week 26 2022 – the vintage so far (after the deluge…)

By billn on June 28, 2022 #vintage 2022

Clos Saint Jacques - after heavy rain
Gevrey’s Clos St.Jacques after the heavy rains – somebody’s going to have to take that earth back up the hill…

Well, there has been a lot of rain in the last few days – nearly 160mm recorded in Gevery-Chambertin, 21-27 June – a volume of water that brought soil to the bottom of the hills and ripped new channels through the vineyard roads and paths.

As you move south, the volume of rain slowly receded to between 50-80mm in the southern half of the Côte d’Or. The rain of 21-June focused on the north Côte de Nuits (Brochon, Fixin, Couchey). That of 22-June was more in the northern Côte de Beaune, the Côte de Nuits and the Hautes-Côtes with much variabilty in the Hautes Côtes depending on the particular valley. These first two stormy episodes were accompanied by hail in the north Côte de Beaune, including Chorey-les-Beaune and some of Ladoix plus in Côte de Nuits. Thursday 23-June, fortunately, brought only water and the same for the evening of Saturday 25-June.

In the Mâconnais, Fuissé, in one day, saw 50mm of rain – but in only 45 minutes! They had no hail, though other places, such as Vergisson, fared less well as there was hail mixed with the rain – losses are currently estimated at 30% – so much less than the hail of 2021 and, again, with the caveat that there was already a lot of grapes on the vines.

Mazis-Chambertin 24-June-2022Hail always generates strong emotions, it’s for that reason that I like to wait a few days before reporting on the potential consequences. The syndicate of Gevery-Chambertin (image: Mazis-Chambertin, right) were quickly discussing potential (average!) losses of around 15% but there are a lot of grapes on the vines this year – despite the April frost – so, at this stage, it’s not necessarily going to be a lower volume vintage. As one well-known producer told me today “Several impacts of hail and a lot of earth down the slope…. but no significant reason to cry!

Some of the grape clusters were not looking good – as is always the case with hail – but we have a forecast with 7-10 days of reasonably stable weather and warm temperatures that will likely dry these damaged grapes and give them the chance of dropping to the floor. Biodynamic domaines in Gevrey were already spraying their teas of tisane on Friday afternoon. From Beaune south, there are hardly any hail impacts as of today.

It’s patchy in Beaujolais too; poor Fleurie has some damage – it seems that if there’s hail, they always get it – but in Brouilly there was none and so forth. All told, nearly 500 hectares of Beaujolais has some hail damage – it sounds a lot (it is!) but it’s still only 3.5% of the 14,500 hectares that they have planted. It’s the sectors of Blacé, Saint Julien and the slopes of Arnas that have been most touched.

As noted, the forecast is largely good with temperatures approaching 30°C in the next 10 days – rot remains under control, for now, so steady as she goes…

A new Burgundy Report

By billn on June 23, 2022 #reports

A new Burgundy Report with an additional 20 domaines from in and around Chablis to add to the 64 tasted in January – that’s 84 domaines’ 2020s – and there’s more too!
Nobody gives you more…



The mid-summer vintage update – 2022 steady as she goes – but fast!

By billn on June 21, 2022 #vintage 2021

There’s been no attenuation to the advancement of the vine growth in the last week. There have been a few (helpful!) bursts of rain in the last 2 weeks since I updated you – nicely regular on the 02, 09 and 15 June – but also with high temperatures too – in the last week, 36-38°C have been measured in the vines.

Not since the 2005 vintage have temperatures been so high in June – and in 2022 those temperatures have comfortably exceeded what was seen in 2005. The combination of occasional rain plus high temperatures is the engine of vine growth this year. Despite the episode of frost in early April, we are holding a similar course of precocious maturity to the 2003, 2011 and 2020 vintages when measured at the same time – i.e. 3-4 days ahead of 2007, 2015, 2017 and 2018 – ie, other vintages with August harvesting.

