The 2021 harvest

  • 1 October 2021
On 6 September, we began picking our grapes, starting with the Bourgogne Les Cornillots in Premeaux-Prissey which goes into our Fête de Famille Crémant de Bourgogne. The Pinot Noir grapes were in lovely condition but few and far between, immediately setting the tone. Proper picking didn’t start until 11 days later on 17 September, on both Côtes at the same time as the fruit ripened all together. There was no time for dawdling, and we had to work fast before the rain arrived. We were back to harvest dates the like of which we hadn’t seen since 2016.

Everything went faster than we’d planned, given the few grapes we had. There were two teams at work: One from the Domaine of 24 pickers, and another outsourced crew of 35.

It was tough to get organized back in the winery as we had no idea what kinds of quantities or qualities would be delivered each day. But one thing was sure – it was all about sorting. The entire team was brought in, and nothing was allowed to slip through the net. Too bad about the yields, but you can’t put a price on quality.

The vats filled up slowly and some never even got filled. We were light years away from 2018 when they were literally overflowing. The grapes were ripe, and it was a race against the clock to pick them before they turned.

We keep our vats at low temperature in order to delicately extract color and aroma, which was particularly important this year because the skins that contain the anthocyans that give the wine its color were particularly thin. A little chaptalization made up for the sugar that was consumed more than usual by the yeasts this year. On the sixth day, we caught a whiff of the first fumes of fermentation. And by day eight, they were off. The pressure was on, and the pace sped up. Almost 1,000 crates came into the winery that day.

On the ninth day, the pickers started on a new vineyard, our new monopole of Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle no less, covering 4.5 hectares. The grapes were generous but disparate. This more clayey soil will make for an interesting comparison with our other big monopole of Clos Blanc de Vougeot.

As usual, it was the pressing of the whites that set the pace in the winery, but this year, no records were beaten and the most presses we filled in a single day was four. On day 11, it was time to start on the pigeages, when the cap of pips and skins is pushed back into the vats. And then the first whites were quickly put into barrels because they’d be finished with their alcoholic fermentation in just five days!

Harvesting finished on 1 October for the larger plots on the Hautes Côtes de Nuits (seven hectares), which will make up most of our Terres de Famille cuvée. The grapes had been gathered on very chilly mornings at just 4°C, but always under a bright, sunny sky.

The harvests were fast and disappointingly low in volume, but we were pleasantly surprised when it came to pressing the reds as the juice yield was higher than usual. It typically takes 330kg of grapes to give 228 liters of juice to fill a single Burgundy barrel or pièce, but this year, the juice ratio was much higher. We expect pressing to end on around 22 October. 

The juice is rich in color and particularly aromatic this year, and as usual, the Bel Air smells of cherry and the Charlemagne of citrus. The hierarchy of appellations in already showing through as the terroir makes its present felt, perhaps more so than usual in this difficult year!

These young wines are now in barrels made from Cîteaux oak, exclusively chosen for its historical and geographical harmony with the wines. Then it will be a long and silent ageing process in the cellars for between 12-18 months. But that is another story that we will share with you soon.

The vines are now allowed to rest and recuperate, but we give them a helping hand by spraying them with a silica preparation for its light-giving properties, and the biodynamic 500 solution when the leaves fall to help them enter their dormant phase and to prepare the soil for the winter. 

Family Domaine at the heart of Burgundy

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+33(0)3 80 62 48 25
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