The 163rd Hopsices de Beaune Wine Auction

By billn on September 19, 2023 #events#vintage 2023

163rd Hospices de Beaune wine auction

The 163rd Hospices de Beaune wine auction will be held on Sunday, November 19 2023, in the Halles de Beaune from 14h30. The sale is emblematic of the region and, in particular, of Beaune. The domaine of the Hôtel Dieu covers an enviable 60 hectares of vines, the result of 600 years of donations which have traversed the centuries under this ownership model.

Today was the first of a number of press events for the forthcoming sale, held in the Hotel Dieu itself. Here I offer you some of the vintage notes of Ludivine Griveau – given the geographic extent of her 120 parcels, her insight is first-class:

Vintage Comments by Ludivine Griveau:

“We worked through 12 days of heatwave in this harvest. The heterogeneity is impressive – some cuvées we are treating like those of a heatwave vintage – but others not – even from the same appellation. 12.6° is our starting point up to about 13.4° – all natural. You could even sometimes find rosé grapes but also shrivelled. Right now, I have the impression that I have multiple vintages in the cellar – it’s a difficult vintage to define at this early stage.

“This was the third year of our certification to organic viticulture. Not a conversion to understate with 60 hectares spread over a wide geography and 120 parcels! A year with 11 treatments – which is quite a lot – but only with contact products based on copper and or sulfur. Our treatments were roughly every 7 to 9 days. We plan to label the wines AB in the 2024 vintage.

“The winter was not so cold and it was rather dry – there was a deficit of rain. No frost. Spring was much wetter and cold for April with less sun than average. The summer had a number of storms and 11 July brought some hail – significantly for us in Meursault Les Genevrières. From the perspective of the vines, it was still a little too dry. The vine growth started quite heterogeneous including the flowering that followed too, despite quite good flowering conditions. The growth that followed was associated with a high pressure of maladies – oïdium and mildew – that’s why we had 11 treatments.

“Our harvesting started 6th September in the Mâconnais, finishing the last of our vines on the 19th (today!) in the Côte de Beaune including some St.Romain. Because of the heat, we started harvesting early in the morning and finished early too – we needed a refrigerated truck at the winery to ensure that we could work with cool grapes.

“It’s historically, still a very early vintage. We can say that it’s a vintage with plenty of fruit – this for the second consecutive year. Averagely clean – we did green harvesting in 9 of our 60 hectares – not something we’ve done for at least 15 years in the domaine. Triage was severe – in the vines and then again at the winery. We started harvesting with the chardonnay and it was the whites that got through the harvest-time heatwave the best. In both colours, we had beautiful fruit but also not-so-beautiful fruit – that’s why we had to be so selective. 50 hectares were harvested in just 9 days. The colours and polyphenols of the reds are extracting very easily, such that there are many parallels to 2022 and whilst we had a little more volume of grapes than in 2022 we will make less wine – that’s because of the severe selection and using no stems. Our volume of whites will also be slightly down due to hail in our Meursault Genevrières.

“The ancients used to say that if you have a year with a lot of verjus the year that follows will be generous: We had lots of verjus in 2022 and we clearly have a generous 2023 – but in 2023 there’s very little verjus!”

The Pièce de Charité:
The most prestigious barrel in the sale.

Ludivine confirms that they already know what wine will be in this specially crafted barrel – but they are not yet saying!

This year the barrel is the result of a partnership between the cooper Cadus – producers of 18-20,000 barrels per year – and the family suppliers of an oak from the Vibraye forest – a family that have owned and worked this particular forest since 1510 – almost as long as the Hospices has existed. Vibraye is situated between Le Mans and Orléans. The oaks from this place are being used in the restoration of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris where the requirement is for trees with 15.5 metres in length. One (special) tree had a length of 19.5m – it is the remaining portion of this roughly 220-year-old tree that has been used to make the barrel.

