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harvest 2009 – tuesday 15th sept

Tuesday – and another glorious blue sky.

Our grapes during the morning are Nuits 1er Les Vaucrains – much anticipated as they are normally super. This year, we have a problem. The first case looks a bit disappointing as there is a mix of both shrivelled and unripe grapes – in the same bunches! – it seems to get worse from there on as oïdium begins to rear its head. The weather mirrors the mood as it becomes windy and cloudy – it’s quite chilly – we expect rain anytime, though it never comes. The triage table is set to the slowest speed, with six people sorting and still we need to periodically stop the table as the throw-away bins fill almost as fast as the the hopper of decent stuff. Big disappointment here – the fruit we retain is ‘okay’, but we really didn’t expect to be throwing away such a significant quantity – some consultation with the broker is called for.

The weather seems to be playing with us because as soon as we finish sorting the Vaucrains and reach for a thicker pullover, the sun returns and the wind slows. Anyway, to lunch and a developing, if unrequited romance; Guy, our chef has delighted everyone to such an extent that one of our number dreams of of their next meetings and begins to wonder how he will survive once they are parted! Should he offer a big, manly, antipodean hug to Guy(?) Let’s see…

Lunch is a nice salad followed by a roast with a super sauce and girolle accompaniment, plus cauliflower cheese! The ubiquitous cheese and bread came next, to be followed by tarte tartin – mmmm once more. Two wines from Rousillon filled our glasses.

So, thicker pullover to the ready and we have Gevrey-Chambertin and Santenay 1er cru les Comme – full-speed table and minimal triage – mainly an occasional under-ripe bunch – good! Actually the Gevrey is excellent, then comes Corton Clos du Roi – good but not great (now it’s starting with light rain) then comes ‘Corton’ – this ‘okay’.

Off to Remoissenet to taste 08’s, this turns out to be a semi-waste as the wines were sulfured just before harvest – maybe another day then – though the Montrachet tasted good, as did the 78 Pommard. Back to the home team and it’s raining a little harder now. More Gevrey to triage – the grapes are getting a little wet now. We finish cleaning-up at 9pm.

Dinner is a mix of melon, leftovers and rabbit that we left in the oven for too long – not burnt but a bit dry – followed by the obligatory cheese and and bread then the ‘piece of resistance’ a lovely looking dish (see pic) of poached pears in a semi-jelly that gave me the impression of being made from pinot noir and sugar (I will have to ask). To accompany was a rather too tight (completely unyielding) 05 Vosne-Romanée, followed by 99 Vosne-Romanée 1er cru (Duvault-Blochet or something – you can see it in the picture below). The latter wine was an aromatic superstar, the colour of a two or three year old, and quite unready on the palate – complex with acidity that still need to ‘mend’ in the finish. Did anyone else notice that our chef decided not to join us for dinner? Maybe there is already a problem in the relationship(!)

The rain that was incessant but not that heavy (since about 3:30) is now fading a little as we head to bed, but it’s clouded whether we will pick the Vosne tomorrow or not…