We approached the end of the 2017 harvest today, under a leaden, rainy sky. For the past two days, it’s been very chilly in the morning in the vines. The weather is so important for those who stoop low in the rows of vines to gather the fruit of a year of hard work – itself also very dependent on the weather...
At first glance, the season in the vines may seem to have been somewhat topsy-turvy, but after switching several times from hot to cold, as we move towards the end of July, we are full of hope for a fabulous harvest if the summer remains fine and we are spared any hail.
An early winter is not a bad thing, both in the vines and in the cellar. The cold helps the wines age correctly, and aids with soil preparation.
Ageing has been ideal, proceeding smoothly and confirming the vintage’s potential for excellence
This special edition about spring 2016
This special edition mainly contains photographs to celebrate the 51th edition of the Lettre du Domaine...
This special edition mainly contains photographs to celebrate the 50th edition of the Lettre du Domaine...
The continental winter brings us cold, wind, snow, and frosts, keeping the temperature in the cellars low, slowing the malolactic fermentations of the 2014 wines....
Automn letter: Special 2014 Harvest report
Those who followed our daily bulletins on our website already know: there are no words enthusiastic enough to describe our 2014 harvest. And yet, this vintage nearly ended in disaster! Everything started out fine, with spring coming early, bringing with it sunny weather....
Summer letter 2014
With a shower of medals on the Domaine and its great white wines heralded by the British, Le Clos Blanc and Corton-Charlemagne have confirmed our steady progress towards greatness.
After very late harvests, the production of your letter has also been somewhat delayed! We follow the rhythm dictated by nature. While we are still nurturing the last of the sublime 2012 wines which are still in the cellar for their last two months there, the ageing of the 2013s is just settling in nicely....
Autumn Letter – Special 2013 Harvest report
The 2013 harvest will be remembered as long and late. It began on 26 September and ended on 14 October, lasting almost three weeks which were complicated by uncertain weather that was wet and cold.
Summer Letter 2013
Summer is finally with us at the start of July. After a frightful spring, which was cold and wet, the long-awaited sun beats down on Burgundy, revitalizing both man and nature.
Spring Letter 2013
In the winery, the indulgent 2011 wines have just been bottled, with one in particular filling an exceptional Nebuchadnezzar. The scarce and precious 2012 vintage, still in barrels over Easter, is now confirming its sublime and outstanding character.
In the vines, we have been planting and are redoubling our efforts to further enhance the levels of excellence in our vineyards. This is a long-term investment, given that a vine only really starts to produce in its seventh year.
The first snow fell at the beginning of December. It was early for the season but any autumnal weather has now been forgotten with a wave of cold settling across Burgundy. The Côte looks magnificent painted in white and the winegrowers have begun their pruning...
Autumn Letter – Special 2012 Harvest report
A concentrated harvest report for a concentrated wine!Concentrated is certainly the watchword for this memorable 2012 harvest. Back in June, we were doubtful about its future, but the weather in August saved us. The harvest itself was a 10-day race against the rain.
Summer letter 2012
July in Burgundy this year has seen the sun playing hide-and-go-seek with the rain clouds, coupled with storms, rollercoaster temperatures and hail in places, all of which means a wine region having a tough time. And where there are damp conditions, there is mildew, which means a race against the clock with numerous corrective treatments to combat the thriving fungus...
Spring letter 2012
Spring has sprung and the Côte looks magnificent under the bright blue sunny sky. The blossoming fruit trees scatter their petals in the wind blowing across this landscape, which has been given a rough ride with the late February frosts and a lack of rain. Fortunately, the hardy vines are waiting for the very last minute to release their buds, and their branches are still bare, despite the rising sap.
Winter letter 2011-2012
The cold has arrived in Burgundy, driving out the old year and bringing in the new. For the last few days, the mercury has stayed below zero, this wintry weather reminding us of our continental climate. The wind is blowing and the frost is clinging to the vines under a white sky in which the sun occasionally shows its face. The workers prune the dormant vines with fingers chilled to the bone....
Autumn letter – Special 2011 Harvest
This was the second tricky year in a row. But it seems that thanks to the close attention demanded by the caprices of nature, we have succeeded in extracting the essence of the vine and for the second year running, our worst fears have been transformed into a solid promise of future fine wine.
