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 Romanée-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

bourgogne agenda for october…

By billn on September 21, 2006 #diary dates

Dates for your diary in October:

  • 14 October – “Foulée des Vendanges” Savigny-lès-Beaune. Foot-race through the
    vineyards. +33[0]3 80215121
  • 21-22 October – “Paulée de la Côte Châlonnaise”, Châlon-sur-Saône and Givry (Saône-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 – “Fête des vendanges”, Joigny (Yonne). Harvest festival. Tel. +33[0]3 86 62 11 05.
  • 28 October – “Vinplissime” 1st “Journées Nationales du Vin”. Tel. +33[0]1 56 03 14 31.
  • 28-29 October – “Fête du vin bourru” Nuits-Saint-Georges (Côte-d’Or). Tastings and entertainments. Tel. +33[0]3 80 62 11 17. www.lacabotte.com
  • 28-29 October – 58th “Fête des Vins de Chablis”. Entertainments, and tastings of local wines and produce. Tel. +33[0]3 86 42 42 22.
  • 11-12 November – “Fête 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!


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 Côte de Beaune and the rest will go full force in the Côte 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


Bans des Vendanges 2006

By billn on September 18, 2006 #the market#vintage 2006

The info we’ve been waiting for:

  • Côte de Beaune : 18 September
  • Côte de Nuits : 20 September
  • Hautes-Côtes de Beaune et de Nuits : 23 September
  • Châtillonnais : 15 September

Around Auxerre (Yonne)

  • Crémants de Bourgogne, Saint-Bris : 11 September
  • Irancy : 16 September
  • Vins du Vézelien : 18 September
  • Chablis : 16 September

The weather has been pretty good; clear skies, sunshine & 28°C for much of September (above average) and only two days with a little rain – half the September average – but then we’re only halfway through September! Anyway I’m hoping to be getting my hands dirty at the triage table this weekend so will send updates as we go.

Two additional snippets of Burgundy-related info:

  1. Following a 21% increase in volume for the last quarter of 2005, worldwide export figures for the first six months of 2006 confirm Burgundy ‘s top form, with a boost of 12% in volume and 11% in value compared to the same period last year. Even more noteworthy, is the progress of Crémant de Bourgogne : where despite low volume, exports rose by 22% in volume and 60% in value from January to June year on year, continuing the trend started in 2005 when exports of the region’s sparkling AC took off (source : BIVB).
  2. On the UK market, volume exports of wines for the period January to June 06 show a 4% increase on 2005 (+1% in value). For Crémant de Bourgogne volumes, the uplift is 13% over the same period (source : Douanes Françaises).

So many things (including Leroy!)…

By billn on September 11, 2006 #degustation#vintage 2006

Let me see; a wonderful dinner last night in the Hotel Adler. 12 different bottles of Domaine and Maison Leroy wines from 2004 to 1966. The 2004 ‘blends’ have been really hyped – vs the hype I was disappointed – but it will take me some while to write-up my pages of notes! The merchant responsible for this excellent event was Max Gerstl, well-done Max. Just for the record, the wines were:

  1. 1997 Leroy SA, Bourgogne Blanc
  2. 1996 Leroy SA, Meursault 1er Cru Perrières
  3. 1966 Leroy SA, Meursault Peruzot
  4. 2004 Domaine Leroy, Bourgogne Rouge
  5. 2004 Domaine Leroy, Vosne-Romanée
  6. 1966 Leroy SA, Corton Grand Cru
  7. 2003 Domaine Leroy, Savigny-lèes-Beaune 1er Cru Narbantons
  8. 2003 Domaine Leroy, Chambolle-Musigny Les Fermiers
  9. 2003 Domaine Leroy, Nuits St.Georges
  10. 2003 Domaine Leroy, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Combottes
  11. 2003 Domaine Leroy, Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru
  12. 1966 Leroy SA, Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru

Returning to the ‘hot’ topic; still no rain in the Côte d’Or – the weather was just a little cooler on Friday, but back up to 28/29°C for the weekend and with it was a little more breeze and a little less humidity – Just what we want. Can it last for another 10-20 days…(?)


wine bottle closures – the book

By billn on September 05, 2006 #books, maps, magazines, films even podcasts!#vintage 2006

jamie's most recent bookI just got to the end of Jamie Goode’s self-published book on wine bottle closures. The book is a distillation of current knowledge/data with respect to the various approaches to what I will call ‘taint management’.

To be honest, I found this a really interesting read and though there is a high dose of technical language, Jamie really made it easy for this (ex) research chemist – I think it’s also reasonably approachable for ‘lay’ readers.

Unlike Jamie’s book on wine science, this is a lower-budget presentation that is structured with very short sections that are perfect for 15 minutes reading here and 10 minutes there – my main reading operandi. Jamie repeats himself often; it’s like a presenter, telling you what he’s going to tell you, then telling you, then finally reminding you what he’s told you – but for me it worked very well – and I think I even retained some of the info! Chapter #3 is a super reference to sulfur and oxidation & reduction in wine that would sit well in any reference book and is almost worth the price of entry for that section alone. Highly Recommended!

sunnyPlenty of good weather today on the Côtes, lots of sunshine. The nights have warmed just a little, and the temperature at 2:00pm was 28˚C

Burgundian Weather + Lunch

By billn on September 04, 2006 #vintage 2006

weather_not_bad.jpgSo-far, so-good. The weather is not so hot (about 25˚C) but more importantly, there is plenty of sunshine. More of this, and a little breeze to counteract the humidity, and things will be just perfect – unfortunately we need about another 3 weeks of this.
Lunch with the future of British winewriting today; Neal Martin and Jamie Goode – the gossip will be flying – should be great fun!

Burgundy Report

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