Why Big Red Diary?

ramonet’s bourgogne pinot – 2009+2010


These two wines have really changed their drinking positions in the time since their respective releases.

At the start, the 2009 was simply delicious; open, caressing and tasty as any Bourgogne has the right to be. To amplify that point, this may already be the last bottle of my case. By comparison, the 2010 was far from friendly as a youngster, having acidity in the ascendency and a seemingly sharp personality to match.

Today the 2009 is ripe and round, but the nose is less attractive with an impression of alcohol – still a gulpable wine, but lacking a certain class. The 2010 has transformed; it is still fresh, but balanced, interesting, and above all begs you to take the next sip – I honestly regret that I only bought 6 of these – which wasn’t my opinion 4+ years ago…

a little matterhorn…

 The one and only Matterhorn (Swiss side!)

You know, of-course, that I like my mountains, and today I took a chance for a quick visit to Zermatt – a surprisingly mere 2h10 on the train from Bern! The forecast is for snow tomorrow, so we took a chance on today – and what a result – beautiful weather. The Matterhorn is often partly obscured by cloud, but not today.

A nice break. Tomorrow, it’s back to Beaune…

give a dog a vosne…

 Or rather, some malcontent vosnes, already gone to the dogs…

My last night in Beaune after our harvest was a meet-up with Marko de Morey, who had also finished his harvest.

A simple night with a trio of Vosnes, a big baguette, and a fresh Brillat-Savarin – what could go wrong?

Well, wine #1 was the 1998 Thomas-Moillard, Vosne 1er Malconsorts, and it stunk of brett – the nose said to both of us – DNPIM (do not put in mouth) – so having two more bottles, we didn’t!

Wine #2 is a favourite of mine, the 1999 Gilles Remoriquet, Vosne 1er Au Dessu des Malconsorts – pff! Totally corked!

Wine #3, could we make it 3 disasters in a row? or would, Nicolas come to the rescue? The 2002 Nicolas Potel, Vosne 1er Malconsorts had a rather understated but clean nose, and a welcoming and complex palate, a palate that seemed to slowly, slowly, get better and better – not full-power, but very tasty indeed – so we didn’t need cry into our last glasses!

a synthesis of le montrachet 2016

 Montrachet – 28-Aug-2016.

A really interesting story from Bourgogne Aujourd’hui, yesterday: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Leflaive, Guy Amiot, Lamy-Pillot and Domaine Fleurot have blended together all of their grapes harvested in Montrachet – or maybe I should say Le Montrachet, as their parcels are all on the Chassagne side.

Normally these domaines would produce 20-30 barrels of wine from their combined 1.25 hectares, but this year, the sum of all their efforts will be 2 barrels worth of wine – all because of the frost at the end of April this year. It was clear that nobody really wanted to do a micro-vinification as it would have been more like a lab-exercise! Note, so exceptional was this frost, that there is no-one alive that can remember a similar event in the vines of Montrachet.

With their négociant licence, it is Domaine Leflaive that will actually make the wine, which will (presumably) be shared between the proprietors when it comes to bottling. These cuvées, in theory, will not be commercialised, as there will be no more than a few cases per producer – I can’t wait to see the label (design) – assuming they use just one label…

la maison – vougeot

dsc01250Last Saturday we paid a visit to a new ‘thing’ in Vougeot.

The Boissets have chosen to open a new retail opportunity in Vougeot – here you can buy the wines of Domaine de la Vougeraie, JCB (from Jean-Charles Boisset) and the Jean-Claude Boisset range overseen by Grégory Patriat. These were previously available in the ‘Imaginarium’ outside Nuits, but the Boissets plan that Vougeot will be the only address where they sell the Vougeraie wines, locally.

The official opening will be the end of this week – maybe – it seems that strategy, timing and purpose remain somewhat fluid.