Summer letter 2011
In Burgundy, no two years are alike. The weather in 2010 was disastrous but 2011 has so far given us a gloriously warm and sunny spring and summer looks like it will continue in the same vein. So far, we have had days of heat wave interspersed with occasional rainstorms and sudden drops in temperature. This is the season that will have most bearing on the pre-harvest vines; these three months will really determine the quality of this year’s harvest.
Spring Letter 2011
April arrived with brilliant sunshine and summery weather to chase away winter in one fell swoop. The Côte has found its smile once again, and it’s joy all around with the final bottling of the superb 2009 vintage. The vegetation is bursting from the vines, you can almost see the buds growing and the winegrowers are stepping up the pace to keep up with Mother Nature.
Winter Letter 2010
A new year began in the cold and fog. The Côte is chilled to the bone, but despite the freezing temperatures, the days are starting to lengthen and on the rare sunny days, winemakers can glimpse the prospect of better days ahead. This year will mark a turning point in the history of our estate with the inclusion among our vineyards of a fabulous property in Bâtard-Montrachet. This great white Burgundy, which is among the most reputed, joins our five existing plots of white grapes, much to our delight.
Autumn letter 2010 – Harvest special 2010
What a difference the year makes! Whereas the 2009 vintage was dazzling, 2010 is turning out to be quite a challenge. Below is a summary of the harvest, the vinification and the first stages of maturing for this year’s crop. Despite the pitfalls, as we come to the end of devatting, we are fairly relieved by the results so far. The reds are showing intense colors, with a distinct freshness that promises longevity, while the whites, which are still fermenting, are clean, though quantities are significantly down on last year.
The 2009 wines will, for the next six months, sit alongside the more delicate 2010s, and will perhaps instill in them part of their strength of character and their spontaneous generosity, smoothing out some of the ups and downs of nature that buffeted these
Summer letter 2010
After an interminable wintry spring, we leapt into summer feet first with heatwave temperatures. As a result the vines, which had languished and suffered from the cold and the rain, drank in all the sun’s life-giving power and shot up with renewed vigor, their leaves delighting in the photosynthesis. We have been stimulating the vines yet more with herbal infusions of flowers, bark and plants and this is keeping everyone’s spirits up. We are already imagining of a wonderful season with a fabulous harvest, but that’s still the stuff of dreams and we pray to St. Vincent that we are spared hail until the last grape is picked, which is still some way off!
Spring letter 2010
At long last spring is here! Growth on the vine – a little late after an interminable Burgundy winter – is slowly stirring as the temperature rises, marking the start of a new vegetative cycle. Work in the cellar has been quite intense over the past quarter, with bottling, earlier than usual, of all the 2008 reds, and the start of racking off for the 2009s. These back-to-back vintages have little in common besides the excellence expressed through their diametrically opposed styles.
Meanwhile, we have taken the plunge and switched to using corks from certified sustainable forests for the majority of our wines. And elsewhere, some interesting projects are shaping up for the months ahead, more of which will be revealed in the summer letter.
Winter letter 2009-2010
One good vintage after another.
The magnificent 2009 vintage is not likely to be quickly forgotten, judging by its blossoming splendor. But it should not eclipse the dazzling 2008, which we are bottling at the moment at the Domaine. It will reach you this summer and is a must to discover! It was born from suffering and has matured into purity, beauty and elegant fullness.
The cold has gripped Burgundy this winter under an immaculate white snowy covering that cloaks our land and our vines in a frozen blanket before the thaws. This hymn to the light, to the renewal of the seasons, to the ascendancy of the sun and the cycles of the cosmos, symbolizes ellipsis, energy and life. May our wines be ever more vibrant in this New Year of 2010, which we sincerely wish will be wonderful, happy and serene for you.
Spring letter 2009
After what felt like an endless winter with cold and snow, the spring has been playing hard to get. But the occasional sunny day and climbing temperatures have nonetheless been giving us hope. The vegetation was a little late emerging but now, at the end of March, the pruning is finished, the earth is freshly turned to reveal lines of brown furrows between the tightly-spaced rows and the metal wires gleam in the setting sun. Everything is set. The Côte looks combed, sitting there expectantly, and yet serenely ready to welcome the return of life, light and warmth, to receive the sap in its veins. It is all there – the miracle is being prepared in the invisible secrecy of the cosmos...
