saturday 14 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 14, 2019 #vintage 2019

A word on our Beaune 1er Belissand from yesterday – it had been de-leafed early and, unlike our previous whites, had no oïdium to speak of. This vineyard also suffered no episodes of frost or hail – unlike the Savigny and Chorey blancs. Only 35 hl/ha was the yield of the Savigny-Vergelesses – the aim is 45-50!

Today was the day of Chorey – the domaine has plenty of Chorey! Our white Chorey had a nice bite and freshness – moreish grapes, very yum – just an occasional bunch with some oidium, but it was rare – an occasional hail impact too, but this looks to be a very promising cuvée. In the afternoon we only had red Chorey – and there will be more tomorrow(!) There was some rot to triage as this is a ‘humid’ area, but the grapes were ripe, tasty and thick-skinned – the rot was easy to triage, though there was some shrivelled, sometimes grilled, grapes to remove too. Very high quality this year – it only required our ‘finessing!’

Tomorrow, I shall mainly be hoping for a little less Chorey-lès-Beaune!

friday 13 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 13, 2019 #vintage 2019

Chevalier-Montrachet – but not Cabotte!

Today the home domaine was triaging (largely) Beaune 1er Belissand – a white, and in just its second vintage here. The grapes looked cleaner than the Savigny 1er white of yesterday – no oïdium to be seen – easy!

We haven’t discussed the weather very much, but today was approaching 30°C and over the weekend it’s supposed to warm more – and there’s currently no rain to be seen in the long-range forecast. I think that this could have the effect of compressing the harvest timetable versus the harvest timing predictions of a week ago.

Anyway, today I was able to take time out to tour the Côte d’Or, and whilst I saw plenty of action in the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte de Nuits had virtually no harvesting – except for finding the team of Domaine Denis Mortet – harvesting their Chambertin!

Anyway here are some images from today, and some comment attached to the individual images themselves. Enjoy…

12 sept – home domaine, 2019 harvest day 1

By billn on September 12, 2019 #vintage 2019

Savigny Aux Vergelesses

Part 1:
Our first juice comes from Savigny 1er Aux Vergelesses. These medium-sized berries (but with a lot of millerandage) are ripe – the first press juice showing about 13.5° – the trough under our vibrating table has collected plenty of these millerandes, but they are not all completely ripe – it’s doing its job!

The bunches are harbouring very little in the way of insects, and there’s no rot to speak of, though some oïdium needs to be weeded out on the triage table. Given such a warm year the acidity looks quite good – there were more days over 30°C in July-August 2019 than in the same period of 2018 – but these grapes are refreshing to the taste.

As every year, our press is the limiting factor, when its full we revert to pinot noir despite more bins of Savigny Vergelesses in waiting. Our first red will be Corton Renardes – more than touched by hail on the 14 July – the estimate is about 20% losses, but we shall see!

Part 2:
Our afternoon is about reds – three of them – all small cuvées. We have two 1er crus from Pernand – En Caradeux and Les Fichots – plus Corton Renardes.

The Renardes was beautiful stuff; medium to small berries, with almost no rot – we could have done no triage at all. There was just a little more to be done with the two from Pernand, but only anecdotally-so, though their average berry size was a little larger – Caradeux had the largest grapes.

What was clear, was the crunchy thickness of the skins – along with berry size, the key attributes of the vintage. These thick skins are the source for plenty of tannin and that tannin was far from ready one week ago – the grapes were sweet enough but they were also showing plenty of astringency – today that’s gone – this is the concept of picking with phenolic ripeness in action.

wednesday 11 Sept – harvest 2019 update

By billn on September 11, 2019 #vintage 2019


More and more people are attacking their vines. Yesterday Lafon picked his Montrachet, and Lafarge did their usual opening routine of harvesting their Clos du Chateau des Ducs, hand-destemming the grapes through a large ‘sieve’ – as in previous years – then they did the same with their Pommard Pezerolles.

Today, I got the chance to ask Erwan Faiveley how the harvest had started for him: “Our harvest started on Monday in the Côte de Beaune and Mercurey villages, not yet the Givry or the Mercurey 1ers. The whites in Côte de Beaune that were frosted – Bourgogne and Puligny villages, for example – were also harvested, bringing in about 20 hl/ha, but our Bâtard delivered 35-40 hl/ha (they are not yet decanted so it’s not yet fixed) so we can be very happy with that.” Erwan explains that the grapes grew quite well in the last days though it still won’t be a big volume vintage, “The reds are likely to show some tannin from the growing season. One or two vines in the Côte de Nuits are already harvested, including the old vines of Chambolle Fuées. Tomorrow we start in Chablis where we had a welcome few millimetres of rain at the weekend – and there will be Mazis tomorrow too!

