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2022 - A generous, consistent, and charming Burgundian vintage
2022 harvest brings joy to many in Burgundy as it is both generous and of high quality.
This is a welcome change after three deficit vintages due to climatic uncertainties.
The meteorological year was varied with significant temperature and precipitation fluctuations. Disease pressures, such as mildew and oidium, were kept under control.
2022 is the warmest year recorded since the beginning of the 20th century, and it is also the driest and sunniest. Vinification and wine aging occurred under favourable conditions, preserving the typicality of our terroirs.
2022 is an expressive vintage aromatically, making it immediately charming. However, it also has substantial structure, allowing it to improve for many years.
Climatic conditions of the 2022 vintage
Rainfall and average temperatures in autumn-winter were close to normal, with some disparities between geographical areas. February was one of the warmest recorded, and March had a rainfall deficit.
Early April remained dry. With temperatures higher than average, the first green tips appeared on April 20, in the earliest sectors, three unfolded leaves were observed, with significant heterogeneity across the different sectors of the Côte.
Note that on April 3, 4, and 9, there were frost episodes due to a Scandinavian cold air origin, affecting some plots without causing too much damage. By the end of April, lack of water was the main concern in many Côte villages, reminiscent of the conditions in 2020.
Temperatures then continued their ascent beyond seasonal norms. The following months were consistently warm, with average temperature deviations ranging between +1 and +2.5 °C compared to averages. May stood out as the hottest month in the last fifty years. A storm with hail in the first days of the month affected the northern part of Côte d'Or. The vine grew rapidly, and the heterogeneity observed earlier in the year disappeared.
Flowering took place in the second half of May. In Chablis, mid-flowering was noted at the end of the month, in Côte d'Or on May 24, in Côte Chalonnaise on May 27 and 24, and in the Mâconnais area on May 24.
2022 ranks among the earliest vintages since 2007/2011/2020.
The weather changed in June with significant rainfall, especially in the Côte d'Or. The precipitation accumulation in Chablis was about 109mm, and 150mm in Beaune. Almost half of the precipitation fell between June 21 and 25, sometimes with thunderstorms and even some hail. The rain boosted the vine's growth, and at this stage, vigilant against both oidium and mildew it was necessary to be.
From a low risk in early June, the threat increased at the end of the month.
In July, with the soil's available water reserves and the heat, vines continued their development, and the first “veraison berries” were observed in early ripening sectors. However, some blocking phenomena were noted in some plots, more in Chardonnays than in Pinot Noirs.
August was marked by episodes of heat, with four peaks noted during the month, mainly from August 8 to 13, and on the 24th and 25th. Precipitation was below average. Veraison evolved very quickly, and it was completed around mid-August in the Côte. Mildew pressures noticed earlier in the summer became anecdotal due to the hot and dry conditions. The same happened to oidium, whose development was stopped in the second half of August.
On the eve of harvest, the sugar content and total acidity of Chardonnays in the Yonne area are similar to 2020 and 2005 vintages. In Côte d'Or, for Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, 2022 resembles 2009.
From early June, monitoring all our plots provided a good overview of quality, quantity, and the evolution of ripening to determine harvest dates.
Harvest and Vinification
Harvesting began under favourable conditions in Côte de Beaune on August 22, in Mâconnais on August 26, shortly followed by the vineyards of Côte de Nuits on August 27. At the Domaine Drouhin Vaudon in Chablis, we started on August 31.
Vinification conditions were favourable, with a satisfactory juice yield despite the particularly dry conditions of the year.
For red wines, a healthy harvest and ripe stems encouraged us to favour vinification involving whole bunches. The stems added a complexity of aromas that was particularly interesting. Vinification fluctuated from 13 to 24 days, depending on the vats, with a predominance of gentle punch-downs and pump-overs. In accordance with our usual practice, we separated the end-of-press juices. Aging continued in barrels on lees to preserve the freshness of the wines.
Regarding white wines, we were pleasantly surprised by the balance of the musts. We prioritize working on lees to preserve this freshness. Overall, the whites stand out for their energy, a surprising characteristic for a warm year.
The 2022 vintage follows in the footsteps of great Burgundian vintages. The wines captivate with their immediate charm and aromatic expression in their youth while promising excellent aging potential, especially for the great red wines. Wine enthusiasts should appreciate the combination of immediate charm and the ability to evolve favourably over time.Another characteristic of this vintage is the terroirs' ability to reveal and maintain all their typicity. There is no sensation of over-ripeness. 2022 is truly a beautiful vintage, consistent from Mâcon to Chablis.
Maturity is evident, with wines that are particularly aromatic and complex. Citrus and ripe fruit aromas mingle with delicate floral fragrances. The palate, tender and full, is supported by well-present structure. With pleasant roundness and a delightful finish, the wines of this vintage are balanced and show very good aging potential.
The 2022 reds impress with their bright and sustained colour. The noses, of great complexity, blend aromas of blackberry, blueberry, and blackcurrant with floral scents of peony and violet. On the palate, spices highlight silky tannins of high quality. Ample, full-bodied, and with beautiful freshness, these wines are an archetype of balance between aromas and structure, with a very real aging potential.
Frédéric Drouhin - January 24, 2024
2021 - Seductive and unique...
The autumn/winter was relatively mild, with temperatures slightly above normal. The cumulative rainfall from October 2020 until the end of February 2021 was comparatively rather excessive by nearly 100 millimeters. It was quite similar to that of the previous year. These rains were welcome in order to replenish the water tables.
The month of March was contrasted with a cool first ten days and then significant warming and almost summery temperatures for a week until the first days of April. Sunshine was above normal in all regions of Burgundy; Chablis, Côte d'Or, and Saône-et-Loire. Nearly 200 hours of sunshine were recorded in the Côte d'Or for an average of 150 hours usually. Rainfall was close to normal with 52 millimetres. The vines then began their vegetative growth.
A large-scale frost covered all of Burgundy on the night of April the 5th; in a few hours the temperatures dropped to minus 7°C. The buds emerging from their cocoon, and the first spread leaves of the Chardonnays were then exposed and, despite the protections put in place in certain plots of the whites, the frost decimated up to 100% of the harvest potential. The Pinot Noir was less affected by the frosts. This stress blocked the vines for about ten days and it is only at the end of the month that the vegetative cycle resumed.
In the first days of May, the difference between the frozen and unfrozen vines was quite obvious. The former went from the stage of green tips to 3 spread leaves, while the latter exceeded 5 unfurled leaves. It rained hard. No disease was seen at this stage.
In June, hot and dry weather returned. It then allowed a very fast flowering, with really ideal conditions for pollination. The mid-flowering stage was reached on June the 13th for the Chardonnays and June the 18th for the Pinots in the Côte de Nuits.
We mirrored the dates of 2019.
The vines grew very quickly, and it was sometimes difficult to contain them and to carry out the green harvest. All our teams were mobilised and it was only in July that everything was in order.
The sunshine in July was below normal and a few stormy episodes were reported locally. In mid-July, the latest ripening vines were still showing pea-sized berries while the earliest ones were at the stage of bunch closure.
