2010 pre-harvest ramblings

This year has truly been an interesting one. At times, I worried there may too much cold, others too much heat and a few times many of us worried about the rain. As a few older winemakers here in Burgundy have told me, ‘worrying doesn’t make your wines taste any better’. Truly the weather is something that you cannot entirely predict and you certainly cannot control it.

Much of the threat during this year has been focused on the prospect of dilute berries due to the rains as well as berries bursting, due to the vintage characteristic of having large proportions of millerandage, where there is a large proportion of both small berries as well as medium to large berries. With small berries such as this, water can certainly make for difficult situations. This is all, of course in theory. In practice, some berries did inflate which may cause some dilution of sugars and flavors. Though, in the vineyards I walked over several hours the fruit profile and the numbers looked impressive as well. Of note, due to the extra gaps left from the millerandage berries, water was generally allowed to evacuate the clusters quite well minimizing other water issues such as mold and rot. All things considered, due to the moisture of the vintage, I will be well sure to keep an eye on the fruit in the vineyard on before and on the day of the harvest as well, attempting to do a strong triage (sorting) in the vineyards to minimize the sorting at the fixed table.

Also of note, 2010 will mark the first year that my wife Christian and I will work together. She is quite knowledgable about wine and has excellent intuition. She has been involved in the project this whole time, so its great to be working with her.

While we are starting to pick on Saturday the 25th with all of the premier crus – Morey Saint Denis ‘Les Chaffots’, Morey Saint Denis ‘Monts Luisants’ Rouge and Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Les Corbeaux’, I am missing just a few important pieces of material. Due to my last minute additions of vineyards and corresponding volumes, my last two tanks have yet to arrive. They are (thankfully) assembled already.  They just need the final sanding and for the holes to be tapped for the equipment such as the valves and temp gauge. They should be at the winery by Monday. So, I’m not quite worried…yet.

There has been one spot of bad news on the tank front. Due to a mistake on my end, the order was not placed for the 5th appellation, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru ‘Les Corbeaux’ which I added after all of the other tanks were specified. Due to the  timing, the foudrieur was unable to allocate enough time to produce them at the last minute. The result is that I won’t be able to move forward with my plans just yet of producing each lot in the exact same manner with the intention of creating equal starting points to highlight individual terroir. I will need to ferment the ‘Les Corbeaux’ lot in the same stainless steel tank that I used for Le Chambertin in 2009. The lot should yield just over two barrels. All in all, this isn’t too much of a disappointment. The rest of the variables should be identical to each other.

As for now, I’m off to prepare a bit more for harvest.

Hoping for continued sunshine,


2 thoughts on “2010 pre-harvest ramblings

  1. Ray,

    Interesting post, many thanks.

    Very best wishes for your vendange to you, your wife and all your team – have a good one.

    I will be at Arlaud in Morey on the 24th for a 25th start – same date as yours. Am guessing we might start in Bourgogne Roncevie, below the RN 74, so probably won’t see you in ‘Chaffots’

    Hoping to be able to get over to Nuits sometime as per our previous email exchanges to say ‘hello’ in person (and see your new tanks !).

    Lets hope rot isn’t too big an issue – weather forecast from the UK for the Cote next week looks good until the end of the week – here’s hoping the vines can dry out before any more precipitation. Am packing my wet weather gear though just in case !!!

    Mark G (aka Mark de Morey – Burgundy Report)

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