Information about the vintages:
2020, A PEACEFUL YEAR… AT LEAST IN THE VINEYARD
The budburst arrived early after a mild and wet winter. Then the vine changed rapidly. Everyone remembers the outstanding weather conditions we have had during the first lockdown (from mid-March until mid-May in France) …
A short period of frost arrived on the first days of April with temperatures around -2°C/-3°C. Hopefully, the atmosphere was very dry, so the risk remained small. We did not have to use protection systems and there were no damages in the vineyard.
The growth kept going, very regular and still rapid during the whole season. Each time, the rainfalls arrived at the right time, followed by good weather periods. And the usual diseases (mildiou and oïdium) remained silent. The perfect season!
At the end of July unfortunately, two very warm days (more than 40°C) made significant damages in Chablis, roasting the grains. In Rully, the Chardonnay resisted rather well while the Pinot suffered a lot from the drought with problems of withered berries.
Regarding the quantity, we went from a good (even very good) harvest to an average one.
The young vines particularly suffered from the drought and the roasting while the old ones, deep-rooted, did very well.
As expected regarding the flowering date and the whole season, we had incredibly early harvest in Rully where we have started on August 24th to finish on the 28th. In Chablis, we have picked from September 1st to 8th.
There is a more significant gap than usual between the two areas. In Chablis, the rain on the 3rd week of August has helped to rebalance the situation and has delayed a bit the maturity date.
Just like last year, the fermentation started very quickly and went through without problems…
Qualitatively, the vintage 2020 has a style very closed to 2019, an excellent balance acidity/alcohol, a very good texture, structure and certainly a great potential for ageing.
On the reds, the outstanding maturity gives a concentration a bit higher than usual while remaining on a good balance.
2019, A RATHER CALM SEASON AND A STRUCTURED VINTAGE
After a mild and little rainy winter, the buds begun to grow at the beginning of April. And, as often in such cases, we had the first spring frost events on April 5 in Rully and during 4 nights, April 12 to 15, in Chablis. The damages were moderate, mostly located on the lower part of the slopes which is characteristic of spring frosts.
In the following time, the vine has grown continuously and regularly. Rainfall just before the flower and mild temperatures have resulted in a great flowering with very low shatter. The full flowering happened mid-June so this year was just a little bit early compared to the average.
During the whole season, the weather has remained very dry but our vines have not suffered from that. Thanks to the ploughing, the roots can find the necessary resources in depth.
At the end of July, the temperatures have reached 40°C during one week and this may have caused drying effects on the side facing the setting sun. On the concerned parcels (hopefully not the majority!), the loss was around 20%.
Thanks to this hot and dry climate, we did not have to spray a lot to protect the vineyard and the sanitary state was outstanding. This enabled us to serenely wait the perfect maturity before harvesting.
The harvests started on September 11 in Rully and September 13 in Chablis.
We have observed more homogeneity on the maturity of our different parcels; the gap between the earliest and the latest was less important than usual. So, the harvest took place quickly with a minimalist sorting related to the perfect sanitary condition. Regarding the yields, we are on medium volumes (losses due to the frost, the low juice yield and the drying effects).
The musts were easy to settle thanks to the maturity, just about right without excess.
The alcoholic fermentations, always with natural yeasts, started quickly and went regularly. It has been easy also for the malo.
In the end, the 2019’s have a very beautiful structure; they have the frame of the 2017’s and the pleasant style of the 2018’s. But they need more ageing and time than the 2018’s.
The whites are characterized by their strength and their structure, matched to a great minerality in the finish for the Chablis’, and to very pleasant notes of ripe fruits for the Rully’s.
The reds are showing a great concentration with nice aromas of red fruits, very typical of the pinot noir.
2018, THE UNEXPECTED VINTAGE THAT WE WERE ALL WAITING FOR…
We have had a rather cold winter (particularly in February) but above all very rainy. A lot of sources, dried for years, have resurfaced.
The disbudding is observed quite lately in April and we have got through few spring frosts during the same month. Then thanks to the nice climate, the vine has caught up and the vegetative cycle has really speeded up; the first green leaves were visible at the end of April.
In May, the weather has remained very nice and the growth very steady. We have made the first tying-up at the end of May and we could observe the first flowers early June which is very early. On the first half of June the situation has been a bit tenser with a wet weather, very favourable for mildew.
Hopefully, the good weather went back mid-June and has stayed until the harvest, even later.
We have had few thunderstorms with heavy rains during the summer; but, each time, they were immediately followed by a dry, hot and windy weather so the vegetation was not staying wet. The sanitary state has been just perfect, which is exceptional on our northern vineyards.
Just before the harvest, we were all worried about the juice yield that we were expecting rather low due to the very dry summer.
