hail nets are finally allowed – almost…

By billn on July 24, 2018 #in case you missed it

David Rossignol of Rossignol-Trapet, in his Gevrey 1er Combottes vines in May this year…

In case you missed it – because I did!

On June 20, 2018 the use of anti-hail nets was allowed by the INAO for vines producing AOC / AOP wines – but the word only started to drip out into the press this week.

The decision concerns “vertical single-row” nets that are placed on both sides of the vines. Such an approach was not just (previously) prohibited for wines of appellation, it was also criticized for its visual aspect or ‘lack of authenticity’ – there’s no denying the latter – but to have some grapes is better than to have none!

Following multiple vintages of heavy hail, the Confederation of Appellations and Winemakers of Burgundy (CAVB) obtained authorization in 2015 from the INAO to make a three-year study of anti-hail nets on thirty hectares of vines, dotted around Burgundy. The study of the INAO concluded that a net has “only a very limited influence on the mesoclimate of the vine and does not artificially or substantially modify the fundamental characteristics of the natural environment concerned – this type of equipment is therefore compatible with production in AOC.” There is one caveat; “the presence of the nets must be limited in time, so as to limit the effect of shading.

The results of this study showed that such nets did not affect the maturity of the grapes, the stages of development of the vine or the quality of the wines“, said Christine Monamy, of the Technical Bureau of the BIVB, which has participated in the experiment with the chambers of agriculture of the region.

The study done in Burgundy is valid for all appellations in France – so whilst each appellation can now use nets, each of the appellations must first apply to use nets – very French! Apparently some modifications to the nets have been requested by the INAO so it will take a little more time before you see a wider deployment.

early evening nuits & vosne

By billn on July 23, 2018 #travels in burgundy 2018#vintage 2018

A jog from Nuits to Vosne – and back again.

I saw Guillaume Tardy – he told me that he lost 10-15% of his Nuits Bas du Combe to hail impacts on Friday evening – which is on the northern side of Nuits – but vines he has on either side of these were unaffected – so it was very localised – I have seen some very modest impacts in Vosne though practically nothing. I do note that even some of the smartest of vineyards have a far from elegant caking of almost dry mud at the bottom of the slopes – a lot of rain that was delivered on Friday evening.

There is some green harvesting underway in the grand crus of Vosne, though mainly just leaf-thinning in La Tâche. As for harvesting, Guillaume is thinking 05-08September to start, but he’ll take stock when he comes back from his (imminent) holiday!

today on beaune’s middle hill

By billn on July 23, 2018 #vintage 2018

After a week of pandering to my recurring hamstring injury, I was back out on the jogging trial around Beaune this morning. Above you can see the tractor tilling the soil in Beaune 1er Les Teurons – I asked, and the vines are owned by Remoissenet – so once those of Benoit Germain. Panning to the left (yes I know I should pan slower!) you can see the wall at the bottom of the Hospice de Beaune’s plot of Teurons, and panning to the right, you can see the hill of Corton in the distance.

Around Beaune, just a little more veraison than I saw in Chassagne yesterday – but still only ~10%

weekend wines – week 29 2018

By billn on July 23, 2018 #degustation

A small but perfectly formed selection of whites:

2014 Clotilde Davenne, Chablis Blanchots
Ouch! What a wine! Direct, grapefruit fresh, intense – this wine just begs me to keep taking another sip – what a great wine. I have to scold myself and slow-down – that was 2 glasses in only ten minutes, I’m having to force myself to slow down! – time to chill! Great wine…
Rebuy – Yes

Dinner at Le Soufflot brought out the 2015 Meursault Narvaux from PYCM, followed by the 2015 Meursault Meix sous Château from Jean-Philippe Fichet. Two excellent wines – both showing a little oak, both excellent, but the Fichet had just a little more crisp drive and purity – it was my favourite – though I’m splitting hairs with that verdict as both were top and both easy wines to say Rebuy – Yes. Great value drinking for a restaurant – €60 and €65 respectively – prices that compare very reasonably to retail offers…

a little sunday afternoon chassagne…

By billn on July 22, 2018 #travels in burgundy 2018#vintage 2018

A stroll around the village of Chassagne this afternoon – like most of the Côte d’Or, and despite the nice picture I shared of veraision in Corton on 9 July – veraison is still on a low level in both the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits. In the middle of this week Boris Champy at the Clos de Lambrays told me that they had only 2-3% veraison.

Of note was a big storm on Friday evening – about 11pm with very heavy bursts of rain and enough wind to bring small branches down from trees – but I’ve not encountered reports of any damage.

[EDIT: I spoke to Guillaume Tardy on Monday – he tells me that he lost 10-15% of his Nuits Bas du Combe to hail impacts – which is on the northern side of Nuits – but vines he has on either side of these which were unaffected – so it was very localised – I have seen some very modest impacts in Vosne – practically nothing – take a look at Monday’s images…]

Generally in the vines there is still a small amount of ploughing, vine triming and some last treatments – you are not allowed to harvest within 30 days of your last treatment, so there’s still a few days of potential treatments to go in the chardonnay, if harvesting commences towards the end of August – as seems likely.

sunday’s hail in the côte de nuits – updated

By billn on July 17, 2018 #vintage 2018

The hail was largely a Côte de Nuits event. Northern Nuits, Vosne, Chambolle and Morey had virtually no effect. The flats of Gevrey were affected up to 20%, but not the hillsides. Fixin was more broadly affected – also at around 20% levels. It’s said (by Pierre Damoy) that despite containing hail, the heavy rain of Sunday was quite warm – mitigating the level of damage. The pictures above show the modest shredding of the leaves, which did a good job of protecting the south-facing bunches, but the north-facing bunches were more affected – the pictures above (this morning) from the Côte de Nuits Villages vines adjacent to Nuits 1er Clos de la Marechale.

icymi – ‘tca-less cork by 2020’ – so what?

By billn on July 16, 2018 #in case you missed it#seals (not the furry kind)#the market

“An oak barrel brings value to a wine, but cork is perceived as potentially causing a problem with your wine… – …why is that?”
Antonio Amorim – yes, that Amorim!

This was published on Friday when I was traveling – it mandated comment.

My first reaction was ‘Good!
My second reaction was ‘About Time!
My third reaction was ‘But really, why has this taken so long? And, and…

The more I think about this, the more that my thoughts move from positive to negative. Of-course I am jaded by the loss of so many precious bottles – over many years – not forgetting those bottles in my cellar that are still waiting to bring me the sharp pain of aromatic disappointment.

So this is no solution for me – why? Because, aged 56, I now buy almost nothing for my cellar – it is well-enough stocked for the next 20 years of drinking – because of that, many bottles that I own – particularly in those most horrible years of non-existant quality control (for TCA) between 1996 and 2000 – I expect to lose at least 10% to cork problems – and that’s only the reds…

Cork Problems? – yes it’s plural – it’s not just TCA. There are other unwanted aromas, plus the highly variable rates of oxygen transport – as legions of dead, oxidised whites will testify – it’s not simply about TCA, which empirically (for me) now hovers at ‘only’ about 2-3% – but as stated, for a wider range of cork-related issues, the amount of lost bottles is higher than that number.

DIAM has been a solution since 2004 – a solution that is 95% cork-based – thus protecting the livelihoods of cork producers. TCA-free cork that does not sufficiently address other off-compounds, or the outright non-protection of a majority of white wine, dead in 10 years or less, will be no solution. I would be much more interested in what Antonio has to say about subjects other than TCA.

Practically, for many ‘older’ buyers – only better is no solution at all…

Burgundy Report

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