Winter letter 2008-2009
While winter has set in with temperatures regularly dropping below freezing for several months, one place where it is always pleasant to be is the cellar. That’s where you can taste the last wines from the delicious 2007 vintage – and what’s more, one can sample the best of them, since the others have already been bottled. A foretaste of paradise would be a bit presumptuous, but that’s the impression this mouthful of Bonnes Mares gives, taken from one of ten barrels, with such silky velvetiness that you swallow it delicately whilst narrowing the eyes with pleasure.
After the holiday season, which we hope offered some gastronomic treats, it is time to wish you a very happy 2009. May this vintage soften with time and chase away all ills, may it be gentle on your palate to accompany the magic of our wines and make life sweeter!
Autumn letter 2008
Three challenging vintages in a row for our winemaker Pierre Vincent, who still manages to keep a smile on his face. We described 2006 as variable, 2007 as chaotic; we can say that 2008 was positively tortured! Nature was harsh from the beginning to the end, in particular during such a wet and cold summer. Luckily, September saw the return of the sun and the wind which saved the grapes, but the mildew had set to work, which necessitated much sorting. The whites and the reds ripened at the same time, and the late harvest starting on 25 September meant an intense fortnight of picking.
Quantities were low and there was lots of millerandage, which guarantees concentration meaning the correct potential alcohol degrees were attained. The fermentations were nicely paced, with intense reds, and whites shouldered by good acidity, plus some pleasant surprises among the new micro-cuvées, a welcome lift to the spirits as the vineyards take on their autumn hues at the end of October.
Summer letter 2008
Now that summer is here, albeit rather timidly, and the harvests are still a good two months away, let’s return to the last vintage, the 2007, which has been described as rebellious. The maturing process is going very nicely in the cool cellars and no wine has yet been racked from the new casks. By the end of July, a few cuvées will have been bottled – always the same ones, the earliest ones to be harvested: Beaune La Montée Rouge, Beaune Le Clos du Roi, Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Marconnets and the two Clos du Prieuré. These are successful wines which will be available along with the others next spring, having had the time to develop harmoniously in the bottle.
Spring is the time to feast on light, aromatic wines and dishes – the season when nature comes to life, offering delicious fruit and, we all hope, a fine vintage... It is the ideal moment to taste our Fête de Famille 2002 or 2003, nicely chilled...
And don’t miss our big event in the third week of September: the harvests!
Spring letter 2008
Spring was in no hurry to visit Burgundy this year. The weather has been chilly and we even had an ephemeral blanket of snow covering the Côte at Easter. The wine vines stayed slumbering before commencing thir vegetative phase, using these six months of rest to regain the strength to once again bring their fruits to maturity. Neatly pruned and earthed down, they are now just springing into life.
While the malolactic fermentation of the 2007 vintage could still be heard, it was time to bottle the remaining wines from 2006, a vintage that over time is revealing itself as absolutely sumptuous, and one you will be able to enjoy very soon. It is also the first vintage of Pierre Vincent at the Domaine de la Vougeraie and thus a very good omen for the continuation of our authentic style and an ever-increasingly sophisticated expression of terroir.
We would like to take the opportunity to wish you a wonderful spring and we look forward to being back in touch in July for with all our summer news.
Winter letter 2007-2008
During the winter gloom, the Domaine slumbers, but in this slow-motion season the chilly cellars are where the near-silent metamorphosis is working its magic on the latest vintages. Bottling the 2006 is almost finished and the 2007, which barely four months ago emerged from its chrysalis, is now in contact with the robust oak and is aging nicely, protected by its guardian angels. There is cellarman Jean-Luc, with his sure hand and athletic build who looks after the wines with tenderness. There’s Pierre, the even-tempered winemaker, who decides on the degree of softness to bring to these precious treasures. And then there’s Amandine whose pure femininity adds a little charm for visitors and a touch of natural tenderness to the young wines. In short, all is serene here. In this hectic world, there is a little corner of the earth – under the earth in fact – where life is in harmony, and time rolls along in its own sweet way.
