monday (it’s a new week…)

By billn on September 25, 2006 #vintage 2006

perfect grapes
Monday: Never judge a book by its cover!

It’s a few degrees cooler this morning – but dry – just arrived we have grapes from Corton Chaumes, 90 year old vines that have given a low (significantly sub 30hl/ha) yield – the grapes are perfect, as good as anything seen in 2005. In the picture you can see the ‘field-blend’ of chardonnay, pinot noir and at the bottom the lighter pinot beurot (pinot gris). The stems are part lignified, dry and if you chew them there is no astringency. The winemaker gets a flash-back of Saturday’s DRC and decides to go for it – we will include 50% whole clusters. The destemmed grapes are added over the whole clusters and we expect some carbonic maceration to start at the base of the stainless-steel tank and the wine will go from there.

Anyway, if it goes wrong, Nanson will be blamed and will have to buy the barrel 馃槈

After this perfect material, we wait for grapes from Aloxe. What arrives is from the Aloxe 1er Cru Gu茅rets and from the same owner as for the Corton Chaumes – and it shows! The vines are a little younger – but only a little – around 70 years, and the quality is very close to the Corton; very little rot with well-formed bunches. As can be seen by the speed of the triage table, these gapes are easily the equal of 2005.

julia does pigeageNext up (following choucroute and cake…) we have over 100 cases of pinot from Maranges. The grapes look almost good – we slow the triage table a little vs what we had in the morning – some of our cases have more rot than others but overall everything looks fine and still way, way better than the bourgogne grapes of Sunday. Apparently the winemaker buys all of the production from this plot in Maranges – as he personally feels it is about the best terroir – and despite the lowly appellation, he requests only 5-7 bunches per vine. I think herein we see the result of that decision.

Looking at the Chassagne 1er Vergers that we triaged yesterday; already it is 90% clear, which is hard to believe when you see the yellow/grey opaque material that comes from the press – sulfur dioxide is a wonderful thing! It will now be moved from it’s gross lees into another tank and from there, with its fine lees, direct into the barrels. The taste is already rather good, viscous and with a nice balance – still, this would be rather expensive if drunk as grape juice!

The rain has pretty much stayed away the whole day. We have a few degrees lower – though still T-shirts and shorts for the ‘workers’ – and the humidity is a little lower. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

weekend rain (part 2)…

By billn on September 25, 2006 #vintage 2006

chassagne 1er vergersSunday:
The title is a little unfair – despite the pessimistic predictions of the forecasters – we have on-and-off rain all day, but never heavy.

About 2:00pm I find myself in Chassagne loading the picked grapes from 1er Cru ‘Vergers’ onto a truck. Optically they are nothing special, about one in five bunches have some rot – perhaps one in twenty are quite bad; The taste on the other hand is excellent as is the balance of sweetness and acidity. A good (quite easy) trie and all will be well here.

5:00pm and we have 150 cases of bourgogne rouge grapes (from Meursault) arrive at the winery; these in places have rot almost to the same magnitude as we had to triage in 2004, though on average I would say better than 04.

Tonight we deserve a dinner so head to Beaune with ‘Vinotas’, whose day 4 report can be found here. Some bottles are consumed with very above average food at Le Gourmandin in Place Carnot.

weekend rain (part 1)…

By billn on September 25, 2006 #vintage 2006

drc 1er cru
Saturday morning and it’s raining in Beaune – we delay our trip.

Actually we just stay in bed a little longer 馃檪

We arrive in Beaune late afternoon and there is no rain – in fact it’s rather warm. In the evening we open lots of bottles and are all humbled (including the winemakers among us) by the understated complexity and alround excellence of domaine de la Roman茅e Conti’s 2002 Vosne-Roman茅e 1er Cru – and (as you can see above) we compared it to lots of other bottles! I should add the Julia’s cooking also helped a lot – Julia is from Brasil and is here doing a stage.

Safe to say we slept very well; Sunday the first grapes of our trip arrived.

inclement weather & vinotas on tour…

By billn on September 22, 2006 #vintage 2006

Vinotas Part 3

chance of rainUnfortunately the weather prognosis is not good for the weekend. Those that were planning to harvest during the weekend are currently rethinking their plans due to a forecast of rain for Saturday and Sunday – the heaviest rain for Sunday – but then rain has been forecast several times and none has materialised!

If, for a change, the forecasters are correct, it might bode for a better C么te de Beaune harvest than C么te de Nuits – the saga will unfold…

harvest message from Bernard Vallet

By billn on September 22, 2006 #vintage 2006

The sun is shining !
After a month of July dry and very hot, August was quite cold and humid. September looks very interesting and will be probably the key of this vintage; the grapes seem protected by good skins , result of the July weather.

