October 1, 2010 Martine

When I arrived in Burgundy at the end of August, no one was very cheerful. After a very cold winter, some of the vines had died, a frost had formed during flowering which greatly reduced the future crop, and a lot of millerandage occurred. Millerandage clusters at Domaine Perrot-Minot Then, after a scorching heat-wave from the end of June to mid-July, the weather turned rather cool and wet. Vineyards were stricken with mildew and odium. Everyone was hoping for a great month of September to ripen the grapes. There is a saying:  “September makes the wine…”…

October 15, 2008 Martine

Every one talks about the year of the 13 moons greatly affecting the climate: too hot, too wet, too stormy, too cold. In fact, this is a year of uncontrollable weather affecting every region of France. I arrived in Burgundy on September 1st, having calculated the dates of my trip according to the date of blooming season. If you add 90 days, you get almost the correct date of harvest. Mildew affected vineyard in Vosne-Romanée Well, it was all wrong. The summer was wet and cold until September 8th. Every one was depressed. Some even had hale…

October 4, 2007 Martine

Dominique Cornin’s vineyard in Chaintré There is a saying in Burgundy “Septembre fait le vin,” September makes the wine. It applied in 1978 when the entire summer was overcast with cool temperatures, and by the end of August, the grapes looked like little green English peas.  This year, as the growers came back from their short vacation in anticipation of an early harvest, they were depressed, totally undone, almost desperate. The weather had been cool, grey, and rainy with a low of 10° C and a high of 15° C. Jean Thévenet…

September 25, 2006 Martine

A relatively cold and wet winter, followed by a late spring with no frost… a blooming season on schedule… it seems that no one had to worry!  July was scorching, then August was cold, overcast and wet, with unseasonably cool temperatures from the Mediterranean coast to Chablis. Upon my arrival in Macon, I immediately wanted to hear about the harvest from Dominique Cornin.  He was a total pessimist, complaining that veraison had stopped because of the cold weather in August, and that after two days of heavy rain, mildew had developed.  By September 6th, the temperature had risen to 90˚F…

October 1, 2005 Martine

In mid-June, I started to inquire about when to anticipate the next harvest.  June is the month of blooming grapes.  If temperatures are correct and there is no rain, flowering can last two weeks. However, if the temperature drops, or if it rains, then blooming will be interrupted, which will delay the maturity of the grapes, thus flowering will happen in two stages. Emmanuel Rouget, Henri Jayer’s nephew, reminded me of the white Lily prophecy.  It so happens that the Lily blooms about the same time as the vine. They are everywhere with their fragrant smell and beautiful tall flowers….

September 15, 2004 Martine

At the end of August, the outlook was grim. Following the flowering, the cool nights of June led to oidium (powdery mildew). July was wet. August was overcast and cool, which meant no luminosity—so necessary for the ripening of the grapes. Then, two major hail storms unfurled over Pommard and Volnay, all the way to Marsannay devastating vineyards and causing 10% to 80% damage to the vines. On the positive side, the wet winter that followed the severe draught of the Summer of 2003, revived the severely damaged but shallow-rooted younger vines. It seemed to be a promising normal crop…

October 1, 2003 Martine

I arrived in Mâcon on August 25th, anticipating that the harvest would start on September 1st –already at least two to three weeks earlier than customary.  The hot weather began in mid-June and was still in the mid-nineties when I arrived. There were no green meadows on the Beaujolais and Mâconnais hillsides, just burnt trees here and there.  Only the vineyards painted striking green patches in the California-like landscape! As you know, vines have deep roots. The older the vine, the longer the roots, sometimes reaching up to 50 feet, allowing them to get nutrients and water. [caption id=”attachment_1773″ align=”alignright”…

September 23, 2002 Martine

It is always premature to proclaim the quality or mediocrity of a vintage before it is crushed and resting in a cask.  However, the 2002 vintage shows, in every way, the promise of a sensational vintage and here is why: On September 10, I witnessed horrendous storms in the Rhône Valley (I will give you a briefing later on that region) and some very unusual and spotted thunderstorms in Burgundy, but nothing in comparison. Burgundy had a Spring without frost and an early blooming season that slowed down with cooler weather, allowing some millerandage (great). Véraison started mid July with…

October 1, 2001 Martine

Following six months of constant rain, cool weather and a wet Spring, the vines started to grow rapidly in May and blossomed in mid-June. July was wet and August stormy with, at times, very warm temperatures reaching 100°F. A terrible hail storm mostly localized in Volnay but also affecting adjacent Monthélie and Meursault, devastated most of the vineyards. Depending on their location, some bunches were severely bruised. The rest of Côtes-de-Beaune and Côtes-de-Nuits were without major incident and, because a lot less rain fell in the Gevrey-Chambertin area, the condition of the grapes was clearly much healthier. From the beginning…