Autumn letter 2007
If you’ve been reading our daily reports on the website, you’ll already be up-to-speed – or almost – on the 2007 harvest. Although still on the early side, the vendange was held later than planned this year, during the first two weeks of September. Thanks to some careful coordination, the grapes showed excellent maturity, with a lot of millerandage. The reds required some radical sorting, the whites were splendid, and the vinification was handled with extreme care. And that’s the story so far. After this race against the clock, work goes on in the winery, where fermentation is on the way to being completed and the cellar has already welcomed the whites. We are rather contented, as it seems we’ve managed to tame this tricky raw material born during an erratic year in Burgundy. While the Côte dons its coat of red and gold at the end of the vegetative cycle, we return to the birth of this vintage, the second for Pierre Vincent at the Domaine de la Vougeraie.
Summer letter 2007
At the Domaine, the 2006 vintage is shaping up to be an excellent one and we are determined it will not be overshadowed by the 2005 which received a great deal of media attention.
Indeed, after 10 months of maturation, first impressions are that the Domaine’s 2006 vintage will be a very good one, or dare we say a truly great one? Even our winemaker, the naturally reserved Pierre Vincent, is bubbling with enthusiasm about what the vintage is promising already. A fine and elegant year, its exceptional nature is taking shape today: lots of structure – the trademark of the estate – as well as a deep color. Some of the Côte de Nuits grand crus are even showing a special extra edge over the 2005 – freshness!
The wines are demonstrating a natural elegance born from harvesting the grapes at peak ripeness and a rigorous grape selection process followed by gentle vinification and subtle maturation in wood. With fruits and delicate, silky and plump tannins, these reds are delectable on the tongue, and will slowly continue to perfect themselves over time.
As for the whites, these are packed with minerality, are pure in the mouth and have a power that foretells of their future voluptuousness. We will monitor their progress closely, but patience is everything where this vintage is concerned.
Spring letter 2007
The advent of the month of May will bring with it our sublime 2005 vintage, the last by Pascal Marchand at the Domaine, finally available in stores, on restaurant tables and in the cellars of wine lovers. The wines of 2006, those made under Pierre Vincent, are already beginning to reveal themselves, and promise to deliver quite a mouthful.
The Burgundy winter was mild, and work in the vines kept up a nice rhythm ahead of the early start of the vegetative cycle.
The new team, true to the original spirit of the Domaine de la Vougeraie, is working smoothly together. Everyone who has visited our cellars over the past year has gone away reassured about the desire to maintain standards of excellence in the winery and the vines, and therefore in the wines.
Winter letter 2006-2007
Burgundy has a continental climate and winters tend to be harsh. The cold weather we were expecting has hit the vines, wrapping them in dense fog in December as the mercury dipped below freezing point. Thick frosts highlighted the naked beauty of the rows of bare vines against the frozen earth. At the winter solstice, the vineyards were white against the steely sky, and winter is far from over.
Often, as late as March or even April, Burgundy is hit by cold snaps. But fortunately, the vines seem to thrive on this harsh climate which appears to fortify them. First a trial by the elements and then the gauntlet is passed to the winemaker. The vines must be strong, resistant and robust in order to produce the very best they have to offer – it is from grapes produced in a fight for survival that great wines are born.
Spring – Summer letter 2006
Domaine de la Vougeraie is turning a new page in its young history. After seven years of excellence and after having created our estate along with Jean-Charles in 1999, our dear Quebecois friend has decided to head off to new winemaking horizons. The reins have been handed over gradually from Pascal Marchand to Pierre Vincent, previously a winemaker at our Maison Jaffelin in Beaune. Pascal will continue to monitor his “offspring” in the 2005 vintage until the end of the year.
Domaine de la Vougeraie will remain faithful to its style, which is close to the terroir: concentrated, powerful, complex reds with fine tannins which do not overpower the fruit; rich whites with optimum minerality; both with great ageing potential.
Lastly, it is now Sylvie Poillot who manages sales of the Domaine. Previously she monitored these sales from her office, and now she will be doing so until they reach you! We would like to wish this new team a long, successful future in the footsteps of these exceptional creators, and all under the purple banner!
Boisset Family and the whole team of Le Domaine de la Vougeraie
Winter letter 2005-2006
The rare quality of the 2005 vintage shouldn't lead us to forget what 2004 was like. The pursuit of excellence which has gone on at Le Domaine de la Vougeraie since 1999 was a crucial determinant in what was a difficult year and, now that the wines are almost market-ready, there is general agreement that these 2004s are "the best ever produced at Le Domaine de la Vougeraie". Experience with vinification, minute knowledge of the different districts and parcels, and years of restraint in the matter of chemical applications made it possible to face all obstacles with a certain serenity, to master them, and even to turn them to advantage.