The month of August was not very bright and was lacking in rain. The mid-véraison stage was reached around August the 16th, but there was some heterogeneity in the vineyard.
The first half of September was beautiful and bright and even almost summery. The second half of September was more autumnal with the return of the rains.
2021 was a year that required great vigilance for the management of mildew and powdery mildew. Unsurprisingly, the volumes produced were impacted by the spring frost which mainly affected the Chardonnays and the vines situated on slopes, with losses of 50% to 100%. The Pinot Noirs, which ripen later, did better. Overall, Burgundy produced less than one million hectolitres, whereas in a normal year we produce 1.5 million, and in 2018 1.8 million.
The start of the harvest at the Domaine was launched in the Côte de Beaune on the 17th of September in Chorey-lès-Beaune then on the 19th of September in Puligny-Montrachet. On the 20th of September, the harvest began in the Mâconnais and at Domaine Drouhin Vaudon in Chablis with our Grand Cru ‘Les Clos.' Finally, in the Côte de Nuits, the harvest began on the 22nd of September.
The 2021 vintage presents a rather classic maturity index with correct sugar content and a nice acid balance. In this context, monitoring the maturity and health of each plot was essential and reinforced. Precise and recurring coordination of these controls made it possible to harvest our plots at aromatic maturity and to seek the maximum phenolic maturity.
In the cellar, actions of preferential sorting and selection during the harvest were essential. Thanks to the involvement of the teams around these qualitative issues, we were able to make the most of the harvest received (meticulous sorting, selection for pressing, settling, etc.). The vinification and ageing of the 2021s have been carried out to accompany and best reveal this 2021 vintage.
The low yields of 2021 make this vintage unique compared to those we have known previously.
The wines are in a very classic and Burgundian style. They are harmonious, very elegant with a beautiful aromatic precision but also lower alcohol levels than in previous warmer vintages.
The red Premiers Crus of the Côte d'Or are particularly attractive, the Chablis are well-typed and with a refreshing salty touch.
October 11th, 2022
2020 - Early ... but without haste
The winter of 2019/20 was rather wet with regular but often light rains.
Temperatures remained mild, on average 1.3° higher than normal. There was only a week of freezing temperatures day and night.
Spring started early, with dry and windy weather. The vineyard resumed activity at the end of February and in mid-March we noticed the swelling of the buds on both the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits.
Some plots had to be put into frost protection on the nights of March 25th to 27th in the Côte de Beaune but there was no damage.
Once again, between April 1st and 4th, temperatures below zero meant that we had to be very vigilant, but the context of dry air and soil limited the damage from frost.
The rainy episodes remained limited between mid-March and mid-April, but the vines didn't suffer because the winter reserves were sufficient. In Chablis, the months of March and April were mild and dry and there too the green tips appeared on March 24th, i.e., 15 days in advance.
After this short period of cool temperatures, they climbed beyond 25°C and very quickly the vines exploded into vegetation with 4 to 5 leaves unfurled. In mid-April there were 3 to 4 per plant in the Côte de Beaune. This is very early.
At the end of April there were 9 leaves unfurled, for the most advanced vines, and 5 for the later ripening areas.
In Chablis we observed the same scenario; in the middle of the month there were 2 to 3 leaves unfurled and then very quickly 8 to 9 in the last fortnight.
May turned out to be hot and humid. The provision of rain was beneficial. In mid-May flowering was visible. It unfolded very quickly since before the end of the month it was finished on the white wines of the Côte d´Or and a few days later on the Pinots Noirs and in Chablis.
At this stage it should be noted that disease pressures were extremely low, with no downy mildew and very little powdery mildew.
An episode of hail on the 3rd of June, with rain, affected the Puligny and Meursault vineyards as well as on the 8th of June in the Chambolle and Gevrey Chambertin sectors, but the damage remained limited overall. In Chablis, it hailed in the southern sector but without too much damage.
The first half of June brought rainy passages, sometimes strong, in the south of the Côte de Beaune. Temperatures were normal with 18°C on average.
By mid-June the berries were already 1 to 2 millimetres in size.
The sunshine for the month of July was much higher than normal, with more than 320 hours compared to a normal of 150 hours. Average temperatures were approaching 22°C, one degree higher than normal. There was even a temperature peak on July 19th.
The beginning of veraison was noticed on the first days of the month but there was a certain heterogeneity in the vineyard and the progress through the stages was not always the same. In Chablis, we noticed the change in colour of the Chardonnay berries from mid-July.
At the end of the month nearly ¾ of the berries had finished veraison in the early sectors of the Côte d´Or. The health status was still very satisfactory; however, the estimated harvest potential showed that the harvest yields would be low.
August turned out to be hot and dry with average temperatures still higher than the norm. 23°C for a standard of 19.9°. The vines suffered from these climatic conditions and the grapes hardly grew any bigger but gained in phenolic and sugar maturity.
During the first fortnight, our visits to the vineyard accelerated to taste the berries and determine the harvest dates.
They started in the Mâconnais on August 12th, August 20th in the Côte d´Or and August 31st in Chablis.
The vinification itineraries chosen for this vintage were:
- For Chablis: tanks after selection of the pressings / ageing on fine vinification lees.
- For the white wines of the Côte de Beaune: the grapes were pressed as whole harvest with an end-of-press selection, the wines were then aged on their lees. They stayed that way until the end of the year.
- For the red wines from Côte de Beaune / Côte de Nuits: punch downs were limited. The wines also continued their ageing on fine lees. It should be noted that the malolactic fermentations were rather long; a factor of quality.
- For the Mâconnais: vinification and ageing in tanks and 500-litre barrels depending on the origins of the grapes.
- For the Beaujolais: very gentle vinification because there was no point in looking for extraction.
Although this was a very early vintage, it is curiously also a vintage that takes its time for ageing. Bottling will most certainly be done later than average in order to allow the wines to gain in amplitude and complexity.
Precocious in growing, without haste in ageing.
September 3rd 2021
2019, in line with the vintages ending in 9
Autumn-winter 2018/2019 was marked by mildness with average temperatures 2.5°C higher than usual. It was probably one of the mildest winters in the past 25 years as there were few periods of frost.
The month of December was rather wet and compensated for the summer 2018 rainfall deficit.
With this mildness, we saw the first signs of resumption of activity in the vineyard in the second half of February. The nights, however, remained cool.
At the end of March, we observed the buds swelling on almost all the plots of the Côte.
The clement temperatures continued during the first days of April, before a return of the cold which slowed down the vegetative development. In mid-April, the stages varied from green tips in the later ripening areas to spreading leaves in the earliest plots. The month of April remained rainy, above average, however with strong heterogeneities depending on the sectors of the Côte. A frosty episode took place on the 5th of April in the Côte de Beaune sector and then also on the 14th of April, without too many consequences because the weather was dry.
The month of May began with cool nights, and it was only in the 2nd part of the month that the vines grew. At the end of the month, we were around the stage of ten unfurled leaves on the Côte.
