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Divins vins de Bourgogne

Two Seasons for the price of One : March to June 30th
July to September

Winter seemed to last for ever with copious snowfalls and the cold continuing well into march . However , at the end of that month and into April a heatwave set in with 28°C recorded in Beaune on 7th april . Echoes of 2007 some people said . despite some rainfall during night weekend 2nd april weather was otherwise dry The vines started shooting up and several growers forecast a harvest in mid to late August

The fine weather continued into April but a lull in the heat intervened during the 3 rd week of the month . Growth , however , kept on inexorably putting the growers under pressure to accomplish all the necessary tasks in time . Mildew and powdery mildew were almost absent and a number of growers reported not feeling the need to spray with copper given the excellent health of the vines .The “sortie” did not appear huge and the bunches were elongated and spaced out .

In May despite copious rain being recorded on thursday 12th and a cold , damp weekend of 14/15 May, the clement weather continued and numerous French departments , including the Cote d Or were on drought alert .

The flowering : the chardonnays started w/o 16th may with the Pinot Noirs following . Pleine fleur probably 20/21 may Hot fine weather set in (26 /28° C ) from 16th – 18th then a shower on Thurs 19 Thunder pm Friday 20 and heavy downpour Harvest predictions at that point were 25th AUGUST

June Fermeture de la grappe during a warm week 20th – 24th and on Sunday 26th 35° C ( 40°C in Dijon ) There were reports of scorched grapes especially in vineyards whose southern canopy had been thinned .On Monday mon 27 30°C followed by a Storm on Tues day 28th .

28 - 1 july nicely warm 22 – 24 ° C Wind prevailed

Rain fell on 7 th and 8th july Temperatures 22 – 25 ° C light rain sat 9th and am sun 10th

Whapping thunderstorm late on Tuesday 12th July lasted throughout the night Most of Rully got clobbered ( 90% leaves shattered with lacerated grappes ) along with 20/30% damage in Montagny . Givry , incredibly , was spared while there was some isolated damage in the southern Cote de BEAUNE

Rain has been the watchword throughout July with températures in the high teens / low 20s The vines seem to have reacted badly to the cold and the véraison is taking time to happen Several growers put back harvest date ( Bruno clavelier : 1st week september )
From mid july to 26th august we saw a roller coaster of rain + thunder interspersed with hot humid spells . Rainfall was almost double the norm between July and August
Hail was reported in Gevrey in late July
Saturday 20th : 24°C at 1 am

A blast of heat occurred on Sunday Monday 21/22 august 40° C with a warm week to follow Huge downpour all day Friday 25th then fine weather set in – somtimes heavy , humid from Saturday 26 for the next 10 days ! It was important again to sort the fruit

Harvest dates
LIVERA 03/09
ROCH 07/09
MILLOT 03/09
JADOT 30/08
VERDET 03/09
DAMOY 06/09

Earliest picking cote d or 22/08 Meursault

The vines seemed to wilt after 26/27 August : 100 days from flower Mildew set in and some vines were losing leaves

The acidities were on the low side and alcoholic degrees were not High Many growers reported that the grapes were phenolically ripe and there was no point waiting
Indeed rot became the principal threat .

Most malos appear to have finished early and initial tastings reveal a vintage with open alluring bouquets , plumpness on the palate in many cases and good freshness redolent of 2007 but with more depth and structure .

The whites similarly have open ripe bouquets with an easy approachability on the palate
Again comparisons have been drawn to 2007 but that vintage was more crystaline and firmer
Less of a 2007 and perhaps more redolent of 2000….Both colours appear to have picked up nervosity and zing during the élevage


Winter saw record cold , the lowest since 1985 : The BLACK FREEZE struck the weekend before Christmas 2009 During that saturday afternoon temperatures were around 4/5 ° C then plummeted to - 20°C representing a major shock for the vines Temperatures then remained at -5 – 10 for several days

March was cold & frosty

April : Easter fell early ( 2/3 april ) and was cold and rainy. The vines slowly started growing only 10 days later . Cool temperatures luckily restrained development of mildew There followed 15 cool days then a couple of hot balmy days but April was cold and rainy on the whole with disappointingly slow growth .