Famille Boisset, Pascal Marchand, Estate Manager, Nicolas Jacob, Vineyard Manager and the whole team of Le Domaine de la Vougeraie.
Autumn letter 2005
After the sort of exceptional harvests that only come along a handful of times in a lifetime – where quality and quantity go hand in hand – here we are at the end of October, devatting the class of 2005 and starting the maturation process. As the vintage gradually starts taking shape, we invite you to join us in taking a look back at its birth, from the fifteen-stage harvesting process through to the vinification work which is just coming to an end as the cellaring stage begins. After that, follow our interviews with Pascal and learn about the decisions which were taken to ensure that our seventh vintage will be truly capable of transporting you to the seventh heaven…
Summer letter 2005
If summer wasn't always obvious this year, nevertheless we have had plenty of fine sunshiny weather (offset by occasional chilly days) plus a fortnight-long heat-wave. Conditions have ideally suited the health of the vines, which are looking splendid. Fruit burden is on the whole what it should be though green thinning may be needed on some parcels. One small fly in the ointment: Vougeot has been hit twice by hailstorms and yield will be down as a result. We have to work with nature, which is why our vigneron's herb-garden is growing in size and allows us to apply home-made infusions with numerous virtues when treating the vines. Their rude health is proof that we are on the right track.
In the cellars, the 2004 continues to delight us, growing more fully expressive with every days that passes. Elevage is in its final stages and as the wines are being racked off we are already beginning to look towards the harvest and cleaning up the cellars in readiness.
Spring letter 2005
Early April saw the return of cold, rainy and changeable conditions after some days of almost summer warmth in March. The almond trees are in flower and the cherry blossom just beginning to show. At the domaine, work among the vines has re-started on ground that drank the rain greedily since the heavy winter snows had failed to put much moisture into it. The growing season is short. Everything has to be done in just five months, since from July onwards the vines are not touched until it is time for the harvest. The cellars are half empty. Only the 2004 remains now that the famous 2003 has recently departed. It's bizarre to see the cellars so empty.
The personality of the current vintage is becoming discernible, a little at a time, and it promises well after not a few ups and downs.
Our website carries the latest and fullest details on the 2003 vintage, plot by plot. Nothing held back!
Here then is the latest news from the domaine. We hope you'll enjoy reading it. Till our next number (in July).
Summer letter 2004
We’d like to start by thanking Nature for its kindness to us… even though 2004 has, in all respects, been a very laborious year featuring a succession of climatic disasters. Today, however, having just tasted the wines of 2004 at the start of their period of ageing, we are coming to the realisation that we may have just produced one of our finest vintages!
If we had had to overcome such obstacles in the Domaine’s very first year, five years ago, it would no doubt have proved disastrous to our fledgling organisation! However, after five years’ painstaking work on the vines and in the cellars, and a demanding, increasingly precise system of operation, we now find ourselves well able to cope. Nature may have been generous to us, with an ‘easy’ first vintage in 1999, but the 2004 harvests have given us a stiff challenge – and so much the better! After all, thanks to our well-balanced vines and the detailed knowledge of the potential of each terroir we have built up over the years, we now have the ability to make great wines even in a difficult year.
Spring letter 2004
Far removed from the baking hot weather which had already set in by this time last year, this late Spring period saw very hot days at 26-28°C alternate with fresh, chilly mornings swept by an unusually strong wind which slowed the growth of the vegetation… As the time of writing, the vine flowers have only recently opened! Small, discreet flowers with sparse petals and a very light scent, which look more like tiny pale yellow pistils, surrounding the green future buds. They were first observed on 7th June in the Beaujolais region and a day later here, in the Côte, open and scented, in the white lily gardens. These two signs give us a theoretical date for harvesting; the traditional estimate is a hundred days after the flowering of either the vines or the fleur-de-lis… although in reality it varies from between ninety to a hundred days. This gives us a projected harvesting date of around 20th September, a much more ‘normal’ date following so many precocious years! However, the summer may still have some surprises in store… And the Domaine de La Vougeraie will celebrate its fifth vintage!
