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harvest – 24th September

friday-vendangesSo the night before and I open a bottle of Blair Pethel’s Domaine Dublère 2007 Beaune 1er Blanche Fleurs and watched James Bond on TV! The wine is really on-song, even the domestic management is appreciative – though I think a lot of the depth of flavour seems barrel-related (creamy vanilla dimensions), it has great texture, is slightly plush and generally shows lovely balance.

Okay, that was yesterday – now I’m in Beaune, and just in time.

Typically it started raining at home 3 minutes before I wanted to pack things into the car (…) most of the trip to Burgundy was dry though. Arriving to the car-park at the hotel it started with a little light rain. Five minutes after I got to the domaine, the heavens opened – big rain, glad I’m not picking!

Fortunately today’s grapes had been picked before the wet. We started triage of Volnay 1er Lurets, and really good these grapes were; full speed on the triage table and virtually zero rot – they tasted good too. The Lurets is part of a new contract together with Volnay Caillerets, but the usual give and take means that to take these 1ers, there’s also some villages Volnay to be taken too. We had been prepared for bad grapes but apart from a little rot and some underipe bunches to be triaged – I saw much worse grapes in 2006 – we still had the table running at about 90% of maximum speed !

This afternoon it was only be a delivery of Bourgogne Blanc must so no triage. If the rain abates, tomorrow will be busy though.

Info on whites seems to be all related to the storm on the Sunday 12th September. Two days before the storm the home team’s Meursault looked fantastic – the vigneron had done a great job, leaving neatly spaced bunches – everything was set. Whether they were hit by hail or not (hail was restricted to the Santenay/Chassagne border), many vines seemed to react to that weather; Those plots with the most advanced maturity were suddenly beset by botrytis – 20% of the previously beautiful Meursault was affected 1 week later. There were many stories in the last days of winemakers harvesting because their grapes were ‘turning brown’ or ‘turning to chocolate’ – that was the botrytis. Those plots with a lower level of ripeness (at the storm) seem to have followed a normal maturity path and largely failed to develop botrytis! Apparently everyone was harvesting Montrachet yesterday – the last minute before today’s rain.

Having done a good job of triage the home team were rewarded with cheese and tomato tart, duck a l’orange, cheese and finally apple tart tartin. A 2007 Montagny 1er blanc from Christophe Denizot and a 99 Fourrier Gevrey VV helped to wash it down. So effective was this lunch that there were parts of blue sky to be seen by 1:30, in fact the sun shone on-and-off all afternoon, more importantly it stayed dry. Parts of the Côtes had as much as 30mm in the morning!

Tomorrow more on the Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits divide…

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