Vincent Dancer coninues to post the most compelling images of the harvest – I leave you with one to finish. Outside of Chablis, Côte d’Or and Chalonnaise, some of the early ripening areas in the Beaujolais Crus are already beginning to be harvested, but the bulk remains on the vines, waiting – though Lafarge (again) started with their Chiroubles today!

all the v’s – Verzé, Vivant & Vougeot – weekeend 36 2019

By billn on September 09, 2019 #degustation

2014 Nicolas Maillet, Mâcon Verzé – the last of my 6-pack (I think!) all have been top but this was a little deeper coloured with a cork that removed just a little too easily. The last (large) glass went into making the risotto, but the rest of the bottle was still very drinkable – the first 5 bottles were excellent!

1999 Thomas-Moillard, Romanée St.Vivant
This is a wine that has never endeared – a shame then that I bought a dozen on release – but this is the best of that case so far, only 20 years have been needed for this!
Lots of colour – colour with a certain age, but not brown. Hmm, that’s actually a modestly attractive nose, with a bloody, earthy, leafy-spiced depth – there is interest here. In the mouth, we have concentration, layers of flavour and no-longer the practically overwhelming sense of tannin that this wine showed in its rustically cabernet-style youth. It’s long too – but it’s not inviting, nor satisfying – maybe another 10 years for the remaining 6 or 7 bottles?
Rebuy – No

2001 Dr Georges Mugneret, Clos de Vougeot
In almost every direction, this wine is smaller versus the Thomas-Moillard; less impact – both aroma and flavour – less concentration, a smaller finish too – but in one rather important area, this has something extra – deliciousness. I don’t find many down-right poor wines in 2001, but the gaps between the modest and great are large in 2001 – here is quite a modest wine versus label/domaine expectations, but it’s an elegant and delicious middle-weight wine, rather than a grand cru wine. All the same, here is plenty of leafy maturity, some sweetness and a nice drive to the acidity. Very tasty.
Rebuy – Maybe

picking grand crus already?

By billn on September 09, 2019 #vintage 2019

Just a little gratuitous grand cru imagery, as Olivier Lamy picks his Criots Bâtard-Montrachet this afternoon – 09.09.19 – almost some symmetry there!

In the Côte de Beaune, there are just a few outliners who are picking reds too – for example, Volnay 1er Taillepieds by Domaine Clos de la Chapelle – but it’s largely the precocious young vines that are being picked in reds, at least for now…
Image/post below, courtesy Olivier Lamy.

Harvesting the 2019s

By billn on September 08, 2019 #vintage 2019

Vendanges alert! So we can say that we are underway…

It’s the whites that are being harvested first this year, as is probably the case in 19 out of 20 years. First, there were some very early pickers in the middle of last week, then the Hospices were picking some whites on Friday. Saturday (yesterday) was D-day for Jean-Marc Roulot in his Meursault Bouchères, Dominique Lafon in his Meursault Perrières and Olivier Lamy in his Chassagne and St.Aubin, plus many others including Pablo Chevrot. The grapes remain rather small and with many millerandes – they auger for wines of concentration.-

A larger wave of producers in the Côte de Beaune are planning their attacks for next week – my home domaine included as we will start on the 12th. Much of the Côte de Nuits are probably waiting until at least the 15th, more likely the 18th to 20th. It’s also still a little early for Beaujolais and Chablis.

This weekend’s weather is currently cool but dry, though the temperatures should rise to the mid-20°s next week. Of course, I’ll keep you informed via my harvest diary…

a couple of weekend wines from weekend 35 2019

By billn on September 04, 2019 #degustation

Nicolas Potel and Robert Perroud

2017 Robert Perroud, Beaujolais Villages Blanc ‘Terres Blanches’
A big nose – one of impact and a little exoticism – passion-fruit! Full, viscous but flavour-packed too. A wine that comes to me over time in the glass as the ripe, exotic fruit starts to fade and you have a more mineral development. Very drinkable – and for Beaujolais Blanc, that’s high praise from me!
Rebuy – Maybe

1999 Nicolas Potel, Nuits St.Georges
The last of my 6-pack, bought on release. Every previous bottle of this was outstanding – great Nuits villages – this left me wanting – I think that the cork was to blame.
The cork came out rather easily with hardly a ‘pop’ – it was wet and smelled a little oxidative – but not the wine, in fact aromatically, it showed nothing! There was some slow improvement over time – it became a wine of direction, concentration and good texture – but lacked both aromatic and flavour intensity. I’m sure some sub-detectable taint here – never the best way to remember a case…

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