Both Nathalie and Jean-Charles Boisset were on hand to describe certain aspects of this ‘maison’ fully supported by Gina Gallo. La Maison – Vougeot is purposefully unbranded, but ‘a place where people can come and sit and relax, taste wine and also buy wine if they wish – even special dinners or tastings will be possible here.‘ You buy a card with a certain credit level which you use to feed the wine-dispenser machines – delivering measured pours from bottles under an inert atmosphere. There are multiple rooms too – each very different, yet with some unifying style accents, whether by Murano or Lalique(!) The people who designed and delivered this rather special thing were also present, including the architect currently responsible for both here and the new Boisset cuverie, plus Jacques Garcia, interior designer of, among other things, boutique Paris hotels. Note that you can also buy examples of Jean-Charles’ range of brooches and cuff-links…

I can honestly say that there’s nothing else like it in Burgundy – and I think you might get a real kick out of visiting – even if you only do it once. Part old-gentleman’s club, part swinger-club, style, and it is certainly more Los Angeles than Les Arvelets. I’ll be really interested to see how this will work in ultra-quiet Vougeot – come to think of it, I’ll be interested to see how it works at all – it seems the Boisset family are also not yet fully sure. Actually I find their ‘let’s see’ attitude refreshing.

I didn’t take any pictures outside because it was raining so hard!

harvest day 13 – 4-oct-2016

 Our 7am accompaniment – some days they can be very loud!

Our last day of grapes began with a trip to Gevrey-Chambertin – on our collection list today was Lavaux St.Jacques and Chambertin.

The morning sky was as clear as can be, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better early morning view of Mont Blanc – a shame that my camera wasn’t to hand in our truck. The clear night had sent the temperatures tumbling – some higher spots in the Hautes Côtes were even touched with a little frost…

The light from the early morning sun on the Côte St.Jacques was really super – the team of our grower was already well underway at 8am, picking in Lavaux. And what grapes – see the images below – this was the best fruit of our 2016 campaign, marginally besting those Charmes-Chambertin grapes towards the end of last week. These grapes from Lavaux provided only one disappointment – we got the equivalent of only 1.5 barrels worth – normally we have two…

Next we drove to Chambertin, and the grower here bussed in a complete team – it seemed from the continent of Africa – most of the women with mud-painted (style) faces – yet in the vines they were as fast and efficient as any team I’ve ever seen picking. 40 cases for us, 40 cases for another producer and just under forty for the final producer. The first booked producer (who is new to this contract) was on site at 9h00, but his cases hadn’t arrived – much to annoyance of his courtier – and to the amusement of everybody-else. I’m sure the courtier would be able to console himself afterwards in his Range-Rover 🙂

Back to our base in Beaune, and Maranges 1er Cru was on the triage table. These were just fabulous grapes – the first pallet with virtually nil to triage – but subsequent pallets had quite a bit of unripe fruit – such a shame to throw it all away – and despite this being the very last day of our harvest, (at least some of) these grapes could have benefited from at least another 3-4 days on the vine. Like yesterday (Monday) our hands were slowly turning blue triaging this fruit – definitely a day for extra layers of clothing, despite the bright sun.

 Perfect Lavaux – and entirely representative of our 1.5 barrels…

Post-lunch, came the Lavaux. Simply fabulous fruit – see above – and like the Charmes, at least visually, close to perfection – a great vintage beckons for certain wines. Part of this went into the tank as perfect whole-clusters. Lastly came the Chambertin; not the absolute optical class of either the Lavaux or the Charmes, but really as good as I’ve seen from this producer/vineyard – and I’ve seen it every year since 2004! Interestingly today, our three parcels of fruit showed zero raisined/mildewed fruit – such a pleasure.

Okay, now it is just pigeage and pumping over for the next days – a number of our tanks are slowly fermenting with temperatures in the mid-20°s – more on those when I return to Beaune next week. Now it’s the final whistle for our 2016 harvest and time for a few days back home…

harvest day 12 – 3-oct-2016

 The aftermath of lots of Santenay…

That was a day!