Early May saw low temperatures of almost 0°C in the mornings - 6° below the seasonal average .

The freeze of late December was reckoned to have affected up to 2% of the total Cote d Or acreage Some vines in lower areas and frost prone sites are either dead or in shock since the leaves didn t appear ( In Vosne near the ventilator a large plot has been totally replanted and there was damage in Nuits east of the Route Nationale and also in Meursault & Puligny wherever there is a road or embankment Dead vines were also reported in Gevrey Chambertin;

There seems to have been a spurt of growth during the week of the 24 may since many vines have been relevées . Last weekend in May saw a rainstorm . There was strong incidence of Powdery Mildew

June was rainy with peak flowering between 12 – 15 june . The rain seems to have affected the flowering since Pierre DAMOY recorded 80 mm and JM MIllot says that there will be a protracted ripening . Bunches are well aerated and millerandage has occurred quite extensively which points to low yields

The week of 21st june was hot with tempertatures reaching 25/28 ° C in afternoons .

From late june until the weekend of 23 rd july the pattern was hot (over 30°C) punctuated by heavy short downfalls Although in late july there was a return to normal seasonal temperatures , véraison occurred in early August but was drawn out given the protracted flowering

August : a few bright days but rain and humidity was the order of the month .

September :
Week 1 bright sunny and dry which helped ripening but there appears to be large differences in maturity according to the zone and indeed within the plots caused by the protracted flowering .
Week 2 rain and cool conditions According to BIVB sugar levels average : 178 gm / litre with acidities on the firm side at 7 gm / H2SO4
Heavy thunderstorm in Puligny on Sunday 12th may have caused growers to bring forward harvesting dates for the mid slope at least Sugar and acidity are barely moving
Week 3 ( 17 sept up to thurs 23 ) sunny and hot ( 27° ) in afternoons which seems to have turned vintage round Sugars are satisfactory at 194 gm/litre on average and good acidity at 6 gm /l with a nice dose of tartaric .

Harvest Dates : SEPTEMBER

Véronique Bernard Bonin 14/09 finished 22nd
Darviot 22 Voillot 22 Humbert 22 Damoy 2 dys in September 1 week in October Chavy 20 Sigaut 24 millot 24 Cognard 25 ( he had 12.6 alcohol and 3.15 ph in Montagny 1C Bassets on 17th !!)

Early tastings showed red wines with great colour and density and this seemed borne out by later sampings in Spring . Malos on the whole were slow and drawn out ( there was high malic acid in the musts ) July 11 Millot Humbert Dupont Tisserandot : latter 2 still mid – end malo but concentrated wines with structure

Most 2010 s were bottled between December 2011 and Spring 2012 The early promise appears to have been kept perhaps because the yields generally were low – 30 -35 hectolitres . The red wines have precise clear cut aromas and fresh , cool fruit . The wines are very concentrated and dense with great energy 2010 is also a superb white vintage with outstanding terroir definition and immense freshness The palates are rich and dense but foiled by imposing acidity and zing Personally I prefer them to the 2009s


Winter was the coldest since 1990 : - 5°C for almost 6 weeks

Budbreak was at Easter ie on /around the 15 April followed by rapid growth especially in May with sunny ,bright days with pronounced wind which were redolent of 1996 and 2005 . The last week of April was hot and little rain fell between mid may and end of that month .
No frost was recorded and the vines marched onto flowering in the Côte de Beaune around the weekend of 30 may – 2 june with the Cote de Nuits and Pinot Noirs slightly later . Stormy weather may have disturbed flowering and nights were cool which may have sparked the threat of Powdery mildew

At this time , the Initial predicted Harvest date was the 10TH September

On the 21st may a hailstorm hit Beaune and Savigny while in late May more hail hit Morey St Denis with minor damage in Clos de Beze and southern parts of Gevrey .

