Sep 21, 2012
Burgundy harvest 2012 blog 1, September 21
Gevrey-Chambertin is the northernmost village in Cote d Or which has Grand Cru vineyards, and her wines are widely considered as more masculin, powerful yet elegant compared to most wines in Burgundy. While Chambolle-Musigny might be the queen, Gevrey could be the king.
In Gevrey-Chambertin, harvest started on September 20th in perfect conditions and early reports from the vintage are promising. The few weeks leading to the third week of September were favoutable for grape ripening and Grand Crus are picked at optimum ripeness. Further, this vintage is characterised by lower yields however with higher grape quality. Last year Grand Crus were harvested the last howeverr this year it is first Granc Cru then the other appellations. In 2011 we had to leave Grand Crus in the vines last as their grapes were allowed time to fully ripen. This year ripening is not an issue.
In the morning of September 21st, the sun shined from a clear sky as we harvested Grand Crus of Clos de Vougeot and Bonnes Mares. Musigny was harvested already on September 20th. Grapes in Clos de Vougeot were, like in 2011, very healthy indeed and so easy to pick up, almost none selection of grapes had to be done in the vineyard. You are able to taste a round silkyness from the grapes themselves, it is very exciting to see what the actual wind will be like when released. Domaine Drouhin-Laroze owns 36 rows in the higher part of the Clos de Vougeot grand cru vineyard which is regarded as more prestigious than the lower part of the vineyard.
After finishing Clos de Vougeot, we headed to Bonnes Mares, the legendary grand cru vineyard which lies on both sides of the border of villages Chambolle-Musigny and Morey St. Denis. The lower part of Bonnes Mares, representing majority of the vineyard, has significantly smaller size of grspe bunch than usual in Burgundy vineyards, also offering a striking difference to average bunch size in Clos de Vougeot. The upper part of the vineyard includes unhealthy grapes and nearly half of grapes are cut down to preserve quality.
The above phenomenon implies a meaningful commercial view point to making wine. When grapes are healthy, it is kids' play to perform the harvest. However when grapes are not in perfect condition, it takes considerably more time to do meticulous selection of only good grapes in the vineyard, thus taking more time, labour hours and more qualified grape pickers than on a good year, costing more money. So not only you are able to charge a premium.price from wines of a good vintage, your labour costs are likely to be lower too.
Time to get a good rest before tomorrows challenges. Rain surprised us during the last half an hour of harvest today, and it has been raining the whole evening so tomorrow will be very wet conditions on the vineyard.
Peace and out
From Burgundy with love,