And a Santenay day, at that. Our triage table started rolling at 08h30, it stopped at 19h00 – the cleaning wasn’t finished until 21h00…

To be honest, it was a hard day’s work, because (at least) our parcels of Santenay had quite a bit of rot (porriture/botrytis) to remove – to a lesser extent some under-ripe fruit too, amd that was despite most of the Côte de Beaune already having finished their harvest. I also noted that some of the fruit seemed a little less robust than what I’d experienced to-date. To be honest I needed 30 minutes to warm-up over lunch – it was only 5 or 6°C this morning, and 4 hours of standing on one spot takes its toll! Every pause was spent in the sunshine, rather than the shade of the triage table 🙂

We did about 80% Santenay villages, the rest being premier cru Santenay Clos Rousseau. The 1er cru was a little cleaner so easier to deal with.

That leaves us with a nice trio for tomorrow – and the last grapes of our harvest – Maranges 1er Croix Aux Moines, Gevrey 1er Lavaux St.Jacques and finally, Chambertin.

arlaud vendange diary – day 5

Arlaud Vendange Day 5, Wednesday 28th Sept 2016

2016_0928lescargot-in-chambolle-bussieres-800x600Day started early with my taking my car down to VW Ladoix to leave with them to fit a new left side rear window to replace the temporary and not very fetching cardboard and tape. Daniel (Le Carp) followed me down there in Serge’s Touran to fetch me back. I was of course too late back to get out start wise to the vines with the rest of the gang so we went to the cuverie as Daniel’s place of work & for me to await the arrival of one of the camions with first cut fruit to hitch a ride back to wherever the action was. Sure enough Rene rocked up and once he’d unloaded we got back to Chambolle Village terroir, if nearer Morey than C-M. Another stunning, sunny, clear blue sky, day weather wise in prospect. We moved around 4 or 5 plots of C-M Village through the morning. Mix of fruit dependant on which plot, or even which vine, but the good was looking very good, akin to Morey Clos Solon from the day before. Saw my first of many large snails attached to a vine who’s fruit I was dealing with – they all turned out to be same shades of dark brown with cream stripe. Serge later told me they are highly prized in Poland – well, the Poles are welcome to them. My one and only escargot (cooked) experience is not one I’d rush to repeat. We finished the morning close to the nearest to Chambolle back corner of Roumier’s Clos de la Bussiere. Another domaine were embarking on their transport close by – Herve told me it was the H Lignier team.

After lunch came a bit of a shock – back to Roncevie yet AGAIN ! Well, I suppose this is a fact of life when the domaine has circa 5 ha. I did finally believe after this latest effort, which lasted longer than Tuesday’s post lunch Roncevie session, that we’ve finally now ‘done’ with Roncevie but can I say that with confidence ? Errr, no, we’ll see.

What came next though, if not for the rest of the afternoon, was just the real deal tremendous. Our post Roncevie destination was Gevrey 1er ‘Combottes’ and its aged vines chez Arlaud. Wow, wow, wow ! This was just seriously impressive in every way. Maybe not the ultimate max volume but appeared very useful and, as usual, with this Combottes a real mix of type of grapes from millerandage variety (always a feature here) to the full & voluptuous. Just a joy to pick here, any fatigue thoughts banished. We were doubled up two folk to a row, one at the bottom, one starting half way up. I managed to wangle a mid row start to ensure I ended up at the patch of grass ‘summit’ at the top of the parcel. We must have collectively kept the porteurs pretty busy in volume terms as there were a couple of fullish crates at the top and I stumbled out of my row with a full bucket looking for a home. Short break only for a drink (water !) and Herve moved us along a ways towards Clos de la Roche to work our way down some separate Combottes rows back to the road & our vehicles. Again little or no other domaine activity round and about – very odd but for my part I’m very comfortable Cyprien has got his timing right. Some of the smaller bunches detached with ease and the larger bunches looked pretty ripe to me.