Domaine Michel Gros 2023 Vendange Day 1 – Sept 10th

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on September 18, 2023 #vintage 2023

Warning:- Some Doggy Porn (clean pictures of dogs !) will accompany this report 😊

Slept pretty well given I’d been travelling for c24 hours to arrive yesterday, then wined & dined. Was up early for breakfast; for me was a routine of coffee or tea, a glass of orange juice, a breakfast bar (3 packets brought with me) and a piece of fruit from the domaine’s supply – mostly an apple. In time-honoured custom one’s drink is from a bowl, odd to one used to English custom. I quickly realised the early morning line up at breakfast, and who got things going e.g. the coffee and hot water, was of senior male team members who mostly worked as tractor drivers and in the cuverie with only two of them pickers – they’ve obviously been together vendange wise a while and sleep etc in a room/rooms over the cuverie. A key group to be on the good side of and share influence. A number of them have fantastic histories of vendange attendance e.g. c40 years – despite not looking old enough. My instant favourite was Philippe, a really nice guy, tall, slim, understated and a former officer in his local Sapeurs Pompiers. We instantly got on well.

Weather was immediately warm, dry and sunny and to get a lot warmer/hotter with cloudless blue sky. As common to all my vendages, post breakfast, there was much milling around cum hanging about, with locals arriving & others not ‘interning’. Then there was the gang of youngsters dossing in the old house at the village end of Clos des Reas. I’d been told the team would be c80 strong but I subsequently tried a couple of head counts & got nowhere near this. Surveying the scene with attendance clipboard, followed by her faithful 10-year old lurcher type hound, Prunelle, and with a word or several for many attendees/arrivals, was office lady, Juliette, who like many of her ilk appears key to the operations and indispensable.

Lined up across the road from the domaine premises and cuverie, in parking area to the front of the almost complete new bottle store building, were the usual for harvest several hired mini buses and 3 or 4 domaine vans of dubious vintage (a couple small, two bigger). But, as word was given to move off this was on foot !!! Wot no transport ??? Reason obvious actually, we were Clos des Reas bound so not far – I was in the front rank and looking behind me was amusing to see the rag tag of the Gros team coming along behind (see photo). En route to Reas we passed, amongst others, the premises of Domaine Francois Lamarche which has a large static tower crane in the front courtyard – hard to see any building work but think this is at the rear of the premises as I thought I could see from another angle a few days later when we were in Vosne La Colombiere. The buckets, cases, water etc. had gone by vehicle ahead of us.

We were actually split into two separate picking teams, one a smaller one which went on their way to smaller sites – on this Day 1 to Clos de Vougeot to be followed by Chambolle. I was slightly regretful to be in the main, larger, grouping but resigned myself that one could be everywhere – and I certainly wasn’t unhappy to be in Clos des Reas.

And so into Reas and sort of upslope if there were a slope – we started on the high side, across from Les Chaumes. A word on vendangeurs/in vine management. M Gros have another variation on those I’ve seen before elsewhere. One might imagine from all the Burgundy domaines that, over the years, a universal way of working would have been arrived at but no ! The Gros method is conventional but, like Michel Noellat, they use small sub-teams of 6/7, within the overall group. The sub-team leader, and maybe a helper, don’t pick but accumulate, and sort, the pickers bucketloads into the usual size of cases strategically scattered along rows from the vineyard tractor before we start. I was intrigued by the sorting as a form of in-vine triage – Gros doesn’t appear to have a formal triage table. Many domaines claim in vines sorting but in my experience, this doesn’t happen or is perfunctory at best. Here at Gros though there is clear and obvious in vines triage and that after the pickers are encouraged to do their own care in cutting and rejection. The cases, once full, are collected by vineyard tractor then taken to a green sward area in the vineyard and offloaded to be collected later by road tractor & trailer, or immediately transferred from vineyard tractor to trailer.

Another innovation I’d not seen before until here are little blue seats on a strut for the pickers which strap to the waist & buttocks ! These were very popular – for me though I was happy to stay with my tried and trusted knee pads. Something that struck me immediately in Reas once we got going was the height, or lack of it, of the vines – very handy indeed if one needed to hop over. Not sure why this is. Featured not quite to the same extent in other vines we were to move to.

We quickly got going, with the morning passing unremarkably, whilst we moved steadily along the vines. Much needed water and rest break after Pass 1. Bending to my first vine, secateurs in hand it felt like I’d never been away rather than having missed 2 years. Lunch seemed to come quite quickly – back to the domaine (on foot !) where 3 small steel wash basins (fed from an outside tap) and soap dispensers were set up in a row for suitable pre-lunch hygiene. The domaine yard area outside the cuverie is quite compact. Lunch was a starter (can’t recall), lasagne, fromage selection (usually Comtes, Rebluchon and Brie) and an ice cream. Without getting ahead of myself the catering here has subsequently turned out to be at least on a par with Arlaud, if not the best. Food, pre-cooked, is brought in from traiteurborguignon.com in special containers then heated up for us.