June and July were a mixed bag of weather conditions : on 22nd july at 3 am 24°C compared to a few days earlier 10/11° C during the night .We had one weekend with heavy rain on the 13/14 june

August on the whole was sunny and bright with a few showers and exceptional heat between the week of the 17th august with 3 days over 37°C . The weather cooled after that and the last weekend in August was fine and hot .

Some young vines and precocious plots were harvested on 31st August
The first weekend of september was also fine In addition fine sunny warm weather for harvest week of 07/09 Grapes harvested in afternoons should should have been left to cool or cooled down .

For information here are some of our suppliers harvesting dates Some harvesting dates :
Darviot 10/09
A TESSIER Mar 08/09
MILLOT 12/09
ROCH 14/09
Philippe CHAVY 07/09

Many growers reported virtually no rot with some some milleranded berries and volumes were very satisfactory . Alcoholic degrees were naturally high ( a good number of suppliers reported 13.5/14 % natural sugars ) and generally the fruit was phenolically ripe . It was a vintage without any real challenges for the growers since the growing season was clement and as long as a careful eye was kept on the vines and sprays and treatments carried out regularly the growers brought in sound , ripe fruit .

The vintage has yielded white Burgundies which will be ready to drink soon with generous flesh and rich layers . Depending on the harvesting date , some “cuvees” may be on the heavy side with a thick texture . It would seem that the 2009 vintage has produced better red wines . The wines are deep in colour with ripe fruit bouquets and almost luscious velvety textures . They have the extract and body to age but should be ready to drink by 2015 .


Winter was mild except December with freezing rain .

Easter was remarkably early 22 March with snow and rain but growth did not start then as it usually does . More snow fell on 7th April following a cold week with negative temperatures in the mornings . In general , April was cold and rainy which held back vegetation .

The first 15 days of May were warm and sunny with an almost tropical feel which caused a spurt in vegetation over the weekend of 10/11 may. Fears of mildew/powdery mildew abounded because of variations in temperature . Rainy cool The weekend of 17/18 was rainy and cool followed by rain and occasional thunder during the week of 19 – 23 echoed during the week of 26 – 30 Unstable . Growers apparently not worried about powdery mildew so far ; mildew perhaps

Growers reported a large potential crop especially in Chardonnay

The first 15 days of June were stormy and rainy including a big deluge on Tuesday 10 in the northern Cote de Nuits at Chenove . Pierre DAMOY knows a grower who lost 8 hectares out of 12 in Marsannay .
Temperature variations cause powdery mildew alerts .

Flowering : DARVIOT Chardonnay more or less over weekend 14/15 june Pinots dragging on Didier D Fleur 20th June Sunnier weather from Weds 18 thru Sun 22 Millerand in pinot Cote de Beaune and Nuits
Fine weather but humid until Tuesday 24 then fine , dry warm 28/30°C a Numerous vine leaves turned yellow caused by rain draining iron from the vines .

July : on the evening of Weds 2nd , a massive storm during night caused apparently little damage Amazingly high variations in temp night and day – 9°C then 25° C + … so mildew / odium threat the week of 7 - 11 was sunny but cooler and a rainy weekend followed on 12/13

Huge rainstorm + hail weekend 26/07 Meursault , Volnay midslope and Chorey hit . The vines were not making great progress.

N.B. growers had to spray at just the right time otherwise the rain caused them to have to return to the vineyard in order to maintain cover against mildew etc.

