A solar year !
Light and generosity
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
After a 2008 vintage whose birth was not the easiest but whose wines surprise us
today, the winemakers hoped for, dreamt about a little more serenity in the vineyards
for 2009. Today, we won’t hide our delight! The birth of this vintage has surpassed all
our expectations. Verily, the gods have granted our wishes. Is the series of climactic
events enough to translate, to explain the success of this vintage? Let us, together,
probe the depths of its genesis.
First of all, we have to remember that Burgundy is located at the crossroads of many
cultures and different climates! In all that they do, the winemakers must work with
these influences. 2009 was no exception to this rule. Impish from its very beginning,
it knew how to sow doubt in our minds, with weather notable for its many changes of
mood. It’s true, overall the weather was hot but this impression hides many nerve-
racking periods for us. The biodynamic processes and preparations then followed on
one from the other at a frantic pace. In fact, we had to wait for lasting and persistent
good weather, which only really arrived in the middle of August. It’s from this period
that we were really certain of the fabulous destiny of this 2009 year.
This slow maturity will, no doubt, give it rare balance and great generosity!
Déjà vu? In the spring, as has been the case more and more often these last years,
we saw very early budding. In Chapelle, the first buds were showing from the 7th of
April! Could this be a sign of global warming, already well described by IPCC*
experts? This was followed by a period in which temperatures increased suddenly,
provoking a very active spurt of growth!
In such conditions, flowering is quickly triggered. It was then disturbed by chaotic
climate events. This weather forced us to provide support at all times, with the
burning downy mildew and malicious oidium coming back to haunt us. The precocity
of 2009 at this stage was at the same level as the scorching summer of 2003!
The 21st of May 2009 is a date that will remain engraved in our memory!
Winemakers know they are exposed and that nature can sometimes be very cruel!
On this Ascension Thursday morning, while preparing my tractor to spend the next
day spreading that treasure that is biodynamic preparation 501, I noticed that the
atmosphere was heavy, and the sky very threatening. The storm broke out. In a
moment, the farmer that I am discovered that he is vulnerable… My wildest hopes
vanished! Fortunately, this storm, which filled us with foreboding dread – 40 mm of
water and some hailstones – only lasted a short time.
The immediate consequences were quite benign: we would just have to apply the
treatment with our boots on!
Hope was reborn but the pressure of diseases did not relent. Would we have the gift
Would we be able to train the vine, plough and treat, all at the same time? The battle
well under way but not yet won.
Nevertheless, in all things, misfortune is good! And this difficult end of flowering had
beneficial effect on our small grapes. Their development was limited and they
The yield of grapes was generous, but they stayed small and concentrated. Our
been granted! In addition, this large reserve of water would allow the vine to better
endure the drought that we were going to experience in August.
The natural balance on the eve of the harvest:
From the 7th of August, the vine enjoyed exceptional development conditions. This
situation allowed both quick ripening, which ended around the 15th of August, and a
long and slow maturing.
Beautiful weather for the eve of the harvest, Friday 11th September! Our happy team
was under starter’s orders! The buzz in the fermenting room was getting louder. Our
sorters, in contemplative mood, could only observe the genius of this magnificent
year! How beautiful and good these little Pinot grapes looked! Many of their berries
showed millerandage, their skins were thick, their pips were properly lignified and
their health near perfection! Truly, this vintage was stamped with the seal of the “9″!
The older amongst us remember the outstanding ’29 and the lavish ’59! For the
younger, all these little grapes remind us of the generous and radiating ’99! It was
time, at last, for the winegrowers to reap the rewards of all their hard work!
Vinification started in a calm and collected way. My father said to me: “look, you can
just see a nicely-coloured collar of froth with expressive aromas in the tanks.” This is
the sign of a sunny and generous vintage. The extraction, slow and steady, is
supported by a very progressive fermentation. This peculiar fermentation sequence
is a distinctive phenomenon that is observed when the berries are “roasted” in the
sun. The sugar is, in effect, held within the small grains and is only delivered very
gradually until the end of fermentation, giving the future wines a fine and racy
Now bottled, these wines delight us with their natural properties and their great
They are the bearers of the link that unites us to our place and they invite us, with
their great generosity, to share, to exchange and to harmony.