Burgundy 2009: the harvest comes in


Jasper among the vinesIt has been a remarkably fine and easy to manage harvest in Burgundy.

The sun is still shining and the grapes are in. It wasn’t a doddle all summer long, mind you, as tricky weather conditions in the first half of July required careful management in the vineyard. But August was a perfect summer month, with day after day of warm sunny weather, without any exaggerated heat spikes, and though September was cooler and a little greyer, the rains held off and the crop was brought in.

Picking started in the Mâconnais from around 2nd September, in the Côte de Beaune from the 5th and a few days later in the Côte de Nuits. It continues in Chablis and the Auxerrois where they are still enjoying glorious sunshine.

I did two mornings’ picking as I try to do every year (see above) – Jean-Yves Devevey’s Beaune 1er cru les Pertuisots (in which I am a shareholder) and Lafon’s Le Montrachet (because I’m a snob). With dry ground below, a cool breeze above and healthy grapes all round it was much easier work than usual.

I also like to work on the sorting tables at various domaines, making sure that no sub-standard grapes get into any cuvées which we buy! This year there was hardly anything to do though. Nor was there a lot of discussion about the subtleties of the vintage as everybody had the same story to tell, the same smiles on their faces. It looks like being a decent sized crop, though drier summer conditions in the Mâconnais have reduced yields as there was precious little juice in the bunches. Sugar levels are where they should be everywhere, acidity either just right or sometimes a touch on the low side. There’s a feel of 1999 rather than 2005. Sounds good to me.