Finally, this 2018 harvest has been fantastic in every way: an outstanding quality with a perfect sanitary state and so, a minimal sorting; and an unexpected quantity, with good yields but that remain reasonable on our perspective to reach a good quality.
We have begun harvesting on Sept 3rd in Rully and Sept 5th in Chablis for respective durations of 6 and 10 days. On Sept 15th everything was in with an optimum maturity and still good acidities.
The alcoholic fermentations, all with natural yeasts, have started very quickly and were rather turbulent. But they went on for a long time and some just finished at the beginning of 2019.
The whites are very gourmand with a quite round profile and a finish that has become finer and tenser during the ageing. The reds are showing very nice colours and great fruity notes. The wines are already very nice to taste even on their youth.
2017, A QUALITATIVE VINTAGE
BUT VERY DIFFERENT QUANTITIES BETWEEN WHITES AND REDS
January was quite cool with sub-zero temperatures, which have undoubtedly helped to sanitize the soils after a very strong pressure of the diseases in 2016.
The pruning was finished early, which enabled us to plough from the beginning of March in very good conditions in order to prepare the soils at best.
At the end of March, the temperatures rose to 20°C, which led to an early and quick budburst and at the beginning of April, the first leaves were already visible.
From the 18th of April, the weather changed with very cold nights, the temperatures dropping to -4/-5°C in some areas. All in all, we had 8 nights with frost on the Chablis area, causing huge damages despite all the protections (water spraying, candles, straw). The spraying has been used during the 8 nights. We have lit the candles and then the straw for 3 nights the first week and 2 nights on the second week.
In May, the parcels that did not freeze went on with their growing cycle, while the other ones started one month later. That gap caused problems to organize the work in the vineyard.
The flowering started at the beginning of June, which is really early. Then we realized that the vines that were not visibly frozen in April were even so damaged and the flower abortion was quite considerable.
The pressure of diseases was much less serious than in 2016, notably thanks to a fine month of June, even very warm on some days. These heat peaks (more than 35°C) happened again several times in the summer, causing some roasting damages on Chardonnay.
The harvest that promised to be very early considering the flowering date, finally started a few days later due to a cloudy weather in July and August.
While we expected to begin in very early September, we finally started the harvest on the 4th of the month in Rully and the 11th in Chablis, so with a larger interval than usual.
The very hot days at the end of August were good for the maturity however this heat dried the grape (on Chardonnay) resulting in a historically low juice yield. On the Chablis and the white Rullys not hit by the frost, we had more grapes than in 2016, but the crop quantity was lower due to a lower quantity of juice.
Regarding the red wines, the quantity was not affected as the Pinot Noir is less heat sensitive. The sanitary state was perfect with almost no sorting to do.
In the end, for the Chablis, 2017 is a vintage with fine typicity and structure.
The white Rully’s show great concentration and substance.
And, for the reds, we have a great crop, in term of quality as well as quantity.
2016, A PAINFULL SEASON BUT A SUCCESSFUL VINTAGE
The wintertime had been particularly mild without snow, without real frost. Mildness and dry weather in December then we have had a lot of rain during January and February.
In March, the dry weather came back so we have made the first ploughing on very good conditions. Thanks to the cool temperatures, the vine did not evolve too early.
Unfortunately, winter was not completely gone. During the night between the 26th and the 27th of April, the temperatures felt to -2°C with a very high humidity. The damages were visible from the next day in Chablis as in Rully. This frost was particular as it has struck a large area, on sensitive sectors but also on usually preserved places.
Then the elements have been particularly unfavorable till the end of the season. The hail has impacted the Chablis area very severely twice, on the 13th and the 27th of May.
In the same time, the incessant rain during the spring has led to a very bad flowering and an incredibly high pressure of mildew. In early June, after very wet weeks and a pressure of mildew at the highest, we were spraying almost twice a week with cupper and sulfur without results. Considering the losses already caused by the frost, it was unthinkable for us not to take all possible measures in order to contain the mildew. So we have made several conventional treatments to limit the evolution of the fungus. Therefore, we have lost the certification from vintage 2016 to start again 3 years of conversion. It has been a very difficult decision to take but, on our opinion, it was necessary in order to preserve a minimum of crop.
Then, in August, the heat and the dryness we had expected so much finally arrived but on a sudden and intense way which have caused dehydration and roasting on the grapes;..
Each of these events has led to a loss more or less important regarding the areas. So we were prepared to make a historically low harvest. Unfortunately, that is what happened, even worse than planned. For us, the crop loss is around 70%. The average loss for the whole Chablis area is around 50%.
In Rully, the season was the same except the hail. The volumes are a bit reduced on the reds (-30%) and 50% less on the whites.