August Véraison just starting 4, 5 , 6 with topsy turvy weather : 22 nd rain all day then week 25 sunny which helped ripening

September was cooler People putting back harvest commencement dates

Wednesday 3 rain followed by heavy rain on Thursday 4 The weekend of 6 / 7 was fine while week 8 -12 was unstable

13 heavy rain all day and night AND FINALLY : 14 – 29 bright , sunny but cool (4 – 5° C at day break ) and Bize blowing
This phenomenon saved the vintage since the alcohol and acidity levels were far from ideal at the beginning of September . the combined effect of the north wind and sun really concentrated the crop .

Harvest dates
Crémant picking started Sat 20 th
V MICHELOT mon 22 / Ph CHAVY Mer 24 / D DARVIOT thurs 25 /

Degrees approaching 11 – 11.5 on 23 Sept but witness DARVIOT PERRIN 1ers crus finally 13 – 13.5 Chardonnay as usual accelerates at end of ripening same at SAUZET / A TESSIER /

JM MILLOT Vosne / Cote de Nuits 12° naturel Faulques / Issarts 5% rot healthy grapes

I suspect vast differences in phenolic and alcoholic ripeness especially in Pinot flowering was protracted so millerand grapes next to grapes apparently coloured but few anthocyanes when held up to the light BUT juice quite sweet : later flowering grapes which hadn t fully ripened ?
Differences also in colour of pips and stems .
Humbert said it was important to only leave 6 or 7 bunches to aid ventilation of the fruit and he eliminated 20% of substandard fruit .

Chassagne seems to have produced healthier grapes than Meursault or Pulgny ( influence of more organic growers in Meursault ??)

Yields lower than average Acidites high with PH 3 – 3.2 probably due to low tempratures of the growing season .
The key as in 2007 was to sort and sort unripe and rotten grapes .

The wines in general tasted “chunkily “ with a big splash of malic which didn t undergo malolactic until Spring 09 Indeed , many malolactics dragged on through spring 09 and generally finished early/ late summer .This made the 08 difficult to judge at the outset .However , once they shrugged off their malic cloak it became evident that some concentrated , weighty wines has been made The whites have an almost exotic feel which perhaps originated in the accelerated ripening at the end of the season.


Winter was mild with a cold snap in mid March ( - 6 ° C) for best part of a week
It reminded me of 1981 when the vines woke up very early and a vicious frost hammered the young shoots during the 3 rd week of April and a record 50% crop was produced : bulk rates were suspended in the Mâconnais . Let’s hope history wont repeat itself

Growing season seemed sluggish until Easter ( 7/8 April ) which unleashed a week of balmy weather ( Friday 13th April : 26° C in Beaune ) and the vines started growing furiously ( Didier DARVIOT : “3 weeks ahead of a normal year “) The entire month of April passed in glorious weather with temperatures over 25° C Needless to say the vines put on an unprecendented spurt of growth causing havoc with the usual timetable of sprays , ploughings and other tasks
For example rubbing out double buds and eliminating suckers is usually never done before the 3rd week of May ; this task commenced before the end of April !!

A thundery spell during the first weekend in May brought hail to St Aubin where the southern part of the vineyards came in for a battering .The first 10 days of that month were cooler with some rain I spotted the a flowering bunch in Vosne Romanée on 7th !! Flower passed end of the 3rd week of May If one applies the 100 day rule : HARVEST KICK OFF 3rd WEEK OF AUGUST and this time on a normal cycle unlike 2003 !

The first 2 weeks of May rainy with some thunder Despite the precipitation the water tables haven’t regenerated Most growers reported pleine fleur between 18th and 23rd May depending on situation and age of vines ; The weather was fine , sunny and hot on the whole ; some zones dragged on . Didier DARVIOT : Pinot Noir flowering happened quickly Chardonnay later and some vineyards appeared to have “coulé”

June : Topsy turvy : An old adage reads “ If rain on St Médard (8th June ) we deplore , expect 40 days more “ ! Well rain was deplored that day but the 11th – St Barnaby - was drier in the afternoon at least put another saying to the test : “ St Barnaby repairs St Médard’s dispair “ Notwithstanding on Sunday 10 a hefty storm hit Chassagne and Beaune ( Belissands and Avaux ) from 12 - 15 June flash storms alternating with bright but humid intervals in afternoons There was risk of mildew and growers couldn’t enter vineyards with tractors to plough because of mud . Growers unsure of outcome and vascillating as to harvest date 15 – 30th / 1st week September