With the heatwave in June, the vines grew actively and the first flowers appeared on the 10th of June in the Chardonnay and in about ten days the whole of the Côte was in flower.
The month of July was also hot with greater than normal sunshine. Fortunately, it rained 20% more than compared to a typical month of July but with very localised and heterogeneous precipitation. The berries grew larger. There were also phenomena of berry shot in many plots. The heat affected the vines and certain phenomena of drought appeared. A hailstorm affected the areas of Savigny-les-Beaune without too much damage, then again in the Corton on the 14th of July.
August turned out hot and windy and increased hydric stress. Veraison began on the first days of the month and ended around the 25th. At the end of August, with no mildew; the vines were very healthy; however, we had to be vigilant about powdery mildew throughout the season, but the summery conditions of the month slowed down its development. The sanitary condition was very satisfactory and without rot. This was probably one of the years with the lowest pressure from botrytis. By the end of the month, all the plots had completed veraison. This was around the same date as in 2010.
With the fine weather in the first days of September, ripening progressed at a good pace. On the eve of the harvest, a hot wind accelerated the ripening of the grapes and here and there caused signs of wilting of the grapes. However, the balance of the berries remained good in terms of sugar and acidity.
The harvest began on the 7th of September in the Mâconnais, the 10th of September in the Côte d'Or and the 11th of September in Chablis. Yields were down compared to the five-year average, around -20% in Chablis, for the Côte d'Or from -20% to -30%, for Côte de Nuits reds - 10% and for Côte de Beaune reds -15% to -20%.
For the reds: the harvest being particularly healthy and the stems ripe, we favoured whole cluster vinification. We consider the stalk an important element because it brings a very interesting aromatic complexity. The vinifications lasted 18 to 24 days depending on the vats with gentle punching down and pumping over. As we usually do; we separated the end of the pressings. The ageing continued in barrels on lees with little racking. Some of the wines are now racked and others, such as the grands crus, will continue to mature for a few months.
For the whites: we were surprised by the balance of the musts with normal acidity and relatively low pH. We favoured working on lees and stirring at the start of the fermentation. Overall, the whites are very dynamic for this year, considered hot.
The 2019 vintage is in line with the vintages ending in 9; a very nice vintage, which should appeal to amateurs with the fullness and aromatic expression that the wines are offering in their youth, but also with the ageing potential especially for great red wines.
October 12th 2020
2018 - Rejoicing
The autumn winter 2017/2018 was wet and rainy in Burgundy after a very dry summer of 2017. It rained almost every other day with a cumulative rainfall above normal. The soil was in great need of it and the water tablets were thus able to be reconstituted.
The rain had, of course, generated a lack of sunshine without any consequences. The end of March was cold with little luminosity and the vines slowly resumed their activity. At the end of the month the buds were barely inflated for Chardonnay and still closed for the Pinot Noir.
In mid-April the weather changed and the rains become more rare. The weather became milder and the vineyard resumed its activity. During the 2nd half of the month due to higher temperatures and moist soils the growth of the vines was almost explosive and in a week we went from budbreak to almost 5 to 6 unfurled leaves. It rained considerably in Côte de Beaune but also in Côte de Nuits.
At the beginning of May we experienced a very limited frost episode, really inconsequential, and nothing to do with the 2016 or 2017 vintage.
The cocktail of rain plus heat caused difficult conditions in terms of mildew. Vigilance was essential throughout the vineyard.
The first flowers were observed on the 19th of May for Chardonnay and at the end of the month flowering was already well underway throughout the vineyards.
We also noted an extreme homogeneity between the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.
It hailed a little on the sector of Puligny and Chassagne on the 8th of May, without real consequences.
In mid-June the berries reached the sized of small peas. Growth continued at a good pace.
In almost 3 weeks we moved from the end of flowering to the complete closure of the bunches.
Summer settled; dry, bright and windy with 150 more sunshine hours than normal.
Temperatures followed this trend with degrees higher by almost 2 ° C than normal. There was no impact on the vineyard which fortunately had spring water reserves. Under these conditions the first berries were observed in mid-July. We noticed now, after the initial homogeneity of the vineyards, an heterogeneity between the sectors having more rain than others. August was going to be very dry.
Some plots began to struggle with their veraison, others were more advanced. On average we were on the same level of precocity as 2015. The first estimates of harvest dates envisaged a beginning of harvest in the last days of August. The vineyard was healthy, there was no mildew present. There was no rot. The berries had good colour, the skins were thick, the berries had taste. The harvest could therefore begin in excellent conditions. The harvest was homogeneous; rather abundant throughout the region. It had been many years since we had not found a normal agronomic yield.
Harvesting on the estate started on the 29th of August in Côte de Beaune with the Corton Charlemagne and on the 5th of September in the Côte de Nuits with Grands Crus.
Many vineyards had been perturbed by the deficit in water of the summer season. The rains of early September associated with the return of light morning dews unblocked the situation and accelerated the cutting. As of the 6th of September, almost all the grapes from the Côte de Beaune were picked.
In Chablis, the situation was the same with a slight shift. A cooling of the nights and morning dews brought a little freshness to revive the ripening of the grapes. In general, the sanitary condition in the vineyard was remarkable. As a result, the musts of the whites had pretty lees. The degree of natural sugar was important. The acid balance was satisfactory, although with the heat of August a significant part of the malic acid had been burned by the plant. The heavy rains of spring and early summer generated a good concentration of tartaric acid.
Vinification of the whites: the alcoholic fermentations were very slow. We left the yeasts to do their work. The ageing continued harmoniously, with the malolactic fermentations also being slow, and in some appellations continuing until the first days of summer 2019.
The maturity of the year is carried by a subtle freshness that gives length and dynamism in the mouth. We vinified our wines on good lees. During ageing, they should maintain their freshness and aromatic complexity.
Style of the wines: the wines have a very pretty aromatic expression of floral notes and ripe fruit. They have a very nice balance, rather structured, a little in the style of the 2015's in their prime youth. The ageing in oak, for the prestigious appellations is well integrated.
Vinification of the reds: such a nice harvest provided us great pleasure in the vinification of these beautiful grapes. We favoured a proportion of whole harvest, the stalks and berries being perfectly ripe and healthy. The colour was released naturally, the tannic structure present and ripe; it was necessary to seek elegance and balance. It's a vintage where pumping over was preferred to punch downs, so as to not over extract the dry or tannic elements. They lasted from 12 to 21 days.
Style of the wines: the reds are colourful, structured with a nice grain of tannin, good body and very expressive aromatically. The balance between alcohol / acidity is satisfactory. As for the whites, the oak ageing is well integrated. The wines are fairly homogeneous from both the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits and, for the Grand Crus, could have a very good ageing potential.
September 9h 2019
2017 - Burgundy finds its colours once more!
The winter of 2016/2017 was rather cool, dry and sunny with a deficit of rain. The month of December had been cold, without any real rainy or snowy episodes.
The rainy precipitation had been very variable from one sector to another of Burgundy in February and March.
