• 2016: on roller coasters during the season, relief and happiness during the finish !

    A season everyone in the region will remember !
    Vinification and élevage
    Character and aging
    Tasting notes
    The scope of the frost that hit Burgundy late April is unheard of in a very long time. One has to call on the « old guys » to remember something similar: perhaps in 1945 ? This dramatic start was confirmed when it appeared that secondary buds would not compensate at all ... And vineyards which at first appeared unscathed showed smaller and fewer berries than normal.

    During a particularly humid month of May, a dawny mildew epidemic wreaked havoc. Certain vineyards seemed to literally "catch fire", with symptoms appearing in just 48 hours and reaching the grapes themselves. Usually, it is the leaves that take the hit. The vintner was under maximum pressure, and wondered even in June if he would be able to keep the diseases in check: powdery mildew also was beginning to pick up, who knew where it would end ?

    Then, a miracle: rain stopped almost completely, and July was fair, August warm and sunny ...At the beginning, it was taken as a respite, a pause in that crazy run to disaster, enabling people and equipment to rest. But as a warm and dry summer went on, questions shifted nature: how should we protect the berries from sun burns, are the vines evolving slowly because of the lack of water, should we harvest sooner than we thought ? Slowly, another type of vintage, definitely warmer, was taking shape, and with it, our mood shifted.

    The drought did not stop until late August. Even after that date, weather did not change much: it remained calm, temperatures were warm, and precipitations isolated, although sometimes abundant. Rain had been desired and indeed, it allowed the vineyards to restart the ripening process. But berries also increased in size (30 mm of rain in a few days just do not fall unnoticed), and it could have proved dangerous in the end if that messy weather had carried on. Fortunately, it was not the case, and with good weather back, concentration and ripening could resume.

    In the end, harvest started on September 26th, in ideal conditions.
    Harvesters picked very healthy grapes for the most part. There were one or two threatening episodes but in the end, no significant precipitations. It was a serene process, as much as this term can be used for a harvest ... But still, what a contrast compared to the agony we went through at the beginning of the year ! As if nature wanted to right itself ... Harvesting vineyards stricken by frost was indeed difficult: however few grapes there remained, they were difficult to find in vines which had regrown as bushes. A lot to do for a meagre result.

    In terms of quantities, there are huge differences between the vineyards. 

    It is now clear that before the frost, harvest potential was quite big. In Vosne Romanée, which was largely spared, we were surprised with rather high quantities. In vineyards stricken by frost however, there was no miracle, even if crops in general were on the higher end of our estimations. From Vosne Romanée on, yields decrease as you go towards Nuits St Georges. Clos Vougeot, in which we counted 50% of frosted buds, ends up with a crop just 25% lower than normal; the Chambolle 1er crus, heavily affected at 80%, still make a third of a normal crop, but Marsannay does not reach that level. In Corton, there is almost no crop at la Vigne au Saint, whereas Perrières and Clos Rognet, both located above the frost line, turn out a nice crop.

    Wines are often at, or over 13,5° alc. and taste fully ripe.

    Malo-lactic fermentations were quiet and un-eventful. They allowed the slightly aggressive finish felt after vinifications to mellow. The vintage has not turned too soft however, and acidities are at a good level, with pHs around 3.5, which shows a good balance.

    A very good surprise: the deepness that is now evident in these wines. A character they acquired during summer and their second autumn ... Beyond an evident charm, showing through their caressing and very soft texture, a good structure is detectable. Many cuvées show nice length, with a spicy finish, mineral even, that was not expected of such a ripe vintage. These are wines that storm with friendliness and display a joyful, forthcoming side, which erases all heaviness.

    2016 is not far from the concentration of 2015 !
    Who would have thought of such a result when we were so low at the end of June ?
    A comparison with 2006 is possible: the vintage is in the shadow of the glorious 2005, nonetheless, it was a ripe vintage, harvested also at the end of September, and that never closed. We wish the same fate to 2016 !

    The wines have not gone through a general tasting since their release but will be re-visited during the year 2023. 

    They offered very good tastings in their early youth but have tended to close down since. To be confirmed therefore and in the meantime, it is better not to open them too much...