good things come...
... to those who wait. It seems that maxim will hold true this year, as a later-than-usual harvest in Burgundy and Champagne will be delayed just a bit more. The vignerons who have the patience to wait look to be rewarded with better balance and more consistent ripeness, which is certainly not what one would have expected from this topsy-turvy growing season. Killer frost and hailstorms in the spring, followed by a cold and wet start to summer, followed by excessive heat and parched dryness in August and September has not led to uniform ripeness, to say the least. Some producers have parcels they will pick a week or more apart from the others. Within the same parcel multiple passes may be needed to harvest the fruit at full maturity, as some vines are now fully ripe and others still have some way to go.
In Champagne, the harvest is underway, though things are fully bass-akward from normal. Most are starting with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, as the Chardonnay seems to need more time yet. The Grand Cru villages of the Côte des Blancs are typically among the earliest to be picked, but will be among the last this time. British wine writer and Champagne resident Caroline Henry is on the ground with this fascinating early report, including the scoop on our guys at Georges Laval in Cumières. The early prognosis is very promising indeed...
In Burgundy most will fire up in the next week on the Côte de Beaune. Thiébault Huber in Volnay says he'll start on Saturday, Sunday for Patrick Essa at Buisson-Charles in Meursault and the same for Thierry Violot-Guillemard in Pommard. The Côte de Nuits should typically be a week or so later - I'll let you know when I have updates from Alexandrine Roy, Anne-Françoise Gros, Gilbert Felettig and J-J Confuron.
Two weeks from today I'll arrive in Burgundy with my filmmaking partner David Baker, to shoot the harvest and crush and a week's worth of filming for our Burgundy documentary feature Three Days of Glory. If you haven't seen the teaser yet, you can see some early footage and our IndieGoGo campaign here. Thanks for all of your amazing support for this exciting project - please join us if you can!
While in Burgundy on my subsequent trip in November, I'll be running the Hospices de Beaune Half-Marathon for the 4th time. It's a brutal, uphill course through the vines in Volnay, Pommard and Meursault, but this time I think I'm more prepared than ever. A couple of months back I started training with the Nike+ Run Club here in Portland, and it has completely transformed my running. I typically have always trained alone and run on my own, being a bit of a lone wolf by nature. I have found the program, top-notch coaching, and community to be amazingly helpful. Huge thanks to Coach Julia Webb and Coach Steve Edwards - I feel stronger than I've ever been and I'm loving it immensely. We got to run with one of my heros, Olympic marathoner Shalane Flanagan a couple of weeks ago. It was a struggle to keep up at even her slowest jogging pace, but what a thrill to run the streets of Portland with one of the world's best! Martha has been joining for most of the Nike runs, and we're enjoying running together more than ever. In short, I highly recommend it.
A few seats remain for our 11th annual La Paulée dinner in Portland on November 5th. Grab yours if you'd like to join us for our favorite night of the year!