Back to Reas p.m from 13.30 with, I think, 4 passes completed in the day. Boy, was it getting hot & your writer was perspiring freely. I’d taken Cyprien Arlaud’s warning to heart and worn a straw hat all day. Finish c17.30. Serious result coming back to the domaine as I’d been expecting some gear (buckets, secateurs etc) cleaning but as I went to voluntarily spread the buckets out a large, mature, lady scolded me saying that as a domaine employee (not sure she was to be honest) it was her job to do the buckets – fine by me !!! Things getting better all the time 😉.

Returned to my room for a welcome shower & change before returning to the dining cellar to work on photo downloads, resizing and captioning. A lot to this reporting for Bill lark, time is always at a premium. I didn’t note the evening menu but we never had leftovers, was always a new menu.

And so to bed. Tomorrow unsurprisingly, given its c2 hectares Reas Day 2 to a finish and then more very exciting things !

MdMdlV

2023 Burgundy harvest – 16 September

By billn on September 18, 2023 #vintage 2023

You always know that the end of the harvest is close when domaines start to pick their aligoté – typically a late-ripening variety. And so it was on Friday and through the weekend.

I still met a few hardy folk in the higher vines of Volnay and Pommard – Sur Roches, Lambots and of course, Vaumuriens. Today was Pascal Roblet. He was quite happy with his grapes – ‘Not the vintage of the century, but we have good grapes and they are ripe‘ I’ve long been a fan of his wines and the care whilst harvesting is obvious – only 4-5kg (grape weight) cases are used to collect his grapes – ‘and since 2001,‘ emphasises Pascal. In one of the images you can see him showing that he doesn’t cut the tops of his vines but unlike Leroy or Trapet’s high trellising, he prefers to spread the the lengthening shoots across the top wire of his trellis.

It was quieter in the Côte de Nuits too, the square in front of the Mairie of Vosne – a bustling hub of harvesting in the last days – becoming much calmer. A few blocks of vines were still waiting to be picked – the Chambertin of Rossignol-Trapet and the Mazis of the Hospices de Beaune – but even the traditionally ‘late pickers’ were in the vines. So, right now, the Hautes Côtes are seeing the most action – together with Chablis and Irancy too. A significant part of Beaujolais is already done.

The major efforts are now in the cuveries!

The return of the Mark – Vosne 2023

By Marko de Morey et de la Vosne on September 17, 2023 #vintage 2023

DOMAINE MICHEL GROS
VENDANGE SEPT 2023 – JOURNEY TO ARRIVAL

Bonjour tout la monde (as one says, en France, in a plural greeting to a number of folk e.g arriving for breakfast) 😊 !

I’ve really, really, missed 2 years away from my spiritual second ‘home’ on the Cote d’Or, since my 2020 Covid related Domaine Michel Noellat vendange, when I was already struggling mobility wise, cutting not a problem, with what culminated with a (self) diagnosis, subsequently formally confirmed, of an osteo-arthritis destruction of my left hip resulting in bone on bone.

May 2021 saw the replacement procedure with my now having a ceramic (’shelf life’ said to be c25 years) joint replacement at the world leading Wrightington, Nr Wigan, U.K. hospital – fortunately near my NW England home. Some might say I’m now bionic – this vendange will see !!! My Surgeon might not approve, but hey ………..

Why Domaine Michel Gros you might ask ? Well, why not ? Teasing aside, having also missed the 2022 vendange at the 11th hour/last minute with ‘domestic’ issues, I was all the more determined to return to the fray in 2023. I won’t bore you with more details, having confidently approached three of the domaines I’d enjoyed working for previously, I encountered various insurmountable problems, consequently, by the time July came around after much ‘water under the bridge/messing around with the above,’ I’d decided I’d have to forget 2023 and defer to early timing in 2024.

