Harvest begins in Burgundy and Champagne...
It looks like 2015 has the chance to be at the least very good, and possibly exceptional, across Burgundy and Champagne. The massive hailstorms and tiny crops that have plagued the Côte de Beaune over the last five years have been avoided this time, and for once we should see something resembling a “normal” crop in Burgundy. It will not be “abundant”, however. It is rare that quantity and quality go hand in hand, though we have seen that phenomenon recently in 2009 and 1999.
Chablis has been the un-luckiest this year, it seems. With just days to go before the grapes were perfectly ripe and ready to pick, a huge hail and rainstorm hit the region late Monday night into Tuesday morning, bringing about 4 inches of rain and brief bursts of hail that caused severe damage to the Grand Crus and adjacent 1er Cru sites on the right bank. Frédéric Gueguen in Préhy reports that his Village and 1er Crus on the left bank suffered about 15% loss. Reports from the other gorwers estimate upwards of 80% crop loss in the Chablis Grand Crus. Harvest is now underway there – our fingers are crossed.
In Champagne, a some estates in the Aube have begun picking, with harvest in the Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs set to begin in earnest this week. It’s been a very warm and dry season in Champagne – maturity is good, acidity is a bit down, but overall the stage is set for a potentially excellent year in Champagne. Quantity-wise yields look to be average, though the Pinot Meunier crop will be very small, it appears. Jérôme Coessens in Ville-sur-Arce reports that all is looking very good for his Pinot Noir there, and Clotilde Chauvet in Rilly-là-Montagne has cut her vacation short to get back in time for an early harvest to begin this week.
Burgundy saw record heat in June and July, and very little rain over the course of the season. Fortunately, it has cooled down and there’s been some rain in August, and the stage is set for a ripe and healthy crop. Many have already started picking Chardonnay in the Côte de Beaune, and most are talking about starting the Pinot Noir in the next few days.
Julien Sunier in Beaujolais says it’s “splendid” vintage down there, and he started picking his Gamay yesterday. Erell Ninot in Rully is ready to start tomorrow. Fabio Montrasi in Pouilly-Fuissé reports they’ll be starting tomorrow at Chateau des Rontets, happy to be harvesting under cooler temperatures and picking ripe fruit with acceptable acidity. Alexandrine Roy in Gevrey-Chambertin is set to start Friday with a “beautiful but small crop”, and Caroline Parent reports that they’ll be starting over the weekend in Vosne-Romanée for Domaine A-F Gros.
Watch this space for more photos and updates as things progress. Here we go!