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Burgundy Harvest 16 September 2014…

Ouf – What a day!

We made up for a lack of grapes on Monday, by triaging from 09h30-20h45. But there was lunch and 2 coffee breaks included! I officially felt the hottest, ever, during triage this afternoon – or certainly since the last time it was hot anyway…

We started the day with villages Volnay, and what a start! Just like the Volnay Lurets (which I missed) on Sunday, the vibrating table shook out the vast majority of shrivelled-up, dry berries, leaving very little to triage – so much so that about 1/3rd of the way through, the cry was heard from winemaker C, “We’re going whole-cluster!” Two minutes of man(only)-handling the destemmer out-of-the-way and our ‘giraffe’ was now dumping the (whole cluster) grapes directly into the hopper from our triage table. You can see an image below of one cluster of Volnay with rot and one perfect ‘Facebook’ bunch – the last, although also a hand-picked facebook bunch, gives a better idea of the real berry size 😉

Actually, from 3 pallets of grapes, I saw only two clusters of rot! And the Facebook bunches? Well, there weren’t many of those either! Hail or no hail, this was quite-good fruit that needed minimal hand-triage – just don’t mention the yields per hectare!

Before lunch we began a big cuvée of villages Gevrey-Chambertin. We started with the young vines, which were beautiful in 2013 – this year, definitely not! Here was rot, but very stinky rot – acetic. Some of the grape clusters could be smelled before they were cut from the vines – surprisingly laid-back, winemaker C quips “Well, no whole clusters here – but plenty of SO2 seems like a good recipe!” Some of our pallets were a little better, but not massively so. After lunch we got the older vine fruit from this same vineyard – almost none of this smelly rot, smaller berries on nicer clusters too. It was only spoiled by some of the later cases of grapes having bunches with oïdium – which (of-course) I weeded-out! So, acetic-smelly rot and oïdium – both I’ve rarely seen before, but this is only my 11th vintage of triage!

Last of the day was Beaune Les Avaux. Also terribly hailed but these bunches had no rot – like the Volnay – except that the dried berries were hardly dislodged by the vibrating table. We had a lot to do, but we went slowly and did a good job I think.

So:

  • Manual triage in some cases as simple as 2005, but clearly the starting materials optically much less brilliant.
  • The triage table was as sticky in the afternoon, also as in 2005 – but that’s my last reference to 2005!
  • I’ve observed some really beautiful grapes, but even in the same vineyard, it’s usually very heterogeneous – which is a bit like 2013 – but maybe Romanée-Conti was better! 😉
  • That’s enough useless generalisations for today!

I have to say that my back was pretty unstable after that triage marathon – maybe I’d better train (somehow) before vintage 2015. I anyway decided not to forego my two jogging laps of Beaune, time will tell if that was a mistake!

One response to “Burgundy Harvest 16 September 2014…”

  1. jhasenpflug

    I had similar experiences yesterday. Beautiful fruit coming in from Marsannay (Couchey) Bretigniere and Marsannay Longeroies which needed almost no triage whatsoever. No rot, no acetic berries or bunches. Destemmed, it looked like confiture in the vat. And with some Charmes Chambertin the hail damage shook out easily and a very careful triage was being executed because of some acetic odors, but not really more than 3% of fruit was affected. Nuits 1er Cru Murgers was simply magnificent bunches of fruit, and Chambolle les Cras showed a small amount of rot before being eliminated on the sorting table and being deposited as whole clusters into the vat!

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