I can’t really get my head around what’s been happening to date but am quickly getting there ! What I mean here is that, prior to coming out, pretty much most things I’d read or heard were what a disastrous year this is/would be. I get that for parts of the Cote de Beaune no problem, as Christine Dubreuil had outlined, and then had ‘evidence’ for my own eyes of the frost damaged parts of Roncevie (not all though), other plots of Bourgogne Rouge, and the Aligote – the latter not producing anything like I’ve seen in other good or not so good years. However, the fruit of Echezeaux was a first sighter of what has since emerged / continues to emerge, even though volume there was markedly down (I’ll get a figure from Cyprien if I think on). Once we moved away from the ‘base’ appellation stuff and flat lands though things (on the slopes) have improved immeasurably e.g Clos Solon yesterday, Chambolle Village this morning, and now jaw droppingly Combottes. My experience of so called lesser vintages is that Combottes, or the bottom part particularly, is always prone to some rot or mildew etc but all looked encouragingly good now.

If Combottes was not enough our ‘cup then overfloweth’ as Herve led us, en pied, almost like a school children’s outing, along the roadside grass verge from Combottes to one of ‘the Daddies’ – Clos de la Roche (further than it looks !). Before I forget, here I’d better mention the pics I’ll be sending to Bill taken from around midday onwards have come out rather ‘dark’. As always will be up Bill what he prefers to ‘publish’ & maybe he considers they will be too ‘dark’ but it was only when I came to download them did I realise something was amiss. It turned out both the settings ‘wheels’ on top of my Canon G16 had inadvertently been moved from the default auto settings hence the ‘dark’ shots – a crying shame & frustrating. I was ‘brushed’ by a porteur with case on his back just before lunch and my uncovered camera (looped around my neck/shoulder so that I can keep it on my back out of usual harm’s way whilst cutting) I can only think might have taken a brush also – on which basis maybe I was lucky there was nothing more serious.

Clos de la Roche (‘CdlR’) well, cor blimey guv, from this proud Lancastrian was just the male pooch nether regions. Gobsmackingly beautiful looking ripe fruit and lots of it. The best yet ? Who knows, bit different from Combottes which maybe had more ‘finesse’ from millerandage etc but for me the CdlR grapes, in my row anyway (always that caveat), were breathtakingly, jaw droppingly fantastic. Note to self think about CdlR as a 2016 must have – acknowledging the wine has to be ‘made’ yet. This just lifted the end of the day spirits for me to a very special place despite my inevitable fatigue. Trudging back to the Jumpy, stripping off knee pads and single left hand glove, looking up CdlR slope to in the sunshine all of a sudden the world, or my world, was a very special, ‘lifted’, place. I’m a lucky (59 yr old) boy to be doing this and with great people. Be anywhere else ? No thanks, this is the best.

Subsequently I quizzed cuverie located Basile on how our afternoon efforts went down. To no great surprise he confirmed, grinning that Basile behind the specs grin, that Cyprien was very happy (he should be) but to my alternative surprise advised Cyp preferred the Combottes grapes.

What a just cracking day though, superb. Onto day 6, could D5 be surpassed, yes, actually/amazingly it could – stay tuned pop burg pickers!

arlaud vendange diary – day 4

Arlaud Vendange Day 4, Tuesday 27th Sept 2016

Am starting to type this at 6.24 a.m Saturday morning, grabbing some rare free time, having managed to get Day 3 stuff to Bill last night. Its raining outside and has been heavily overnight I think so today (Saturday) could be ‘hilarious’ but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Back to Tuesday which essentially almost divides neatly into Bourgogne Roncevie and Morey Village.