Then !! I got an email, perfectly timed in diminishing timescale to get fixed up, with copied Instagram post inserted from Domaine Michel Gros seeking vendangeurs – impressively full terms & conditions re hours, pay, food etc etc included but, crucially for me, no mention of accommodation. Was hugely impressed at the prospect of this starred, solid reputationally, well regarded (and serious) domaine, which ticked all my boxes re vineyards size, terroirs etc etc. Quickly fired off email was equally quickly responded to by Domaine Fulcrum, Key Bureau Lady, Juliette who confirmed accommodation not an issue available and I would be very welcome. Sign Up followed with my sending all the usual paperwork, then readily acknowledged by Pierre Gros as by then Juliette was on August vacances. Intriguingly, sometime around this point I noted a person from Domaine Michel Gros had searched my sad LinkedIn profile – assume it must have been Pierre (maybe fortunately, for nothing more than bits of fun since, and before, my 42 year career 2017 banking redundancy/retirement, I’d added my various vendange employments to LinkedIn ).

So, with joy in the heart at last and after much domestic planning/tasks to cover my absence, Friday 8th Sept saw my early p.m departure from my NW England home in my well packed BMW 340i M Sport Touring for a new to me crossing of the English Channel from Newhaven, Sussex to Dieppe, France – saving mileage & time on the historic drive to Dover – overnight departure 23.00hrs, arrive France Saturday 5.00hrs. Trouble free (for a change) travel on the UK Motorway network saw early arrival into Newhaven and ultimate boarding to be greeted by a ‘buzzing’ French crew, still much excited by the France Rugby Union team beating New Zealand’s All Blacks that afternoon/evening in the Rugby (Union) World Cup. A young crew member was notably amusing with cheeks and forehead marked with the tricolour – superb and very good/nice. Can France now ultimately win the World Cup ? I think they can.

Am not a good sleeper on ferry couchette, airline type, seats hence wasn’t particularly refreshed leaving Dieppe (a new port/town to me). Trouble free route & roads though to Rouen, & managed to join the autoroute towards Paris without incident – so far, so good even in still darkness. Subsequently though, ahem, despite my best efforts, printed off route, and SatNav, I still managed to get lost actually into Paris (a right of passage 😉) rather than skirting it, which I guess cost me c30 minutes, with extrication only ultimately managed by stopping and setting my then manic, after a brain wave, SatNav to Beaune (would not accept Vosne – rude !). In part, passing accidentally through suburb Nanterre as a scene of recent rioting was a bit nerve wracking. But, after exiting Paris without more ado, other than a long & hot drive, punctuated by frequent stops in quiet Aire rest areas due to tiredness, I arrived in Vosne with ‘bad timing’ as it was lunch time ! I cruised Vosne initially then drove out to ‘Aux Brulees’, parked in the shade under some trees and eat part of my packed meals to kill time whilst the French lunchtime passed. I’d identified whilst driving various domaines seemingly having started/or not their harvests- my past associates, Michel Noellat, being one of the non-starters albeit with all the gear set up out front the cuverie on the main road. In truth, I guess I was surprised even post lunch at the seeming lack of Cote de Nuits activity – hum ! Before registering at Michel Gros I ventured to beloved Morey-St-Denis and, without entering, noted from the village premises that Domaine Arlaud were obviously underway. I then drove to the cuverie, noted initially the large extension to the rear of the premises in the last two years, and new tarmac’d car park (!), with my first encounter the irrepressible, supposedly retired, Herve Arlaud. Warm greetings before moving into the blissfully cool (twas very hot outside) cuverie to chat with Mathieu and Cyprien. They’d started the previous Tuesday & were clearly content with their harvest outcome to date – quality and quantity volume. After pleasantries, with Cyprien issuing a friendly, if stern, warning I needed to wear a hat picking – my response I’d packed two – I bade my good byes to the people of this special domaine which will always have a particularly fond place in my heart.

