Friday, October 06, 2006

Vendage day one

After having arrived from Geneva the night before and been treated to an excellent meal by Bernard in a little restaurant in Gevrey, we awoke at a fairly tardy eight thirty for a traditional French breakfast of Croissants, Baguette and coffee, before Bernard collected us to take us to the cuverie in Chambolle Musigny. We kicked off straight away with the pigeage, with ed hopping into the Gevrey-Chambertin Clos de la Justice to do a bit of stomping.

While Ed was doing that, I was measuring the density's of the ferments using a mustometer. Each day we measured the density of each ferment and barrel of must to track their progress. Then mid morning the grapes for the bourgogne rouge arrived and we set-up the triage table and the giraffe to sort the grapes, removing the pourriture (rot). After that was done, we chaptalised two reds, the Volnay and the Cotes de Beaune. A small tank is filled with wine from the vats and we add a measured amount of sugar, stirring it constantly to ensure it all dissolves. Then it is pumped back over the skins to kickstart the fermentation. The last pigeage of the morning then took place before the very civilised practice of lunch. After a filling lunch we returned to the cuverie for a full afternoon of work. More grapes were arriving, some bourgogne and a small amount of the Chambertin. So again we set up the triage table and set about sorting the bad grapes from the good. Burgundy had suffered from hail early in the growing season, and this was evident from the bunches that came in with "red stones" as they called them. Dried out berries that had hardened as the damaged stems starved them of water and nutrients. The blackened stems were more prominent on the bourgogne grapes than the Chambertin, which overall was of a good quality this year, with great potential. After the triage, the equipment all needs to be thoroughly washed down before the final pigeage of the day. As we finished at 6:45pm and headed off to a small bar in Gevrey for a well earned beer with Christophe and Louis Jnr the clouds darkened and rain set in.

This was a worry for Louis, as the pickers had only brought in less than half of the grapes of Chambertin, and rain now, could cause problems if it diluted the grapes, not to mention the risk of rot. As we got ready for dinner the heavens opened and rain lashed down from the sky. As we dined that night with Louis Snr, Bernard and "Chef" Louis, their concern at the weather was obvious. We enjoyed a suberb dinner with some fantastic wines, including a very elegant Charmes Chambertin. The rain finally eased up late that night, but with frequent downpours during the night.

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