All morning we dealt with various parcels of Roncevie, mostly nearer the road, the top section as it were in my parlance. The grapes here were mostly ok if not in the volume of past years but one could come to a particularly laden vine which would challenge your bucket. Weather was once again blue sky, bright sunshine glorious once past early morning. Seems we are truly blessed with this first week’s weather, really too hot in the afternoons. The Morey centre car park was still relatively lightly populated and neither was there ‘great’ activity in the vines – seems a little odd this year in timings etc. Neither Perrot-Minot nor Taupenot-Merme seem to have got going yet, nor have I noticed Clos des Lambrays activity but could be mistaken re the latter. Anyway, an otherwise unremarkable morning of graft saw us to lunch – once some of us had cleaned buckets and secateurs.

Post lunch saw just a brief return to Roncevie, but not for long, then en vehicule not so far to Morey Clos Solon. Here we pitched up next to the team from Domaine Regis Forey. Nothing had quite prepared me for what happened next though which was just an incredible quantity and apparent quality from Clos Solon the likes of which I’d never seen here before. Quite breathtaking and all the more surprising given what we’d been seeing/dealing with previously. It was as if the grapes had taken a large hierarchical leap with higher plot classification.

Once we’d seen off Clos Solon we moved just yards away, and cutting, towards the road in Morey Seuvrees. The rows here were long, great weight of fruit again so this was a bit of a slog for this old man such that I was glad when time was called on our day. Evening meal saw Le Carp arrive on our plates. Daniel, of the Chasseurs vendange longstanding ‘gang of four’, normal day location at the head of the triage conveyor feeding it with cases, role including loading, unloading, and case washing (via machine), had been in self appointed ‘charge’ of the fish which he’d previously dismembered to remove head, fins, tail, innards etc and by the time the casseroled end result appeared on our plates it was as various sized pieces of fish. I can’t now recall what it was served with, may have been some yellow rice, but whilst I was expecting something muddy and unexciting tasting, the actual reverse was true, it really was quite delicious – very tasty indeed & a first time real treat. Those monks of the middle ages sure knew a thing or to with their wine, fish breeding, agriculture etc !

Unfortunately my evening closed with traveller hippy type Sebastian wanting to unburden himself and his life on me, seemingly wanting some sort of 3rd party (i.e me) psycho analysis of himself. I didn’t really need this nor want to get involved, all the more so when I realised besides his rolled cigarettes he had a small packet of something else which I’d better not go into. The issue of his night time loud music was ‘aired’ such that I was confident that would not re-occur.

And so to bed. Day 5 to come saw car frustrations but finished on very high, including domaine grand cru note.

some sunday pics – puligny & gevrey…


A morning wander around Puligny was followed by a late afternoon walk around Gevrey. Very few people were harvesting today, despite really beautiful – if much cooler – weather, at least there is some wind, so probably not much problem with rot after the rain of Saturday. I saw Florent Garaudet harvesting some Puligny villages in the morning, and just popped into Domaine Pierre Damoy to say ‘hi’ as I saw them triaging. They are far from finished (they are late pickers) but had some beautiful Bourgogne rouge fruit that came from the commune of Fixin.

arlaud vendange diary – day 3


Arlaud Vendange Day 3, Monday 26th Sept 2016

The aforementioned rest day arrives. ‘Overslept’ until 7.30, extremely fatigued by the previous two days exertions, but was still first into the refectoire. Boy though, was I stiff in the legs and hips areas. Initially, I concentrated on computing, writing, camera downloads & photo editing – all very time consuming.