And so to Vosne. I found the domaine car parking without much ado, and crossed on foot into the domaine yard & to the office for my first encounter with the irrepressible, cheerful, welcoming, curly haired, middle aged bureau chief, Juliette. I was quickly shown my room on the 1st floor of an impressive building a little up the street which I gather is also Michel Gros’ home – understand he lives in the basement. I was immediately very intrigued, before we entered the premises, to note ‘my building’ shared a courtyard type area with Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg (home and cuverie) – impressive neighbours indeed (of which more that evening). The building Juliette took me into was notably impressive, several stories, and big in ground floor area, one of the walls resplendent with hunting trophies of Jean Gros (Michel’s father who I gather was quite a chasseur) and including two scary looking and very large Sanglier (wild boar) heads – one would not like to meet either on a dark night, or in daylight even !!! Up a wide, sweeping stone staircase, onto the 1st floor Juliette showed me into the first of two bedrooms, laid out for two, and explained I’d be sharing with the Chef for the harvest, Jean-Michel (yet to arrive). Room looked very good indeed and way the potentially best, most comfortable accommodation I’d had during my various vendanges. Across the corridor was a large bathroom (wash basin only) & loo. At the end of the short corridor, after the other bedroom, was another tight in size bathroom (shower & wash basin). Juliette left me to ferry my stuff from the car, handily off road parking was available across the street, but also showed me the key code entry for the front door – this damn thing was to be the bane of my, and others, lives as it clearly didn’t work properly with one often left, after numerous attempts, ‘twiddling one’s thumbs’ & hoping against hope someone would come downstairs and out of the door or come and join you outside and have better luck at the key code thing doing the trick – all a joke really.

Once I’d lugged all my stuff in from the car and arranged my luggage on the floor for handy access (all the cupboard and wardrobe space was taken by bedding, family stuff etc etc) I was desperate for a shower & change of clothes given it was now mid afternoon & I’d left home c24 hours before with long hot drives & ferry crossing. Another failing here as the shower was teeth clenching, shiveringly, freezing cold !!!! I was just able to stand it long enough to get scrubbed up. Fingers crossed it would warm up in the next day or so (wait for future bulletins !).

Killing time to the previously advised pre-harvest evening reception I wandered down the street to the parking area in front of the Mairie, where the Rene Engel family premises sit in brooding fashion, and opposite the Mairie is the corner house on the northern end of the Michel Gros Monopole 1er cru, Clos des Reas. I’d already learnt this would be/is a vendangeurs lodging, unused rest of the year, and also that numerous Burgundy reference works highlight the Clos, given its nature, is an early ripening site. A handy wine quiz question is name the only Vosne 1er cru Monopole – answer Clos des Reas. Having a quick shuftie inside the property it was clear some occupants had already arrived but weren’t around. I then went through the property, out to the rear, into the Clos beyond. I wasn’t aware at the time but, no great surprise, we would start here tomorrow. A very cursory look at a few vines suggested to this non vigneron, the fruit was ready for cutting & already some burnt grapes were evident- hum ! And, boy, was it still very hot moving into early evening. Walking back to the domaine I met Jacques who seems somehow linked to Juliette. Falling in with each other, we quickly came across an ultra-friendly ginger cat who was happy to rub around us and out with a lot of head scratching – a nice greeting from a local !

Back at the domaine much milling around self- consciously and shyly by an increasing gathering in smart clothes ! It was at this point before the drinks reception action really got going, that some of us were fascinated by activities (they’d clearly started their harvest) in /outside the Mugneret-Gibourg cuverie just across the courtyard from the north entrance to the M Gros dining cellar I’d get to know so well. In time I met and shook hands with both the sisters who seemed a little intrigued at this Englishman in Michel Gros’ midst. They were delightful & seemed very content with their own harvest progress to date.

Eventually we were ‘called to order’ for the drinks reception – red wine and/or cassis. I can’t recall now exactly but there may have been a short speech. It was readily evident that both a number of longstanding regulars were present along with ‘newbies’ like myself (of various ages). I was already fielding a range of very standard questions from many quarters, which kept on coming over the next few days e.g where did I live; was this my first harvest (at M Gros/elsewhere); did I have another job in the UK; why was I working the vendange; what other domaines had I worked for; was it a holiday for me(!) etc etc. Some patience is required ! At some point I was introduced to my room share, a very likeable rotund, round spectacles wearing, character Chef Jean-Michel. As instantly likeable and friendly, and with his employment differing in nature from mine, I was very pleased cum relieved. Curiously, another Jean-Michel (and, despite the name, German) a domaine harvest regular, was to be one of the occupants of our room. JM2 lets call him is a tall, studious, laid back individual, seemingly/obviously widely liked by those working previously and as another plus for me has excellent English.