Current estimates are for veraison (the grapes starting to change colour) suggest the 10-15 July. Given that dry days that have followed each delivery of rain, it’s no surprise that mildew is quite rare. On the other hand, as it is the morning dew that helps oïdium, this is where the growers’ concerns are currently most focused – but for now, the treatments have the upper hand. Black rot is a rarer problem – but was found in the Côte d’Or – and more-so in Beaujolais – in 2021 but seems largely absent at this stage of vine growth.

More in a couple of weeks!

To end, some views from Volnay – starting with Clos de la Chapelle but mainly from Caillerets – images from the end of last week:

weekend wines – weekend 24 2022

By billn on June 20, 2022 #degustation

week 24 2022 - weekend wines

For everyone in Europe, it’s unnecessary to mention the heatwave of the moment but, for readers further afield, it’s worth mentioning the temperatures of 35-38°C. We see these temperatures for a day or two in most years (not 2021) but typically they come in the high summer of July-August – but these are record temperatures for June.

After a couple of covid years where the magnums were left untouched, we have guests again – and on a hot weekend, it was time to delve into the pile of magnums for something refreshing.

2018 Alain Geoffroy, Chablis 1er Vau-Ligneau
2018, despite its other-worldly yields, continues to offer positive surprises from Chablis – though I’m finding most Côte de Beaune whites a little bland at this stage. Here is a nose of obvious ‘northern freshness’ and a certain citrus twang – it’s a fine invitation. In the mouth, the surprises continue with fine intensity and a grapefruit and tannin style to the flavours and texture. Both delicious and interesting! Excellent wine.
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Chevrot, Bourgogne Aligoté Tilleul Mag
I loved this before bottling but the oak treatment was more generous than I like – so I ordered 6 mags but planned not to open one before it was 5 years old – here’s the first. Cork sealed. A lovely freshness of aroma – very appealing. On the palate there is direction and delicious mouth-watering flavour – still a hint of its creamy oak beginnings – but the oak is now almost in the background. Absolutely delicious young wine – a treat!
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Domaine Champy, Pernand-Vergelesses Mag
Also sealed with cork and herein came a problem. This was just fabulous at the domaine when a baby – today not. Darker colour than the Tilleul and a much more developed nose that suggested a slight oxidation. Over about 1 hour the oxidative note largely faded but the accent remained in the flavours. I’m hoping for better corks in the remaining 2 magnums – I’ve never previously noted any premature ageing with magnums but I won’t be holding onto these with the same confidence as the Chevrot…
Rebuy – No

2020 Gautheron, Chablis VV
One of my ‘house-wine’ purchases and only to note that with these warmer temperatures, the pyrazine was the most visible as for any of these 12 bottles. A shame, as the base wine is great.
Rebuy – No

offer of the day – domaine ferret pouilly-fuissé 2020

By billn on June 14, 2022 #the market

Whilst these wines were once quite expensive not much cheaper more than 10 years ago, their prices have remained impressively stable – though possibly not next year after the decimation of their 2021 yields. Below are the prices of their 2020s – which are unchanged since their 2017s. Still, only two cuvées are offered but my Swiss merchant expanded the offer to include larger formats in this vintage. I bought some 2020 (neither of these cuvées) direct from the domaine and the prices are comparable.

POUILLY-FUISSE Tête de Cru Les Perrières 2020 75cl 42.00 (*Swiss francs)
POUILLY-FUISSE Hors Classe Les Ménétrières 2020 75cl 52.00

*Delivered price, but Swiss purchase tax is still to be added – 7.7%.

weekend pics…

By billn on June 12, 2022 #travels in burgundy 2022

Romanée St.VivantThe jungle of Romanée St.Vivant, today…

Warmer and drier than last weekend – a lot – in fact, 32.5°C today with 36°C on the horizon for later this week!

