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The burgundy 2009 harvest starts today (Monday 7th)

forecast_monday_7thOkay maybe Champagne and even a little Chablis has already been cut from the vine, but for the Côte d’Or, the 2009 vendanges start here. Mark à Morey, our correspondent during the 2008 vintage is this year ‘en-place’ in Pernand-Vergelesses – he should, once more, come ‘online’ in a day or two – once we’ve thought of a new name for him!

The weather is set for dry and warm after last week’s cool and wet. It really wouldn’t surprise me if the harvest was drawn out over a two to three week period if the weather remains good. I don’t have the millimeters for the three and a bit days of rain of last week, it was not very heavy but at times rather incessant – which can be the worst kind of rain as heavy downpours mainly wash into the drains – but vignerons I’ve spoken to remain cautiously optimistic (actually not that cautious!) given the fine weather that followed and the forecast of fine weather to come. Here are some selected quotes:

It still looks great. Basically no botrytis, and with the weather of the last days, sugar level remained stable, as berry size increased a little. The good thing was that as the rain came, temperatures decreased, so it hasn’t been a problem really. It might have been more of a problem if the weather would have been warmer , but given the excellent shape of the vines, I’m not even sure of that. So I’m still really excited about the vintage to come – it definitely looks like it’s going to be the best since 05, even if it’s always dangerous to be too positive, as long as the grapes are still hanging out there!
Carel Voorhuis, Domaine d’Ardhuy

I’ll be starting tomorrow (Tuesday) with my two parcels of Volnay 1er Cru (Pitures and Taillepieds), which are already above 13%. The grapes are in wonderful shape, as the soil here was dry enough to absorb most of the water without it getting into the grapes. In fact, I did maturity sampling on 1 September (before the rain) and again yesterday, the 6th (after the rain). There was very little change in the weight of 100 grapes, and some parcels even showed a concentration, with the weight falling. That says most of the water was absorbed by the soil. My sugars yesterday ranged from just under 12% to 13.3% potential alcohol, with no pH above 3.3, and most below. As the weather is forecast to be good over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to harvest over a more extended period of time, with some days off between pickings and processings. That will allow the grapes, which are all in rude health, to complete their phenological maturation, and as a result allow me to do my first whole-bunch red vinifications this year (only a percentage, not 100%). The sugars are rising, the acids are holding fairly steady, and the pHs remain low, so everything is in balance for a spectacular vintage. No rot anywhere in my parcels.
Blair Pethel, Domaine Dublère

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