From March 20th swelling of the buds became widespread. The bud break was fast and early, thanks to particularly mild temperatures. In April some temperatures even exceeded 25°C, which accelerated the growth rate of the vines. These temperatures continued until April 15th, at which point already 3 to 4 leaves had unfurled. The weather changed completely in the 2nd half of the month with negative temperatures that affected in particular the Chablis vineyards, with strong frosts on April 18th and 19th. The Côte d'Or was not affected due to a system of collective protection set up to protect against negative temperatures on the nights of April 27th and 29th.
At the beginning of May in the Côte d'Or, 5 to 6 leaves were unfurled. The growth of the vines was then very active and May 2Oth, one could already count up to 10 unfurled leaves. Flowering began during the last days of May and ended almost a week later. A very small hailstorm hit the vineyards in the Northern slopes on May 19th, with no real consequences on the harvest or the vines. The heat and moisture of the month continued to favour the growth of the vines and as of June 20th, the earliest vines reached the stage of closure of the bunches. At this point things were looking very similar to the 2009 vintage.
At the beginning of July rain brought some much needed water to unblock some vines which were presenting hydric stress. In mid-July we could already spot some semi-ripe berries. On July 10th, the Mâconnais was hit by an episode of hail. In mid-August the veraison was almost finished in the Côte d'Or, and the temperatures became more lenient. The harvest started in the Côte d'Or around August 30th, in Chablis on September 5th and on August 28th in Beaujolais and Mâconnais.
Harvest volumes: after a few challenging years, the volumes produced in Burgundy have returned to a normal level except in Chablis because of the frost.
The sanitary condition remained satisfactory throughout the growing year with an extremely low pressure of mildew and powdery mildew.
Reds: as every year we sorted the grapes at once to select the most beautiful bunches that were to be kept in whole clusters and to remove berries that could present a lack of maturity. The sanitary state was very satisfactory with almost no rot.
Very quickly at the beginning of the fermentations the colours were released and gradually the varietal character of Pinot Noir was expressed. We favoured this aromatic expression to look for balanced wines without too much power. The tannins are nicely melted, the acidity levels from normal to low. The fermentations and macerations lasted about 3 weeks.
In the course of the winter, the malolactic fermentations were triggered and proceeded sometimes rather quickly.
The Côte de Beaune, in particular the Clos des Mouches, has very nice wines with a good concentration.
Whites: the wines from the Côte d'Or had excellent levels of maturity, good sugar/acid balance and a satisfactory health status. The potential degrees were normal to high. We took advantage of the excellent state of the grapes to use indigenous yeasts during alcoholic fermentations. They lasted about 3 weeks during which we practiced light "batonnage” (lees stirring). The oak ageing is very soft, the lees are of good quality and the ageing will continue in good conditions.
Chablis: very small harvest but very nice grapes with excellent maturity, higher degrees of alcohol and levels of acidity than normal; it promises excellent wines.
Mâconnais: quite different from Chablis with lower acidity levels and normal ripeness. The aromatic expressions are gradually revealed and promise rather full wines.
March 14th 2018
2016 - A happy ending!
The 2016 growing year had been particularly testing, but the last months before the harvest made the vintage.
he winter of 2015/2016 was rather mild and humid and budburst occurred in the first days of April; the first green tips were seen on the 11th of April in the majority of the vineyards. This precocity was quite similar to the 2015 vintage.
On the 13th of April, a large hailstorm hit the Mâconnais and Beaujolais areas, about 1,500 hectares in the sector of St-Véran, Pouilly-Fuissé, Moulin-à-Vent, St-Amour and Fleurie.
On the night of the 26th of April, freezing conditions enveloped Burgundy and the temperatures become negative in a few hours passing from + 2 ° C to - 6 ° C. The damage was considerable in Chablis, in the north of the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais. The vines then sprouted a second generation of grapes.
In the course of the month it also rained a great deal, twice more than normal and the vegetative development slowed down. At the end of the month there were 2 or 3 unfurled leaves. These cool, humid conditions favoured the development of downy mildew. The winemakers had to be very diligent with their plots.
The month of May looked a little like April; cold and rainy, 105 mm in Mâcon and 132 mm in Rully, with cool temperatures about 2 degrees below normal. The Ascension weekend, from the 5th to the 8th May, brought warm and beautiful weather. It unfortunately hailed on the 13th of May in Chablis and about 500 hectares were affected. Our estate, located in the heart of the appellation, was not impacted but it had already been damaged by the night frost.
At the end of the month the vegetative stage was similar to that of 2013. The first flowers were to be seen on the 14th of June in the earliest plots.
The beginning of the month of June was cool and the 2nd fortnight brought beautiful and warm weather. Full flowering took place around the 20th of June. Hail returned again to the Beaujolais on the night of 24th of June with significant damage to Romanèche-Thorins.
At the beginning of July the vineyard was not a very pretty sight. We estimated the harvest for early October and waited impatiently for the summer which finally installed itself with remarkable weather: bright, warm with this time a deficit rainfall. The closing of the clusters took place around the 20th of July and the veraison was visible in early August. The vines had caught up. The pressure from diseases diminished and we regained confidence.
September was beautiful, with little rain. The harvest began on September the 23rd in the Côte d'Or and on September the 28th in Chablis.
The situation is very different from one appellation, and even from one plot to another, but in general the yields are low because of the episodes of hail or frost. The harvest was, however, rather healthy.
Vinifications : it was necessary to juggle between the sizes of tanks available and the volume of the harvested crop. With sometimes very low yields, the vinification process resembled micro-vinification.
Sorting was necessary to separate the grapes harvested from the 1st generation and the 2nd, following the episode of frost.
Favouring a vintage on the fresh and fruity side, the grapes of almost all of the appellations have been de-stemmed.
The alcoholic fermentations took place for between 19 to 23 days. We preferred punch-downs to pump-overs. For the white wines the fermentations took place during around 3 weeks. A large part of the whites started their malolactic fermentations before the arrival of the cold weather. These winter temperatures favoured the beginning of the malolactic fermentations of the red wines in the spring.
The first tastings rejoiced us and reinforced the idea that we had a "classic" Burgundy vintage, with a fine tannic structure and a very pretty freshness.
The wines are precise and rather balanced, in white as in red.
Despite the climatic difficulties, 2016 has surprised us all.
16th October 2017
2015 vintage: hot and dry!
Autumn 2014/2015 was marked by mild weather and a surplus of rain, mostly in October and November.
Winter only started to make itself felt in January, but the freezing temperatures lasted only a few days in February. One can compare this Autumn and Winter to that of 2013 and 2014.
March was fairly cool, but already marked by a deficiency in rainfall of about 9%.
In mid-April we see the first green leaf tips in the Côte, and fairly warm temperatures accelerate the growth of the vines so that the stage of 3 to 4 unfurled leaves is reached at the end of the month.
The continuing mild temperatures permitted the rapid growth of the vines between the 5th and the 10th of May, allowing us to reach the stage of 7-8 leaves unfurled.
Because of this rapid growth, caterpillars hardly had time to do damage and were not a problem as was the case in 2014.