Post drinks reception we all sat down at a number of tables in the below ground dining cellar for our evening meal with wine (I’ll cover the latter in my next bulletin) post which off to bed to be ready for an early start the next morning. Initial impressions very positive indeed & that I was going to enjoy this a good deal, the odd bit of suffering aside !

Day 1 (shorter detail) to follow with photos. Stay tuned pop pickers !

MdMdlV

2023 Burgundy harvest – 15 September

By billn on September 15, 2023 #vintage 2023

We have nice warm weather again – though given the colour of the vine leaves and the carpet of horse-chestnuts on the ground the harvest retains an Autumnal feeling.

Beaujolais is not yet finished – but is close – and Chablis still has much to do.

Here in the Côte d’Or the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune are starting to fall silent – I walked around Beaune today and saw only low-lying vineyards (much in Bas de Teurons) that were still waiting to be picked – the bunches looking sub-optimal but that’s the vintage. The Côte de Nuits remains busy, as do the vineyards of the Hautes Côtes. The action in the latter starting about 3-4 days agao and also still with much to do.

I’ve yet to see any statistics from here, but already there are some for size (weight!) of the bunches in Champagne – you can expect similar for the Côte d’Or – ie BIG! And there are many bunches too – just as well given how shrivelled many look.

It will also come as no surprise that many vigneron’s syndicates have been lobbying for making hay while the sun shines ie getting augmentations for their authorised yields – I’m sure that enough wine will be made this year…

2023 Burgundy harvest – 12 September

By billn on September 12, 2023 #vintage 2023

The harvest is slowing down a lot in some areas – Côte de Beaune whites for instance – though some later pickers such as Buisson-Charles were in the vines today. Plenty of the CdB reds have also been picked but we are many days away from the end to those – much of the grapes higher up on the hillsides are still waiting for their day.

In other places, like the Côte de Nuits – and who could forget Chablis – it is gaining momentum.

Many of the Côte d’Or’s remaining reds are showing plenty of shrivelled grapes – but we can say that it’s next level in the Côte de Nuits. It’s more than anything that I’ve ever seen.

Some vineyards look very good with not too much shrivelled fruit, others look very depressing – like parts of the Clos St.Jacques. A close contact – who you may hear from in the next days – tells me there is great fruit in the Côte de Nuits, and a lot of it, but also a troubling amount that is shrivelled. For some of this fruit, the rain that is currently falling in Beaune is clearly too late, for some other vines it will undoubtedly help – though I’ve also heard of some hail today between Marsannay and Dijon, so…

Small notes from underway:

  • The Clos des Lambrays which wasn’t picked on Friday – now is.
  • The attention to detail in La Tâche is so impressive. All of La Tâche is now picked but there is so much fruit under the vines – discarded – they have clearly taken only the best to cuverie!
  • In the village of Vosne’s GCs, it’s mainly La Grand Rue that is waiting to be picked – the grapes looking way better than a lot of RSV…
  • Dark skies and thunder in Nuits around 15h30 – but with hardly a drop of rain. Until later!

More tomorrow…

a little hydration… and a larger rumour…

By billn on September 11, 2023 #degustation

A mixed bag from okay to great – the ‘okay‘ was probably self-inflicted 🙂

2000 Sylvie Spielmann, Riesling Bergheim
Darker yellow colour but with a classic maturing riesling nose – no petrol but lots of complexity. In the mouth, it is almost a youngster but with lots of width to the flavours on the palate. My only critique on this day was that the flavour was a little too dry – I was missing some succulence, which could have been my palate that day but it didn’t stop me taking a third glass 😉 And – hey! – it’s a more than 20-year-old ‘villages’ riesling in great shape!
Rebuy – Maybe

2020 Alain Geoffroy, Chablis 1er Fourchaume
I’d already put this in the freezer for a quick chill when my wife said – ‘no, let’s have the riesling.’ So I forgot about the Chablis! 2 days later – oops – what’s this(?) Of course, I didn’t need a cork-screw but I did need an hour in a warm room before I could pour anything out of the bottle 🙂
I’d clearly done a good job of ‘cold stabilisation‘ as this wine had thrown out a fine white sand of tartrate crystals. But what of the wine itself? Well, unlike my last 2020 1er from here, which was not showing any of the vintage pyrazines – this clearly was. Both on the nose and the palate. The flavours were a bit jumbled – I guess a couple of days in a freezer and having ejected your cork will do that to you!
Not a wine to make any kind of decision on!

