La Grande Rue, but the LGR vineyard is only about 50 metres wide and these harvesters confirmed to me that they were working on the other side of the ‘line’ – you can not a slight colour change on the picture above. This central area of La Tâche is planted to a higher density – I assume this accounts for the difference in ripeness. The harvesting of a parcel of Vosne Les Beaux Monts (at least that’s what it looked like from the road) and also part of Les Petits Vougeots were the only others in full swing.

Whilst in the cellar of my afternoon appointment there was was thunder and heavy rain – it’s still raining now (6pm) about 3 hours later. I’m glad we didn’t start harvesting today.

Forecasters seem to agree that we have about 10 days of clear weather starting tomorrow, we will start with some Beaune 1er Cru, – let’s see how bad it can be.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?