We had be vigilant during this time with fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, but at the end of May the situation was very healthy in the Côte de Beaune as in the Côte de Nuits.
The flowering took place in June over the space of a few days thanks to the ideal sunny and bright weather.
This is one of the most precocious years as 2007 and 2003.
A rainy period between March 10 and June 15 brought some much needed moisture.
The month of July was marked by strong sunshine and high temperatures that seemed to block the "veraison” a little, however it was noticeable from the beginning of July. It's worth noting that the average temperature was 25°C for the month with a peak of over 35°C.
The rains of early August unblocked the situation, bringing some freshness and rapid ripening. The month enjoyed mid-level temperatures and by mid-August "veraison” of 90% is reached in the Côte.
The temperatures of the summer months accelerated the ripening of the grapes, the tannins, and the thickening of the skin of grapes.
In September Burgundy came back to seasonal temperatures and the weather was fortunately a little cooler. The harvest started on the 2nd of September in hot, sunny conditions. The characteristic of the vintage is that the grapes are extremely healthy without rot, botrytis or fungal disease. Sorting was hardly necessary.
The yields are satisfactory in Chablis and the Mâconnais, low to correct in the Côte d'Or Chardonnay, low to very low in the Côte d'Or Pinot Noir.
Vinification was obviously adapted to the characteristics of the vintage; the grapes naturally possessed good potential for colour, nice tannins and a good degree of alcohol. It was necessary to adopt gentle winemaking methods to preserve the elegance and freshness. A feature of this vintage is that the malic acid levels are rather low. In general vinification lasted from 15 days to 3 weeks.
The style of the wine for the 2015 vintage:
The Reds: the colours are very pretty, often very intense, especially in the Côte de Nuits.
The bouquet is also intense with notes of ripe red fruits.
Overall the wines show a nice tannic structure.
This vintage offers richness and density.
The Côte de Nuits is very homogeneous, Côte de Beaune a little less; especially in the southern villages.
The whites: on the whole, there is great consistency in the character of the wines followed by a deep aromatic richness in the register of ripe fruits.
In the mouth they have character and are sometimes unctuous without being heavy. They respect the typicity of their geographical origin.
The whites from Mâconnais are bottled as well as some from Chablis.
Notes of white peaches and orchard blossom are supported by an interesting mineral framework.
In conclusion: 2015 is among the best vintages of Burgundy. The wines will be good to drink from now, and the reds have an impressive potential for keeping, in the line of 2005 and 1990.
August 30th 2016
2014 - A surprising vintage
2014 started with a bang and very quickly the weather changed from winter to almost summery conditions.
The very clement temperatures at the beginning of March were favourable to the growth starting in all of the Burgundy wine areas.The buds started opening at the beginning of April and we could even begin to see some green tips. At this stage 2014 was amongst the most precocious vintages. Very quickly by mid-April we could see the first leaves unfolding and then at the beginning of May we could see a dozen leaves unfolded in the fastest ripening areas. At this stage we were around 2 weeks ahead compared to a normal year. The small quantity of rainfall that occurred actually boosted the vegetation but did not bring the development of disease. At the beginning of the growing season in 2014, the risk of mildew was particularly small.
At the beginning of June flowers were showing in many parcels and the unusually high temperatures accelerated this flowering, but also stressed the vines causing many young berries to be dropped because of overheating. By mid-June the flowering had finished in many areas. Flowering continued in Chablis, the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune and Hautes-Côtes de Nuits.
On the 28th of June, a hail-storm hit the Côte de Beaune area, in particular Beaune, Pommard, Volnay and Meursault, touching several hundred hectares of vines with several areas being severely damaged. The vines had been so beautiful....
The north of the Maconnais was also hit, but the damage was less. On the 4th of July, a new hailstorm in the Maconnais touched the area of Pouilly and Solutré.
The months of July and August were surprisingly cool and humid, which only slightly delayed the development of the vines. In mid-July we noticed the grape clusters had closed, ending the period of risk from mildew. Rainfall was almost double the normal seasonal average, with cool temperatures.
We had to thin out the leaves again. The overall sanitary condition was still satisfactory, in spite of the beginning of rot on some of the berries.
September brought marvelous weather; ideal conditions, which made the vintage. Light, warm, northerly winds, warm days, cool nights; all the most favorable conditions needed to bring the grapes to the desired level of maturity.
The yields vary greatly from one vineyard and one parcel to another. For the vines damaged by hail, they rebuilt enough foliage to allow ripening, but the yield is estimated at between 5 and 10% compared to a normal harvest. For the vines which had passed flowering at the moment of the peak of high temperature in June, the bunches were much affected by ‘millerandage' (small berry clusters), and so producing yields 30% below a normal vintage. For the other vines, the quantity is correct. In particular this year the berries have a very thick skin, which is a good sign for quality, but which produce less juice.
Harvesting started on the 12th of September in Côte d'Or lasting 2 weeks. Indeed the excellent weather conditions allowed us to wait, and put back harvesting in certain parcels. Harvesting began in Chablis on the 15th of September and also lasted for more than a couple of weeks.
The first red wines from Côte d'Or have been drawn off, and we find wines that are quite balanced with a nice colour, without being too intense, and with a fine tannic structure.
The white wines are completing their fermentation. The have clean and fruity aromas, with a fairly low alcohol level and an approachable freshness.
2014 therefore announces itself as a very pretty vintage, with yields which are globally in the average of the last ten years, with production being far superior to the 3 preceding, very small vintages.
October 7th 2014
The beginning of the year was characterised by an unusually intense cold spell, the temperatures remaining around 0°C. January and February were rainy and snowy. The rainy weather continued in March and April with rainfall often 60% - 100% above the seasonal averages.
In these conditions the vines were slow to start, and the first tears were observed in the middle of the month of May. There were hardly any sunny days to obtain the first stage of bud break. The month of May also suffered from high rainfall and cool temperatures. These conditions severely hampered the growth of the vines, and at the end of the month we were observing a 15 to 18 day delay compared to a normal year.
At the beginning of June fine weather returned with normal seasonal temperatures thereby allowing a rapid and dynamic growth spurt. In certain areas new leaves were opening every 2 days. The first flowers were quickly observed by mid-June in the most early developing areas. The flowering progressed quickly under very hot temperatures for the season. Cool and humid conditions developed after the 20th of June, hampering the flowering and causing "coulure" (non transformation of flowers to fruit) and millerandage (small berry clusters) in numerous areas. These unfavourable weather conditions were present in both the south of Burgundy and the Chablis area alike. The estimated potential yields were down by 10 to 30%.
July was a hot month with above average periods of sunshine and high temperatures; consequently the vines underwent rapid evolution. The berries were growing and the bunches completely formed around the middle of the month in the Côte. In mid-July we were still observing a 10 day delay in development compared to normal. Sadly, on afternoon of the 23rd of July a hailstorm of severe violence rained down on the Côte de Beaune covering 1400 hectares, particularly in the areas of Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, and Meursault, but also in Pernand, Savigny and Chorey-lès-Beaune.