The 2022 update

By billn on June 09, 2022 #vintage 2022

This week in the Côtes

The sun gave way to plenty of stormy weather over the last weekend – though fortunately none of the hail-induced devastation seen in vineyards in more southerly parts of France near Armagnac. There have been a few spots of hail mixed in with the storms but not enough to cause particular damage. As such – though stressed – the Burgundian locals are reasonably happy that up to 45mm of rain fell – since last Friday – on their very dry vineyards; May had delivered less than half the normal amount of rain.

Even in the Hautes Côtes, the flowering was largely over when the rain, sometimes heavy, fell – so will not have significantly affected the setting of the fruit. The chardonnay in Meursault and other places is showing a little coulure but yields still look good – though nobody knows how much juice there will really be until the grapes are pressed!

Post-rain, the weather is much cooler for now but from the weekend onwards will return to the high 20s°C. The recent cooler weather and darker skies have put the projected position in the vines about 3-4 days behind where it was in 2020 but still ahead of 2015 and 2018 – which still comfortably indicates an August harvest. The changeable weather increases the domaines’ vigilance to mildew, where incubation time is 5-6 days, so post-rain, the domaines will have a better idea by the end of this week on how it’s developing. Oïdium is also on the move in certain parcels. Fortunately, entry into the vines is not so difficult at the moment so there has been no brake on the required treatments.

The growth remains rigorous for now in the vines – so tasting appointments are at a premium – this may start to calm in the second half of July…

rounding up some recent bottles…

By billn on June 08, 2022 #degustation

I have been lacking in my ‘home bottle’ notes of recent, mainly because I’ve been drinking plenty of my ‘home’ wines – ie ones that you’ve already seen too often in these pages – but here are a few different ones:

2020 Ardhuy, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Chaumes
It was nearly the end of the week and the tasting bottles were too numerous for the domaine to do anything with – so one was thrust into my palms:
This a wine with ripe, dark-fruited, moderately spiced aromatics – and fine clarity too. A wine with ample energy despite a generous demeanour – a delicious wine. Very stable too – it drank beautifully over three evenings.
Rebuy – Yes

2017 Alex Gambal, St.Aubin 1er Murgurs des Dents du Chien
There’s still a little aromatic oak padding here but the nose is still an invitation. A wine of evident structure and fine mouth-watering flavour – but for my taste, the oak is still a little too dominant. I will return to this only in another 2-3 years – but with confidence given the DIAM seals.
Rebuy – Maybe

2012 Domaine Faiveley, Corton-Charlemagne
This was the last vintage (2012) where I long-term cellared any whites that were sealed with cork – having thrown away too many high-priced, potentially great wines, due to oxidation.
Rather a dark colour but happily no oxidation – indeed there’s more of a firework-style reduction here – and what a complexity of aroma too – not the full creaminess of an aged white – but it’s starting to appear – still with energy and plenty of ripe fruit too. In the mouth – oh yes – so complex. For the first years this was a wine that I found a little over-generous in shape and energy but today it’s taut – it has been in training – it’s a great, great wine – bravo!
Rebuy – Yes

La Table de Léonce

By billn on May 31, 2022 #degustation

Chateau du Clos de Vougeot

The Château du Clos de Vougeot proposes a new ‘offer’ for the summer month where they hope to combine (in their words) culture and gastronomy.

Their summer restaurant, La Table de Léonce, is offering lunch/winetastings where the diners can sample the cuisine of the château whilst discovering various (Burgundy!) wines.

A wine-tasting with 4 wines + lunch + visit: 75€ inclusive of tax
A wine-tasting with 6 wines + lunch + visit: 105€ including tax – this offer including 2 Grand Crus
A visit in the château plus lunch with a selection of fruit juices instead of wine (let’s call this the chauffeur’s option!): 55€ including tax
There’s also a children’s menu (under 17 years): 30€ including tax
And a vegetarian menu (with the chef’s choice of in-season ingredients) but this must be ordered 24 hours in advance

By reservation, private lunches are available on any day of the week, but for a minimum 18 guests:
latable@closdevougeot.info or +33 3 80 62 86 09

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