2008 David Clark, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Au Pelson
My last bottle of this was opened in Chablis with friends at the start of this year – and it was disappointingly oxidative and ‘old.’ This was singing – broad, well textured, with a depth of flavour and none of acid-induced ‘sleekness’ of many 2008s. This was a great 2008 for the label. A good cork so back on form!
Rebuy – Yes

2021 Pierre Vincent Girardin, Bourgogne Chardonnay Éclat de Calcaire
Drunk in a restaurant. We actually ordered his villages Meursault which has the same cuvée name and only noticed the mistake as the cork came out of the neck – not a problem – we saved some €€€!
Ooh, If I had to nail my colours to the mast, blind, I’d have said a very fine 2021 Chablis 1er Cru! Complex, energetic, sherbet and yellow citrus. I was going to be the driver so only had the single, small, glass – but this wine made a simply great impression. I’m going to have to try (very hard) to visit and taste his 2022s at the end of this year!
Rebuy – Yes

And the rumour?
Well, it’s not really a rumour as far as I can tell. It seems that Jean-Pierre Cournut of the Château de la Maltroye has already made his last wines. This year, I’m told, all his crop is being bought and divided by PYCM and PVG – it was the above wine that reminded me 😉 It’s almost certain that Monsieur Cournut won’t be returning to his vats next year and nobody seems to think that another generation of the family have any interest in the vines – so – watch this space. For the moment I assume the acquisition of the grapes by PYCM and PVG to be opportunistic, rather than with long-term aspirations – but let’s see!

There are more ‘rumours’ too – maybe I’ll trickle them out. One that I previously introduced you to seems now to be a done deal – the sale of Domaine Monthelie Douhairet Porcheret to the (relatively new) team of Château de la Commaraine…

2023 Burgundy harvest – 10 September

By billn on September 10, 2023 #vintage 2023

It’s hot out there!

At the home domaine we are starting as early as possible – but it’s not that early – why? Because a lot of our pickers take the train from Dijon to Beaune, and at the weekend there are no early trains – they can’t be in Beaune before 7am. So that means that the first grapes are arriving at the domaine for sorting from about 8am.

Our domaine was supposed to start harvesting on Friday but the previous week’s warm weather meant that some vines needed picking a couple of days earlier than planned – but now we’re back to normal.

Those early morning grapes are lovely and cool to the touch – as the morning moves towards lunchtime – they become far from cool to the touch! Because of this, our team of pickers have been calling a halt picking by 2:30pm – when it was, today, already 35°C in the vines – for our American cousins, that’s 95°F.

The whites look fine – there’s not a lot of sorting to do – our domaine have done Savigny 1er Hautes Jarrons, Corton-Charlemagne, Chorey Blanc and Pernand 1er Cru Sous Frétille. We are certainly back to a more classic – whites ready before the reds – vintage. So far I’ve only seen the red Corton-Renardes – always ready early given it’s exposure to the sun. It’s the reds that seem more complicated. Lots of them (the grapes) are starting to shrivel – more-so in the Côte de Nuits – but not just. Yet, a lot of them are not yet quite ripe, so…(?) Actually, better said, the ripeness is variable. There is a little rot, but not much – it gives the impression that it was starting to grow until the weather became hot and dry – which, largely, stopped the spread.

An interesting side-note: We have a decent amount of pinot gris co-planted in our parcel of Corton-Charlemagne. Usually, I don’t see a lot of interest in these grapes – I see them only as ‘fillers’ – but this year the gris has a lovely perfume in the mouth. Lert’s see!

There are rains forecast from Tuesday pm – and a modest cooling of the temperature – for 2 days. Maybe that will be enough to kick any recalcitrant grape clusters into shape – those that won’t already have been harvested!

I’ve seen worse, but we are collecting quite a few ladybugs/birds over our triage table…

PS: It would be remiss of me not to tell you that the Chablisiennes are now starting to pick their grapes too!

Burgundy Report

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