This is the 2nd consecutive year that these same parcels were hailed. The damage was between 20% and 100% depending on the area. The Clos des Mouches was badly hit in particular. The "veraison" (colouring) started around the 10th of August and progressed slowly despite sufficient sunshine. At the beginning of September the weather changed again with warmer temperatures and light rain in certain areas. The grapes ripened in good conditions.
The grape harvest started on the 30th of September in Côte de Beaune, on the 1st of October in the Côte de Nuits and on the 5th of October in Chablis. The picking lasted for 15 days.
The 2013 growing season was extremely tiring for winemakers. Phytosanitary treatments had to be started very early and continued throughout the whole of the season. The biodynamic treatments in the parcels stimulated the natural resistance of the vines, thereby obtaining a reasonably good crop.
The quantities of wine produced were very low due to the problems in the flowering, and hence the very meticulous sorting that resulted in order to guarantee the quality.
Chablis: crop 10 to 20 % lower than average. The harvest was fairly late. The wines have a very lively aspect, a light and subtle personality with the unique minerality which is typical of the "terroir" of Chablis.
In Côte d'Or the harvest was heterogeneous; the plots damaged by the hailstorms were carefully sorted. The acidity is fairly high, lending great character to the wines. We did not have the rich and opulent style of a hot year, but rather the precise and serious style issuing from a relatively late harvest.
The reds: "Coulure" and "millerandage" resulted in globally minute quantities especially in Côte de Nuits. The Pinot Noir grapes have luminous colours in diverse magnificent shades of red. The aromas are clean and aromatic with good concentration for the Premier and Grand Crus which were cellared to continue their ageing.
The Burgundy and Village appellations are seductive, round and fruity, some already being bottled.
September 8th 2014
2012 - A Great and very rare vintage
The Burgundy winter had only one very cold period with negative temperatures day and night during a fortnight in February. Some damage caused by ice was noticed. Spring arrived very quickly with the month of March being unusually warm. In these conditions the vines developed very quickly but then slowed down again due to cold and rainy conditions in April and May.
Flowering began at the end of May, the temperatures being, once again, warm for the season. The weather then turned unstable with sporadic violent hail storms. Flowering did not take place in the best conditions and we noticed a high percentage of millerandage (small grape clusters). From then on, we knew the expected yields would be small.
The summer months also proved unstable with periods of great sunshine alternating with storms. Certain areas of the Côte de Beaune; Puligny, Meursault and Volnay were particularly hit by hail and up to 80% of the harvest was damaged. The last days of August became summery with temperatures reaching their peak in Burgundy. Although it had rained in southern Burgundy, the Chablis area, in contrast benefited from dry conditions and it was only in mid-September that the rain returned.
At the start of the harvest it was noticed that the bunches were well aerated, due to the millerandage, and well spaced out between them.
The harvest started at the Domaine around the 19th of September in Cote D'Or, and on the 24th of September in Chablis.
The vineyards not affected by hail produced very low yields in Côte de Beaune, and fairly low yields in Côte de Nuits. The vines affected by hail suffered even more.
On a positive note, there was no rot this year. All of the berries, white as well as red, have a thick skin and a high proportion of millerands (small berries with very concentrated juice).
The vinifications went smoothly, extraction of colour and tannins happening quickly, our main task being to ensure the right balance and elegance.
In our hands we have the potential for a very great vintage, but in exceptionally small quantities.
December 17th 2012
2011 - Precise, charming and generous in style
Spring arrived quickly with the first months of the year being mild and precipitations being low. The month of April was very dry with 80% less rainfall than usual. The average monthly temperatures stayed quite high in March, April and May. We almost thought that summer had arrived early in Burgundy.
In these conditions the first tears were observed from mid-March and rapidly afterwards the buds started swelling. At the very beginning of April the first green tips of the buds appeared. At this point the vines were three weeks ahead compared to a normal year. The record temperatures of April stimulated the vines and vegetative growth was accelerated. Flowering began on the 17th of May and was fully in flower around the 22nd. At the end of May we noticed a month's advance on 2010.
As a result of this warm, dry weather the vines remained very healthy, the habitual diseases and small pests being deprived of the appropriate conditions for their development.
The month of June proves normal for the season with, however, elevated temperatures at the end of the month. The first hailstorms damaged the vineyard of Rully on the 7th of June.
The month of July marked a radical change with the meteorological conditions being the total opposite. Burgundy is swept with an important wave of rainfall. Temperatures fall below the seasonal average. These conditions slow down the veraison. The first berries to change color are noticed around the 10th of July and the grapes start to really evolve from the 20th of July. The vineyard still appears exceptionally healthy. Hailstorms reduce the potential yields in the areas of Chassagne, Puligny and Saint-Aubin.
At the beginning of August the stages of veraison are close to 90% depending on the areas. The month is marked by alternate periods of hot and sunny, and cool and rainy weather.
In our domain the harvest starts on the 29th of August, and continues until mid-September. In Chablis the harvest also started at the end of August, to finish on the 13th of September. Depending on fluctuating weather and their differing geographical situations, yields are, finally, very variable with a normal harvest in the Maconnais, low, or very low in the Cote Chalonnaise, low in Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune, and normal in Chablis.
The vinifications in the whites as in the reds progressed quite well, taking 2 to 3 weeks depending on the appellation. It is a vintage where, because of the condition of the red grapes, we were able to keep a small proportion of whole bunches, especially for the finer appellations.
The malolactic fermentation lasted from December to April. Bottling took place reasonably early in order to keep the fruit and the elegance of the wines.
Throughout the tastings that took place during the maturing, we were very enthusiastic about the charming, generous and precise nature of the vintage. It will therefore be well appreciated even when young. It is, once again a vintage that reveals the different nuances of our terroirs and should equally delight wine enthusiasts or connaisseurs of our Burgundy.
October 11th 2012
The 2010 season was affected by extremely variable weather, finally producing a very classic vintage and one of the smallest crops of these last 20 years.
The winter was particularly harsh in Burgundy with very severe frost during the third week of December and temperatures dropping down to -20°C (-4°F) in some parts of the vineyard.
In February rainfall combined with snow hit the whole Burgundy area.
It was a true winter bringing the cold with snow and rain.
Spring moved in for good in March/April together with rising temperatures, even above average. Rainfall was also abundant all over Burgundy.
The first bud bursts occurred around mid-April in the earliest parts and then spread over the whole vineyard.
The coolness of May tended to slow down the growth of the vine.
The differences between the Chablis and Beaujolais vineyards were noticeable.
In June, with temperatures becoming milder and even above average, the vine resumed its growth.
By mid-June the half-flowering stage was reached in the more advantageously exposed areas. These dates were similar to those of 2008.
In general July and August remained rather cool and rainy with low temperatures. One could see flower failure and «millerandage» (small berries) throughout the vineyard, which is a quality factor but considerably reduces the crop volume.
Maturing took place slowly, followed by bright, dry, windy and mild weather in September which ensured good ripening.
The juice of the berries progressively became concentrated.
At Joseph Drouhin's, the harvest started on September 23rd and lasted for a good fortnight..
