Bad to the Beaune...
We're settling into life here in Beaune - three weeks in and it's starting to feel like we're in a nice rhythm. The apartment already feels like "home", we've got a nice routine with our various running trails and the track nearby, we've got our bakery and food vendor preferences pretty much dialed in, and it all feels really good.
My girls have found a nice yoga studio just down the block, have checked out one of the local wine-tasting seminars, and Martha took the wonderful cooking class at the Cook's Atelier which is just around the corner. Our friends Marjorie and Kendall have built a thriving enterprise here - I'm so happy for them.
More thoughts on vintage 2017 here. It was solidly excellent pretty much across the board in the Côte d'Or, with the quantity of the whites down a bit due to the spring frosts, but most people are reporting a "normal" sized crop - meaning what "normal" used to mean before the last decade of tiny crops. The one caveat is that in an attempt to make up for a lot of lost crop from the last several years, some producers may have yielded to temptation and let a too-heavy crop hang, resulting in a potential lack of concentration. The better producers all reported "correct" yields - 2.5-3.5 tons per acre for the Pinot, but I'm afraid there are some who went way overboard. It's a potentially superb vintage, but it seems there will be variability due to excessive yields on the part of some producers.
Chablis suffered massive losses again this year - we'll be heading up there on Sunday to see Fred & Céline Gueguen and get all the scoop. Then we'll spend all of next week in Champagne. The word there is that the Chardonnay was superb, but quantity was less than hoped for. The Pinot Noir and the Meunier suffered from some serious mildew and rot attacks late in the season, and had to be sorted severely. Aurélien Laherte reports sorting out nearly 50% of his Meunier in Chavot.
What makes the better producers better? Diligence, vigilance, never being willing to just "let things go" - the best of the best are on TOP of it at all times, dedicated and focused and determined. While running through the vines from Volnay back to Beaune on Sunday morning, we ran into my old boss Robert Drouhin, head of Maison Joseph Drouhin here since 1957. Robert officially "retired" in 2003, but there he was at 8am on a Sunday morning, out inspecting his blocks of Beaune Clos des Mouches post-harvest, taking pictures and trying to figure out why one block had leaves that were turning redish-brown well before the others. The man in his 80s, and he's still ON it. Quite an inspiration - no slacking allowed!
My co-producer-director David Baker and I are making nice progress on the final phases of our Three Days of Glory documentary - nothing is locked in yet, but it's looking like we may be having a sneak-preview screening (of a "nearly-finished" film) here on Nov. 19th - more details soon...