There is hopefully a positive point (and not the slightest): the good quality of this vintage 2016 which combines maturity and balance on the whites; silky tannins and great depth on the reds.
2015, THE GOLDEN VINTAGE
The winter 2014/2015 was rather mild (too mild!) except for few days of frost in early January.
The budburst occured at the end of March/beginnig of April which is on the average. All along spring, thanks to the mild temperatures, the growth was very steady.
The flowering happened at the beginig of June with excellent weather conditions.
And, last but not least, due to the very small rainfalls, the pressure of diseases has remained at a low level.
June and July were very dry. Then in August, the rainfalls just before veraison have really speeded up the evolution of the grape.
In 2015, we have finally had an easy season.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of September, a very big stormed has falled on Chablis with more than 100 mm of rain on few hours and hail.
Luckily, our parcels haven't been damaged by hail. But the storm has considerably accelerated the maturity and obliged us to bring forward the date of harvest.
So we have begun to pick on the 4th of September in Chablis as well as in Rully.
From the first pressing, the must have shown a great concentration with fruit aromas.
By harvesting early, we have preserved the perfect balance of the juices.
The alcoolic fermentations have begun very quickly but went on for a long period. This is a positive point as it makes a natural and soft batonnage.
In early December, on some wines, the fermentation was still going on. The malolactic fermentations have begun naturally, just after all the sugar has desappeared
so at the beginnig of January.
After the malo, the wines were showing a very nice dynamism and this even if the acid malic content was low.
To sum up, 2015 is a very greedy vintage, with a good freshness and a very nice complexity of aromas.
2014, A VERY TYPICAL VINTAGE
January and February were very humid without being really cold. This absence of frost had a direct consequence on the pest populations which thrived. At the beginning of March, the weather completely changed and a very nice sunny period began with also rather high temperatures for the season. The budburst arrived earlier than usual and went off quickly.
So, at mid-April, the vegetation was 3 weeks earlier than an average year. The consequence of this earliness: few spring frost damages at mid-April in some parcels.
In May, we have had a cooler weather, also more humid and so the growth slowed down considerably. So we were back to an average year in terms of vegetative cycle.
The flowering was very fast, due to high temperatures. After the never ending flowering in 2013, this quickness seemed promising. However we then realized that this year again, the flower abortion had made damages, caused seemingly by the high temperatures.
The summer went on without notable event and the pressure of both mildew and oïdium remained low.
September took place in perfect weather conditions, with bright light and high temperatures. Yet the maturation process occurred very slowly. So we had to wait for the sugars to increase but above all for the acidity to decrease.
Thus, the harvest that promised to be very early, in the end only started on the 12th of September in Rully and on the 17th of September in Chablis.
The 2014 crop is medium-sized, indeed much bigger than 2013, but smaller than 2009 or 2011.
Regarding the alcoholic fermentation, we work with natural yeasts. Therefore the fermentation is usually quite slow. This year, it started very quickly and ended as well.
In terms of style, there is a fine mineral substance, very typical of Chablis. This is a vintage that requests work in the cellar with batonnages, which we did not have to do since the 2010 vintage.
Regarding Rully, we also have a high quality, with a good balance for the white wines and a fine substance for the red ones.
2013, A HARD YEAR BUT A SUCCESSFUL VINTAGE
If the 2012 season was hard, it was only a foretaste of 2013 ! A consultant in “biodynamie” pointed out from the beginning of the season that 2013 would be difficult on the cosmic level. And the planets kept their pomises …
Winter was cool and very wet with, at the beginning of the year a very cold period with a freezing wind that made the work quite hard. Spring started alike:coolness and wetness, that delayed the budburst around 10 days.
We had to make a first treatment quite soon, not because of an early growth of the vine, but because of frequent and significant rainfalls. In Rully, we had to make the first treatments carried on the back, on the plots situated at the bottom of slope, because the ground was unsuitable for tractor.
The flowering started mid-June (so more than 10 days later than usual) and finished at the end of the month for the latest areas. Then the season was punctuated with wet and dry periods that hopefully helped to stop the evolution of diseases (mildiou and oïdium).
We noticed the first sign of “veraison” mid august, which was a sign of late harvest. (NB : the “veraison” is the change of colour of the grape ; easy to notice on red grape, it is less noticeable on white grape). In September, the weather was rather correct though the temperatures were almost too high considering the wetness. At that precise time we assessed the consequence of flower abortion, due to the very bad weather conditions during the flowering.
The harvest started at the beginning of October. Indeed, we had to wait enough for the acidities to decrease and for the grape to get a good balance. The weather conditions, hot and wet, helped to speed up the maturation. The sanitary state also evolved quickly, but not as expected. So we harvested on a very short time so as to bring the grape in at the best time.