The whites were vinified without any difficulty. According to the appellations, the malolactic fermentations spread over several months.
Now the wines show an attractive golden and shining colour, with a slightly light green hue.
The aromas are well defined and neat with floral touches. They offer good purity of taste, a clear-cut impression as well as a nice mineral texture.
In Chablis, the wines reveal a good structure with ripe aromas but also a nice acidity level.
The reds were also vinified harmoniously. We managed to keep a good proportion of whole bunches in a great number of cuvées.
The malolactic fermentations were late and as they lasted over a long period, the wines acquired fullness and complexity. They display a neat and bright ruby-red colour.
The wines are elegant, long on the aftertaste and with ample character. 2010 will certainly provide some great wines, in particular in the Côte de Nuits ... the only regret concerns the low yield of the crop.
October 10th 2011
The 2009 Vintage - Taking its place among the greatest...
The winter of 2008/2009 lingered in Burgundy. The temperature started rising only during the first two weeks of March. Spring moved in for good at the beginning of April and the weather at that time became unseasonably warm. The amount of rain was normal.
With such mild conditions prevailing, bud break spread to all the vineyards. In the space of four days, there were green shoots all over Burgundy.The recorded dates of this bud break are in many ways identical to 2005, on the whole 10 days earlier than for 2008. At the end of April, you could count up to four or five leaves fully developed on the vines.
In May, the growth was slowed down by some light rain and cooler temperatures, but by the middle of the month, the weather had turned warmer and sunnier than usual. The vines then grew at a faster pace, with 2 to 4 new leaves unfolding every week.
Flowering occurred on May 21st in the Chardonnay areas as well as on a few Pinot Noir vines.
The dates for mid-flowering were May 28th for Chardonnay in Côte de Beaune, and May 31 st for Pinot Noir in Côte de Nuits. Compared to 2008, these dates are significantly 13 days earlier, similar in fact to what we saw in 2003. The setting of the berries ("nouaison”) began during the first week of June. By the end of the month, all the vines of Côte d'Or had reached the important stage of berry touch (also known as cluster tightening).
June and July were more humid than usual, with rainfall at times heavy but of short duration. As a result, the growth of the vine was slowed down and "véraison” (turning colour) got under way only at the end of July. The summer, both hot and sunny, came in early August, providing ideal conditions for maturation which by August 24th was practically all done. The grapes were ripe, healthy and homogeneous, without any trace of rot. Picking began in Côte d'Or on September 7th under excellent conditions. It was over by the 21st. In the Yonne area (Chablis), it went from September 12th to the 26th.
Owing to this sustained period, we were able to pick and choose the best times for harvesting. Coming after 2007 and 2008 which saw lower volumes, 2009 marks a return to the norm.
The vinification of the wines occurred without problem as the grapes were ripe and healthy.
Regarding the reds, the proportion of whole bunches being used was higher than usual, thanks to the excellent condition of the stalks.
The vinification lasted from two to three weeks depending on the appellations.
CHABLIS: this is a classic vintage with a beautiful equilibrium between acidity and mineral qualities.
WHITES OF COTE D'OR: the wines are very aromatic with a lot of style and balance. They already show some mellowness which makes them quite attractive even in their youth.
REDS OF COTE DE BEAUNE: frank, clear ruby red colour; the bouquet is reminiscent of red fruit along with an attractive and ripe mouth.
This is a consequence of an excellent maturity of the berries. They could be enjoyed from now as they are already delicious.
REDS OF COTE DE NUITS: the wines are very generous with ample character.
The tannic structure is quite strong but ripe. The acidity level is fairly low. To be drunk or to be kept, the choice will be difficult as they are already full of charm, but also well-balanced, which is a sign of a good ageing potential.
WHITES FROM MACONNAIS: slightly over-ripe, on honey and acacia notes. Highly seductive. To be drunk now.
BEAUJOLAIS: the wines show an intense, dark, almost black colour. Notes of black fruit and spices. Extremely supple, it is one of the best vintages since 2003.
2009 is showing its breed and will rightfully take its place among those vintages ending in "9” in the last century, as well as 2005, 1978, 1961...
October 20th 2010
2008 - Another Great Vintage
Autumn and winter were rather dry and mild; spring was cool and humid, followed by a summer resembling 2007.
By mid-September, the weather in Burgundy turned extraordinary and allowed harvesting to take place under ideal conditions. Depending on the areas, the overall quantity is lower: 5% to 30% less than in 2007. On the other hand, the quality is high - and in Chablis even exceptional.
CHABLIS: it is an exceptional crop. Picking lasted from September 25th to October 4th. We were few to harvest so early, but low yields meant precocious maturity... the sanitary state, acidity and sugar levels were excellent. The year was difficult but the biological culture proved to be successful.
We are quite confident to say that 2008 is one of the greatest vintages of the past 25 years.
All the wines from the village Chablis to the Grand Crus, depending on their level of appellation, show concentration, richness, freshness, minerality and intense aromas. It could be interesting to lay down these Chablis as their aromatic potential is important. Although very pleasant and seductive when young, you could also keep these Chablis up to 4 or 5 more years, the Premier Crus from 7 to 8 and the Grand Crus to drink from 2011 and the next 12 years.
COTE D'OR: the climatic conditions were rather difficult in August in the whole vineyard. But the improved weather from early September combined with a reduced quantity of grapes accelerated the maturity. Picking started on September 22nd and ended on October 6th. Those are classical dates.
October 22nd 2009
2007 - A year full of contrasts, with a glorious finish
The least one can say is that 2007 was a year when the seasons were turned upside down.
The weather was subject to different moods. Unstable conditions were in fact the recurring theme throughout the year.
The first three months of 2007 were on the whole very mild, with temperatures higher than normal by 2°C (3°F). Rainfall was adequate. April was much warmer than usual, with the average temperature for the month a record-breaking 16°C (60°F), nearly the same level usually seen in June. This was the warmest April since 1922. A humid and mild May was followed by a very stormy June.
July will go down as one of the rainiest months in the last 30 years, while August was also cool and wet.
But September, with sunshine above average, saved the day.
Picking, already expected to be early, started at the very beginning of September under ideal conditions: dry, windy, sunny weather under bright clear skies.
This excellent climatic situation allowed the grapes to ripen quickly and to gain in flavour, while preserving a good acidity level.
At the Joseph Drouhin domaine, the harvest was spread over a period of three weeks. The crop is smaller than in 2006 and is actually one of the smallest in the last 10 years.
The grapes had to be carefully sorted in the vineyards and sometimes even in the cellars.
The vinification occurred without problems.
The wines are very typical of their geographical origin.
On the whole, 2007 is a pleasant vintage: it should probably be consumed after the 2006, but before the 2005.
October 30th 2008
2006 - Charm and Seduction
Like other wine regions in France, Burgundy had to adjust to unsettled weather throughout the year. Due to a long and cold winter, budding started late. During spring and at the beginning of summer, strong heat spells favoured the rapid development of the vine. This growth was slowed down by rain and cool weather in August.