We already received the first grapes that we buy every year and really the “table de tri” was not so useful. Concerning our own vineyards it was nice to see absolutely no rot: the grapes are healthy and we start harvest on Monday 25th.

As last years the natural level of sugar looks very good. Acidity is well-balanced and tannins are present ! The “medias” already give notice of an “outstanding vintage in white”: we can confirm with the first musts arrived in our cellar.

Kind regards,
Bernard VALLET
Pierre BOUREE Fils

RIP – Henri Jayer

By billn on September 21, 2006 #random

Not unexpected but anyway very sad news. Allen Meadows’ words need no addition:

It is with deep regret that I inform the board members that Henri Jayer passed away last night after a long illness. Jayer was renowned and admired the world over for his lush, seductive, well-balanced and impeccably crafted burgundies and was arguably the most famous Burgundian winemaker ever. Just as importantly, he unquestionably has had the greatest impact and influence among today’s generation of Burgundian winemakers. He was a man of strong convictions about how wines should be made but the superb quality of his wines, even in difficult vintages, certainly provided persuasive evidence that his methods worked. And the auction market voted with its pocketbook as well, according Jayer wines enormous valuations, indeed on a consistent par with those of the Domaine de la Roman茅e-Conti.

I knew Jayer for years and also admired and respected his philosophies, work ethic and ultimately, the results he so consistently achieved. Hanky J, as he was affectionately referred to, will be missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and admirers.”

Allen Meadows
Burghound.com

bourgogne agenda for october…

By billn on September 21, 2006 #diary dates

Dates for your diary in October:

  • 14 October – “Foul茅e des Vendanges” Savigny-l猫s-Beaune. Foot-race through the
    vineyards. +33[0]3 80215121
  • 21-22 October – “Paul茅e de la C么te Ch芒lonnaise”, Ch芒lon-sur-Sa么ne and Givry (Sa么ne-et-Loire). Harvest-home celebrations. Tel. +33[0]3 85 45 22 99 or [0]3 85 48 37 97.
  • 21-22 October – “Coup d’oeil, coup de coeur”, Auxey-Duresses. Open-cellars event. Tel. +33[0]3 80 21 25 78.
  • 22 October – “F锚te des vendanges”, Joigny (Yonne). Harvest festival. Tel. +33[0]3 86 62 11 05.
  • 28 October – “Vinplissime” 1st “Journ茅es Nationales du Vin”. Tel. +33[0]1 56 03 14 31.
  • 28-29 October – “F锚te du vin bourru” Nuits-Saint-Georges (C么te-d’Or). Tastings and entertainments. Tel. +33[0]3 80 62 11 17. www.lacabotte.com
  • 28-29 October – 58th “F锚te des Vins de Chablis”. Entertainments, and tastings of local wines and produce. Tel. +33[0]3 86 42 42 22.
  • 11-12 November – “F锚te des Vins du Grand Auxerrois” , St-Bris-le-Vineux. Saturday: trade. Sunday: general public. Tel. +33[0]3 86 53 66 76.

Vendanges update

By billn on September 21, 2006 #vintage 2006

harvestingAs promised, here is the link to the daily update on the Domaine de la Vougeraie site. Firefox users seem to have a problem with the site, only a purple screen awaits, but Bill Gates will provide the solution if you crank-up your old internet explorer!

Super reports are coming in also from Michel Abood – aka ‘Vinotas’ – he might well be on his honeymoon, but apparently is being given a long lead! Here is his Day 1 report, and here is Day 2.

Early Saturday morning it is time to hit the road – I should be in Beaune by 9:30am. Without any real organisation I’ve suggested to a few people that we could taste a few interesting bottles in the evening – could be with just bread and cheese as we might finish grape-sorting rather late, but only one rule for the tasting – if the winemakers themselves are present, we (they) shall have to taste blind!

Cheers

count-down to the weekend

By billn on September 19, 2006 #vintage 2006

weather_not_bad.jpgThe word is that there’s a lot of botrytis around – the weather has been good, but the humidity has been on the high side. Many domaines have already started in the C么te de Beaune and the rest will go full force in the C么te de Nuits at the weekend – the forecast remains good – and I expect to be joining them – there’s nothing quite like chewing on a few grapes from Chambertin while you work!

It sounds like the triage table might be important – but let’s wait and see the grapes.
Info newly in:

  • Nathalie Tollot at Domaine Tollot-Beaut tells that they started their harvesting yesterday and are hoping to finish by the weekend – they are pleased with the result sofar
  • Carel Voorhuis at d’Ardhuy tells me that he “started yesterday with Ladoix at a bit above 13% vol, quite ripe, with just a very little botrytis. Looking good.”
  • Tomorrow Domaine de la Vougeraie will start a harvest log at their website – it already started today in French – tomorrow the translations into English begin. I’ll link to it when it’s running
  • Additional info here (in French) from Patrick Essa

Cheers

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