Main event/focus of the morning from this unexpected free time was to get myself and the car down to the VW Dealership in Ladoix, somewhere I’d passed many times but never for a second thought I’d venture through the gates, let alone the showroom door. Quite entertaining experiencing a French dealership – seemed just the same, barring the language as the English ones. Eventually, in my limited French, having sought to explain my predicament and car repair required, I ended up sat with smiley, cheery, Fred, who seemed to be some sort of chief mechanic, if a youngish guy, and in (clean) overalls (other than the ‘regulation’ whites shirts and seeming de rigeur tight, narrow pants of the salesroom guys). Fred came out to my poor damaged Bora with me, inspected it briefly, taking a photo of the window with his phone and noting its VW details. We then returned to the showroom and his computer where he proceeded to take all my details bar my inside leg measurement ! My UK Post Code seemed to cause notable consternation in terms of entering but eventually, surmounting the language barrier between us, he seemed confident the repair would be straightforward but, as I’d fully expected, they’d need to get the part in (the window glass). He suggested that would be the next day so I promised to return with the car and leave it, Fred for his part suggesting only Tuesday morning would be needed and I could call back for it Tues lunch or evening. Hum !!!! The best laid plans……………see later.

I’d used my run down to Ladoix & back to Morey to spot the small roadside arrow signs pointing to domaine locations, mentally filing these away, for possible future visits e.g. D…… & Ravaut. On the way back rambled my way through sleepy Chambolle, not much happening at all (in fact nothing !). I’d seen very little signs of vendanging life during my there & back to Ladoix – just the very odd (as in rare) team alone in a vast sea of vines. From Chambolle taking the ‘high road’ to Morey I spied a team at work in Bonnes-Mares and stopped for a look/chat. They greeted me cheerfully as Domaine Bruno Clair, one of the guys pointing to an older, greying, guy sat on tractor & attached trailer with grape cases as the man himself. If this was BC he greeted me pleasantly, professing himself happy with the cut grape quality – certainly looked ok to me. There didn’t seem to be ‘that’ many cutters and, if I hadn’t been in smart attire, I’d have happily offered to help.

And so back to the village domaine buildings for lunch where the rest of the resident guys and Herve were already tucking in. An interesting event occurred as we finished lunch, and can’t remember now who came in with it (might have been local vendangeur Daniel), but someone arrived with a ‘parcel’ which happened to be a large, if not huge, Common Carp, frozen stiff, wrapped in cling film. I’ve never been fortunate to have caught such a fish in my freshwater fishing days (mainly my youth) but I’d estimate its weight at between 10-15 lbs. This prompted much appreciative conversation, and many references to Le Carp (if there was any doubt what the poisson was), with debate on how to best prepare and cook it. This would be a new first for me but more of that for Day 4 evening.

Early afternoon I returned to, & concentrated, on my computing for Bill. Cyprien had told me there was now (shock horreur, wonders will never cease !) l’internet at our residency but I should see Basile for more detail.

However, I had more in mind for maximising the rest of the day than being chained to my laptop so mid afternoon set off for Beaune with a view to picking up my 2013’s Le Grappin order having been ever so politely approached by Emma pre vendange if I could collect given Le G’s limited space. Managed to go straight to the Le G premises which chuffed me. Found them all hard at work bar Andrew who’d ‘nipped out’. My mission ended as something of a fool’s errand though as Emma explained the storage bottles were off site and needed notice to arrange collection and, if I understood correctly, needed labelling. Guess I should have anticipated but I hadn’t so agreed to come back post vendange.