Winter letter 2003-2004
At this end of a clement, damp winter, which saw the alternation of cold and a touch of snow with several chaotic sunny spells, the action has now turned to the cellar. The 2002 wines had less maturation time than expected, accelerated by the earlier heatwave, and the last of them have just been bottled. Some have been filtered, but this is unlikely to set a precedent; discover why and how. And now, with these exquisite, very well-balanced wines out of the door, we turn our attention to the maturation of the unusual year that was 2003. It is time to consider the unique decisions which need to be taken to capture this utterly exceptional fruit! In the vines, the winter tasks, pruning and ground work were guided by the calendar and the moon cycles. Lastly, here are a few tasting suggestions for an enjoyable Spring!
Autumn letter 2003
It has become almost a cliché to talk about the exceptional harvesting conditions, with their fantastic weather and extreme precocity. But memorable though they may have been, we are now obtaining – some two and a half months later – an increasingly clear vision of this famous 2003 vintage, which is just as unusual and exotic as ever! Burgundy, along with the rest of Western Europe, experienced scorching weather during the summer, with forty-degree peaks which had something of a detrimental impact on our precious vines, despite their regular exposure to the extreme fluctuations of the continental climate. This, however, was an entirely unique phenomenon which caught everyone short… including us! Yet we stood firm, and set to work harvesting on 21st August: you may have followed the day-by-day updates posted on our site. We’d like to give you an update on that ‘crazy fortnight’ and – more importantly – the state of the wines today and how maturation is going… in fact, all the latest news this fine autumn from the Domaine de la Vougeraie.
Summer letter 2003
A very dry, very bright spring, a summer along the same lines, and – despite a few small frosts – the year is looking extremely promising with precocious growth, warmth and naturally low yields; and, since Nature has blessed us with a smiling face up to the harvests, one may be permitted to dream a little of a highly-concentrated vintage… Flowers appeared in the week of 20th May, suggesting harvesting in the first week of September (which is very early) on the Côte. In the opinion of Bernard and Pascal, it should start on around the 8th here at the estate. This year, as in the last three years, you can follow day-to-day updates on this remarkable adventure on our website! May we wish you all a very pleasant summer…
Spring letter 2003
After a very wet autumn in 2002, 2003 began with three months of astonishing weather, dry, bright and sunny, which gave a boost both to the vines and to the spirits of the vignerons. However, nature reined in her exuberance somewhat in early April with a general cold spell and even some frosts. This prevented the vines from getting ahead of themselves and brought about the return of a more "Burgundian" state of affairs proper to a continental climate with wide swings in weather conditions, normal for these parts. Now, in early May, as we write these lines, growth is as it should be: the earth can still be seen through the luminous green of the young leaves and the harvest promises to be more limited in terms of quantity. Meanwhile, our 2001 vintage has just been bottled and is leaving the cellars, shortly to make its appearance in the shops.
Winter letter 2002-2003
The chilly month of January may already be upon us, but there is still time for us to share with you all our best wishes for 2003. We wish all you wine-lovers – whether your interest is a professional one or not – a year of fascinating taste experiences, fresh discoveries and surprises… in short, all the pleasure a good bottle of wine can afford. With Domaine de la Vougeraie, our aim has been to bring you some of these magic moments in the form of our wines, which we are constantly striving to improve in our daily progress towards perfection, the divine source of our inspiration…
Summer letter 2002
The grape-harvest is a time of maximum excitement. And what a harvest! The kind we always dream about but seldom see in one lifetime... The oldsters are making comparisons with legendary years like 1947, 1961 and 1990. And it's true that this year everything miraculously came together: a dry and early spring, a summer equally dry and sun-drenched, vineyard work all carried out by the book, green harvesting in every plot.... On the eve of the harvest, kindly winds and weather conditions did the rest. The result was a healthy crop, exceptionally well-matured as regards both its physical and its analytic condition (even the later-picked white grapes), "millerandage"*, remarkable balance between acidity and tannins, and low yields... Vinification brought out intense coloration, great richness and concentration, wines which even at this early stage showed considerable suppleness.
The Boisset family with manager Pascal Marchand, head grower Bernard Zito, and the rest of the team at Le Domaine de la Vougeraie.