Small hail damage in Meursault 1er Crus on Monday 9th
Rain storms virtually every day until 11th July while the waning moon on Thursday 12 july brought more stable weather w/e of 14 sunny and hot as the Tour de France wove its way through the Hautes Cotes via St Aubin and Chagny ! Overall rain and cool temperatures throughout July

August Weekend 4 /5 was extremely hot then a relapse into humid cool conditions ; I tasted Bruno Clavelier’s Corton Rognet grapes and found them to be “ vif “

Weekend 11 12 rain then Week 13 – 17 Cool and damp

Harvest Bans Chablis 01 /08
Saone et Loire : 08 /08
Pouilly Fuissé 15/08
Cote de Beaune Bans 13 th August
Beaujolais 25 /08

Michel ECARD started on Thurs 23 : 11°3 ?? in Peuillets & Narbentons some dry rot tri 30% !

Seems to be big differences between grapes on same bunch AND between different vineyards and growers

Tasting grapes in Puligny Merusault Beaune many pips green and juice on acidic side

HARVEST : DARVIOT Samedi 1 / Sept / CHAVY Merc 29 Aug / HUMBERT Ven 31 Aug DAMOY SAM 8 Sept / ROCH Jeudi 6 Sept / Chr VIOLOT : Lundi 3 Sept

Weekend 25 – 26 Aug fine sunny

Fine settled weather during w/o 3 sept 20 – 22 ° sunshine Slight gain from concentration but fin de cycle Necessary to sort Pinots loss of 25 /30 %

B CLAVELIER : Early vines more subject to rot because rain in July weakened skins Hence normally sound vineyards affected 11. 5 - 12 degres Some Rot not serious No anti rot

J marchand 12 a 13 degres Musts clean fresh and balanced treated at right time picked wo 3 sept 10% rot sorted Reported bunches with ripe unripe overripe and dried grapes !! Dupont tiss 11.5 - 12.5 degres little rot sorted new machine that delivers whole grapes to vats not a lot of juice started 3 sept finished 12th sunny No rain since 1 sept

Damoy ripest pips seen started 8 Sept will make a vendanges tardive clos de beze 24 September Detached easily from the pith Very thick skins very good fruit 2002 en + rond

Carence magnesium : rain activates potassium which prevents plant from absorbing magnesium giving Red leaves

Maturity seems to have come very late : the Chardonnays were dragging their feet
Mid August 8 % Alc and high acidity Although it rained on 29th August a fine period then set in until 3 rd week September with little or no rain Concentration helped .

Cote de Beaune reds appear to have suffered most from rot Cote de Nuits less so

There was a high level of malic acidity at the beginning . Tastings of a number of whites after malos seem to confirm a nervosity and perhaps a lack of charm ( 1993 ?)

The fine weather at the end of the growing season definitely helped maturity

The whites are now showing more flesh and weight than during malos and they have a fine beam of acidity with clean , zippy finishes . The terroirs are very well defined .

The reds I have sampled appear clean , round and forward and will probably be ready to drink early since the fruit is very expressive and pure . No one would have thought such tender wines could have been made during the growing season but 2007 has proved again that serious growers can produce sound fruit in adverse vintages and hence good wine

This is not a vintage that will close down for aging like 2005 It will be a crowd pleaser right from the start .

Michael Stephens Blog
Bouchon de vin de Bourgogne
When a conscientious grower cultivates a prime vineyard site and also has a solid grounding in methods of vinification and ageing wine, a more...
Cultivates a prime vineyard site and also has a solid grounding in methods of vinification and ageing wine, a more authentic, more character...
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