The last day of the 2016 harvests was bathed in sunshine, a magnificent day that took both teams up into the high vineyards right at the back of the Côtes to bring in the last of this year’s grapes. They enjoyed a quick snack of cold cuts and chocolate at 9:00am when it was still chilly, then later on, Raphaël organized a barbecue for the Beaune team in the vines, with grilled sausages and merguez served up after the last snip of the secateurs cut the last bunch of red grapes, that took over an hour to be transported back to the winery.
Day 14 – Tuesday 4 October 2016
The hillsides were lit by a magnificent light today, the weekend rain a distant memory. This cloudless blue sky opened up the horizon, intensifying the chill, which this morning dropped to 8°C in the wind. Orange tinges are starting to appear in places in the green rows of vines, another subtle sign of the change in season. The plants have given their all to bear fruit despite the frosts, and are now ending their cycle. By tomorrow, all our vines will have been harvested.
Day 13 – Monday 3 October 2016
It was a perfect harvesting day, a mild 20°C and breezy, as we attacked the last but by no means the least plot on the Côte de Beaune...
Days 11 and 12 – Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 October 2016
The rain forecast did indeed come on Friday night, and in the space of one day we shifted into another season. The heating is gradually going on in houses, and the Saturday morning chill meant the boots and wet-weather gear was out. The autumnal leaves are starting to fall.
Day Ten – Friday 30 September 2016
It’s the last day of September and it’s been a few years since our annual harvest has carried on into October...
Day Nine – Thursday 29 September 2016
Today, we profited from the sunny weather and a “fruit” day in the lunar calendar to focus on our grand crus. The sun shone and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the temperature rose to 26°C (79°F), prolonging a summer that seems endless and yet… In two days’ time, the fall will be making itself felt, with rain forecast for Saturday, so we’re hurrying to bring in the grapes from our best vines, mainly the whites that are most sensitive to losing acidity, and we don’t want that.
Day Eight – Wednesday 28 September 2016
At last Pierre feels like we’re harvesting! One should say that the activity in the winery has been intensifying as the grapes arrive. The vats are filling one by one, the alcoholic fermentations are starting, and the press is releasing the golden nectar of Chevalier-Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet that then goes to rest in stainless-steel tanks. The Clos Blanc is the first white to go into barrels, where it will continue its fermentation in oak. It has entered the peace of the cellar, where it joins the last of the 2105s which will be bottled in a few months’ time.
Day Seven -Tuesday 26 September 2016
The early mornings are very chilly when the pickers arrive in the vines, the mercury barely registering 11°C (52°F) as fall sets in. But today, the sun clearly wanted to shine through, the clouds gradually melting away to reveal an immaculate blue sky like a last hurrah for summer! These were ideal conditions for harvesting, although it was almost too hot for those in the full blaze of the sun, cutting and carrying the grapes.
Day six – Monday 26 September 2016
It was a gentle return to harvesting this morning, in overcast, mild, and above all dry weather. This is certainly pleasant for the pickers, and good for the grapes too, since there are no dirt splashes and so no risk of contamination which is important for the purity of the taste.
Day Five – Friday 23 September 2016
It was bright and fresh with a nip in the air this morning on the Côte. The vines are still looking luxuriant as summer slips away, with a handful of pickers scattered across the slopes. As we wait for some of the grapes to reach perfect maturity, today’s harvest drew to a halt at lunchtime.
Day Four – Thursday 22 September 2016
On this day in the year, the length of the day equals that of the night, before starting its inexorable decline. A new season is beginning, and for us, this involves harvesting the scarce grapes from vineyards that have seen many vintages come and go over the past two millennia. Each one has been different: 2016, will be rare and precious.
Day Three – Wednesday 21 September 2016
On this last official day of summer, the morning was chilly and the skies gray as our two teams of pickers set out for the vines at 8:00am...
Day Two – Tuesday 20 September 2016
This morning, the sun was poking out behind the clouds, and ended the day emerging in all its glory. It was milder and drier than yesterday. The clouds have moved on and the Côte is strangely calm. The usual effervescence, with tractors clogging the roads, noise and shouts, the excitement of the sheer intensity; all that is lacking. Instead, there is a sort of resigned waiting, a palpable frustration in the face of such a low harvest. The weather is so fine, and the fruit today was so perfect, we’d so like to have more of it. Especially since we can already tell it will make great wine. But such small quantities... The estate has never known such low yields. This is encapsulated by our Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos de Thorey, where picking finished this morning. This was one of the plots worst affected by frost, and will yield barely six pièces, instead of the usual 15. In other words, a tiny yield of 9hl/ha, whereas in a normal year we would expect around 30!
Day One – Monday 19 September 2016
Harvesting in an autumnal mood Whereas we had already finished harvesting by this time in 2015, this year we are only just starting in the third week in September, returning to a more traditional date for Burgundy. That said, nothing this year has followed the classic timetable. The weather has been chaotic, and we have struggled to keep up with its vertiginous changes.