Quick thought process with time on my hands pre needing to be back en Morey for evening meal had me head to beloved Pernand-Vergelesses and a call in to my still fondly remembered Dubreuil-Fontaine (‘D-F’). Initially met cuddly office lady, Bernadette, who told me she would be retiring April 2017 – what a shame as she’s been lovely with me. Before heading uphill to the cuverie I commiserated with Bernadette on the sad death previously of Bernard Dubreuil. To add to this Bernadette told me that as we spoke Christine’s husband, Nicolas, was in hospital having a back operation that day hence, as Bernadette put it with some drama, Christine would be ‘alone’ for the vendange. I asked about buying some wine and was handed the price list (carte) but with Bernadette pointing out a number of unavailable, sold out, wines which amazed me as until now one could count on D-F to have a v good selection. No blanc premier crus made for an easy decision there so settled on 6 packs of each of the P-V Village 2014 blanc and Beaune 2013 1er cru ‘Montrevenots’. Concluding the purchases and with a fond good by to Bernadette I headed uphill to the cuverie. Here came across Christine in conversation with two very nice older local couples notwithstanding which she greeted me in the most delightfully warmest fashion. Leaving her to conclude her conversation I said ‘hello’ to 3 or 4 of the same cuverie staff there in my ‘day’ and helped them with their final washing/brushing up. Christine came to join us & asked if I’d stay for a degustation – ‘yes please’! Over a very pleasant Aligote I heard how their vendange was going well other than decimation of certain terroirs/parcelles. Christine quoted me some figures which I should have written down, but suffice to say they were Cotes de Beaune horrific. She told me the Cortons were actually ok & largely unaffected – good, but only I suppose if one has the funds to buy them idc. Said my regretful good bye’s as they are all lovely people – if I wasn’t now so ‘embedded’ at Arlaud I’d return to D-F in a heartbeat, and may yet do so one day as I feel I owe it to them.
Treated my fellow evening diners to a bottle of each of my purchases. I normally bring some wines with me but didn’t have time on this occasion to get a few together so manic rushed was the run up to my departure from the UK. The Pernand ’14 Village blanc was steely, mineral, just a touch of miele delicious. The Beaune Montrevenots ’13 went down well but personally surprised me at its softness and (low) level of acidity. My previous experience of this wine (deliciously) all relates to the 2008 but this one was nothing like how I recalled the earlier vintage bottles. Very strawberry & raspberry fruited though, easy to drink.

And so to bed but with an unfortunate, if annoying (very!), twist in that Sebastian the traveller hippy type (and suspect he’d fallen asleep) was playing loud, dull thudding, repetitive music from his room, and there’s a stairway to a loft space in between our rooms (not to heaven) which woke me at around 2.30 a.m – 3.00 a.m. and destroyed the rest of my night’s sleep, although the noise did eventually stop. This was something to be tackled later and was (to be continued !).

Day 4 details to follow when we eventually move away from the Bourgognes (and how), have Le Carp served up for our evening meal and things continue to escalate re Sebastian. Meantime I’m sending some pics of today, including our evening fare but as ever its up to Bill how many he ‘publishes’.

harvest day 9 – 30-sept-2016

Friday 30 Sept.

Despite the poor weather forecast that tells us that there will be plenty of rain later today (Friday) and rain for most of the daytime on Saturday, it seems we are still left wanting for a volume of grapes today. Still, we actually do have grapes and from very different ends of the spectrum.

First up, we have some (Bourgogne) Hautes Côtes de Beaune, these are actually domaine vines, but ravaged by frost – there wasn’t much. And from the other end of the hierarchy we had Charmes-Chambertin, and they were very-much grand cru grapes…

The home ‘domaine’ actually is a négociant, but with a little over 1 hectare of domaine vines, and today’s parcel from the Hautes Côtes de Beaune laid bare what the frost has done to so many vines in this growing season; normally more than 80 cases of fruit are yielded here, today 18. Last year there was more than 7 barrels worth, this year, maybe, one and a half. There was some botrytis to remove from these grapes, but in this case very little of the raisined, dried mildewed fruit. The tiny quantity prompted a rarely seen sight, people triaging what came out of the destemmer – we recovered nearly half a case of grapes!

The Charmes-Chambertin was really a sight for sore eyes – just beautiful fruit that needed very little in the way of triage – at least optically, better than the Corton Clos de Roi due to the smaller more classic grape size. Gorgeous stuff! The grapes here were not better in any of the 05/09/10/15 vintages…

And that was it! Given the forecast, no grapes are in the planning for tomorrow (Saturday) and possibly not Sunday either. Eventually we will get our ‘big day’ but maybe it will be Monday…

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