The harvest started at a somewhat normal date for the region: September 18th in Côte de Beaune, but two days earlier in Chablis because of the maturity and concentration of the grapes - an extremely rare occurrence considering the northern location of this region. Picking took place over a two-week period instead of three, as we wanted to bring in grapes that had a good balance between sugar, fruit and acidity. A careful sorting of the grapes was necessary to ensure uniformity of quality before the start of fermentation. Fermentation took place rapidly, no doubt facilitated by the high sugar levels and the indigenous yeasts. During the winter, the wines were able to settle down as they underwent their malolactic fermentation.
October 25th 2007
2005 - A Symphonic Masterpiece
Everything came together to make 2005 an exceptional vintage. The winter of 2004-2005 was rather mild. The growing season was marked by warm temperature and a drought which started to be seriously felt towards the end of June. July was cool at the beginning, then returned to normal, with dry conditions, except in Chablis. August had plenty of sunshine. The lack of rain was more pronounced in Côte d'Or than in Yonne (Chablis region). September was quite hot at the beginning but became more seasonable, with a short period of rain followed by more sun and very good weather. The rain deficit was quite noticeable except in the Chablis region.
A hail storm on May 3rd, however, struck some vineyards in the Clos de Vougeot area. Hail so early in the season had no defavourable effect on the quality of the wine. Other small hail storms in Chablis on the 24th of June and in late July had little incidence on the quantities. On the other hand, a violent hail storm on July 17th in Southern Côte d'Or, particularly in Santenay and Chassagne-Montrachet, caused considerable harm.
The vines were healthy and the crop was easy to manage. The white grapes showed a bit of millerandage during the flowering. In general the fruit was exceptionally sound except in Chablis, where botrytis struck hard and late, reducing the production. Modern vinification methods, however, preserved the quality.
The official beginning of the vintage was set quite early: the 12th of September, and even more unusual, it was the same day in Côte d'Or for the picking of both chardonnay and pinot noir. For Côte de Nuits, Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Chablis, the vintage began on the 17th of September. The early vintage date for Chablis was particularly remarkable as this more northern region often picks eight to ten days later than the rest of Burgundy.
The grapes were so perfect at harvest that the growers had the time to organize the picking village by village, even vineyard by vineyard, taking advantage of the optimum moment at each location. Although technical criteria (alcohol, acidity, polyphenols) remain important, more and more attention was paid to the organoleptic quality of the grapes, the maturity of the tannins and the taste.
Quantity: the harvest amounted to 1,569,000 hl, or 3.5% less than in 2004 (- 4.3% for whites; - 1.6% for reds).
In summary, 2005 has a lot in common with some great vintages of the past: the beautiful richness of 1990, the harmonious character of 1989 and the haunting bouquet of 1961.
October 10th 2006
2004 - Pure and Well-defined
As the old Burgundy proverb goes: "September makes the wine”. The weather definitely gave the vignerons of Burgundy a hard time during the year: there was a magnificent spring followed by a very unstable summer, characterized by hail storms in some areas, a pale sun most of the time and a cool August.
Fortunately, a glorious September brought back more than a ray of sunshine. Summer-like conditions and a warm and dry wind which significantly increased the grape maturation and enabled them to remain disease-free.
The harvest started at a rather early date: September 13th in Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise, September 20th in Côte d'Or and September 29th in Chablis.
Due to variation in the quality of the berries, a careful sorting of the grapes was essential. At the Domaine, just as with any other serious proprietor, it was necessary to sort out a good part of the crop. The vinification went rather slowly.
Contrary to 2003, mother nature was more generous (as a reminder, the yield in 2003 was 30 to 40% lower than in 2002!): our production in 2004 was 10% higher than the average of the last 10 years.
October 12th 2005
2003 - A vintage out of the ordinary
In France, as well as in Burgundy, the climatic conditions in 2003 were far from normal. Intense heat and very dry weather were responsible for one of the earliest "ban des vendanges” on record: August 19th for Côte d'Or! Burgundy had not seen this in 150 years: they were actually drinking a "vin nouveau” (new wine) on August 4th 1822 in Savigny...
It is also one of the smallest harvests of the last few decades. The yield at our Domaine was 20 to 40% lower. We can only say: "what a vintage!” With whites worthy of the fabulous 1947 and 1959 and reds equal to 1865 and 1929, this 2003 vintage is now part of the Burgundy legend.
This was also a year when wine makers and oenologists could not take things for granted: it was essential to have a flexible approach guided by pragmatism and simple good sense. It was, for instance, imperative to walk through the vineyard parcels one by one in mid-August in order to decide which day to pick. The precise time of the day had also to be taken into account as some vines needed to be picked early in the morning when it was still not too hot.
Sorting the grapes proved to be essential as some berries suffered damage from too much exposure to the sun and had to be eliminated.
The vinification of this 2003 vintage was so complex that the lightest hand was an absolute necessity. The methods used for the 2002 vintage could in no way be used for the 2003.
It is certainly an exceptional vintage, even a vintage of extremes, which will leave its mark on our whole generation since there is no example in the past (unless we go back to 1822!)
October 15th 2004
2002 - A Great Vintage
WHITES: for most appellations, the bouquet is charming and the wines display good balance and gras (velvety texture). They can be drunk now but the Premier and Grand Cru wines deserve to be kept another 2 to 6 years.
REDS: intense in colour, dense and marvellously structured, these wines show beautiful fruity and secondary aromas. The wines have nicely evolved. It is better to wait until they are ready. The Premier Crus could be drunk 5 years from now.
October 15th 2003
2001 - A very good beginning to the new millenium
WHITES: deep yellow colour. Closely resembling 2000, the wines have a very pretty nose with hints of fruit. They are well balanced, show good acidity and are a pleasure to drink.
REDS: more intense colour than the 2000's; they show more depth in Côte de Nuits than in Côte de Beaune. Expressive nose with spicy and fruity notes. The wines have found the right balance between fruit and tannin. Ready to drink now.
October 16th 2002
2000 - Charm and Elegance
WHITES: the harvest was beautiful. Honey and fruity aromas with hints of dried fruit. A higher acidity than in 1999 enhances the fresh notes. All appellations are very pleasant to drink now. Montrachet is magnificent.
REDS: with their very pure, expressive pinot, these wines are refined, full of charm, seductive, supple, flowing, they have evolved nicely. To drink now.
October 8th 2001
The reds have evolved better than the whites. They show good length but the tannins end on a rather dry note. Will not improve.
Light in colour and evolved with a developed bouquet. Not much depth. Dry tannins. The wines tend to be better in Côte de Nuits than in Côte de Beaune. To drink now.
1985 - Seductive and Haunting
Pretty evolved colour. On the nose, intense and complex aromas with animal and spicy notes. The wines are full-bodied but without heaviness, well-balanced, refined and long on the palate. Soft tannins. A very good year that is seemingly evolving according to cycles: at times, the wines seem to be open, ready to be consumed; at other times, they show a lot of freshness and vitality. The wonderful magic of the Burgundy terroirs is here!