Since returning from France in late June it seems I've barely been home. We took a family trip to L.A. to see friends, then another trip to Augusta to see my grandkids, and then on to Asheville and the mountains of North Carolina for Martha's annual family reunion trip. Will now finally get to settle in and enjoy this magnificent Oregon summer for a bit, before heading back to France in September.
Lots of news from across the pond. Both Champagne and Burgundy are looking at very early harvests this year - many Champenois are now thinking they'll start picking in the last week of August, and most in Burgundy expect to start in the first week of September. The warm early spring, followed by a dry, hot summer will make this the fourth exceptionally early harvest in recent years. Every year is now an outlier, it seems - there truly is no "normal" anymore.
The frost events from April caused damage in parts of Chablis and some lower-lying areas of the Côte d'Or, but fortunately the loss was mostly minimal. Champagne producers in the Aube were hit again, with some heavy losses reported there - but only on a case-by-case basis. A nasty hailstorm did massive damage in the Beaujolais, with most of the top Crus (Fleurie, Morgon) suffering big losses in the 50-80% range. Yikes! Then another hailstorm hit the Côte de Nuits, but affected mostly the village of Morey-St. Denis - where chunks of Clos St. Denis and Clos de la Roche were hit hard.
All of these "freakish" events have somehow become the new normal, it appears. Many of our producers are telling me that they are flat-out planning for yields that are 50-65% less than what they used to expect. The average crops of the last 100 years can no longer be counted on - it's a whole new ballgame now. The good news is that despite the small quantities, the quality of Burgundy across the board has never been more consistent than in the last 15-20 years.
In addition to conducting our Burgundy and Champagne tours last May & June, I was also busy finalizing deals with a few new producers to add the Caveau family. It's too soon to let the cats fully out of the bag, but we can tease a little bit...
Post-production is moving along well on our film project - Three Days of Glory - with hopes we'll be able to do a special pre-release screening in Burgundy this fall, and then launch it stateside in 2018. I'm stoked about how it's looking as we continue the editing process. No one has ever taken the viewer into the inside, unseen Burgundy before, and I'm excited for you to see it - hopefully soon!