In the end, the 2013 harvest is the smallest one we have ever had in the last 30 years. However, the musts were very concentrated (probably due to the small yield) and showed a fine aromatic complexity. Greedy and pleasing, the wines taste very well even young.
2012, A STRUCTURED AND COMPLEXE VINTAGE
This season 2012 could be summarized by its extreme difficulty.
From May to July, we had very frequent rainfalls with a permanently humid atmosphere. This has generated a particularly strong pressure of cryptogamic diseases (mildiou at the beginning of the season and then oïdium at the end) on a very long period. So we had no respite all along the season.
Of course, the situation was even more difficult in organic farming. But I think we have done really well and the vineyard was showing a very good sanitary state except on few specific areas very sensitive to mildiou.
The very sunny and hot month of August helped us of course by stopping the evolution of the diseases and by accelerating the maturation process very slow till then. But the few very warm days at mid August with temperatures over 40°C have caused problems of roasted bunches. These damages are all the more important as we are disbudding a lot in order to have a better aeration around the bunches and a better exposure.
Since the beginning we have had almost no rain and the first significant rainfall arrived on the 13th of September. It was necessary to allow the grape to finish its maturation on good conditions.
The first analysis and tastings of the grapes lead us to expect a very qualitative vintage.
The maturation of the grape took place on very goodconditions: the potential alcohol was increasing gradually while the acidity was reducing proportionally. The small rainfalls during the second part of September were very positive for the balance between sugar and acids on the juices.
From the first analysis before harvest, we knew the yields would be low as the berries were not juicy. Unfortunately, this prediction was confirmed under the press all along the harvest with yields 20 to 40% lower than normal. So the quantity is small but the quality is really great; it is a very nice surprise regarding the difficult season we have had.
The alcoholic fermentations began very slowly; the natural yeasts took more than 10 days to begin the fermentation. Once started, the fermentation occurred regularly.
The 2012’s are characterized by their complexity and their beautiful structure.
2011, A DELICATE AND AROMATIC VINTAGE
The winter humid and cool (but not cold) was also very gloomy during December and January.
At the end of March, the very good weather and the high temperatures have lead to a very early budbreak of the vegetation. This climate keeps the same during April and May and so the vine has grown regularly. But, because of the lake of water, we haven’t noticed any speeding up of the growth.
On the 20th of May, we have observed the first flowers so an advance of 3 weeks compared with an average situation.
At the end of June, the weather changed, the temperatures got cooler and one rainy phases followed another. The summer 2011 was really not great and the harvest, initially planned at the end of August, have been delayed for one week.
We began picking on the 2nd of September in Rully and the 5th of September in Chablis. It was very important not to rush. However, the acidities were decreasing rather quickly but the level of sugar was not raising in proportion. So we had to wait…but not too much !
Before the malolactic fermentation, the wines already had a great aromatic presence. After the malo, they have become more refined and they gained a very good persistancy.
2011 is a very pleasant and seducing vintage, with a very nice aromatic complexity and a fantastic delicacy on the finish.
2010, A HARD STILL VERY PROMISING VINTAGE
After a cold and harsh winter with several snowfalls, the spring remained fresh.
The vegetation started very late; the first leaves could only be seen at the beginning of May.
Then, all along the season, the weather conditions were very hard, which did not make the work in the vineyard easy, and all the more in organic farming.
The flowering took place under low temperatures with several rainy periods. Consequently it brought an important millerandage. Moreover the flowering lasted quite long time which resulted in differences in term of maturity in the plots.
The summer was also chaotic. A very hot time at the end of june – beginning of july allowed to limit the pressure of diseases and then the weather was ever changing all summer long with frequent rainfalls.
The harvest started on the 20th of september in Rully and then on the 23rd of september in Chablis, so a little sooner than expected, but lasted quite a long time. Indeed, we had to take into account the development of maturity of each parcel in order to harvest at the right time. Despite the frequent rainfalls along the season, the juice yield was very low, about the same as in 2003. It can be explained by the great quantities of grape berries heat by millerandage.
The alcoholic fermentations lasted quite a long time. The first tastings that followed showed a fine structure and a great concentration and yet the wines were reserved. The potential, even if present, could not express.The wines did not reveal until late and long malolactic fermentations: fine and powerful wines, elegant and racy.
2009, AN EXPECTED AND GREAT VINTAGE
On 2009, the budburst was quite early. Then after a short cool period, we have had a long sunny time around the end of May. So the vine has grown quickly.
The first flowers were seen at the beginning of June which is early with an advance of 10 days compared to the average. Then the flowering took place rather slowly.
In June and July, we have had important rainfalls which has complicated the work in the vineyard for both the maintenance of the soils and the protection against cryptogamic diseases.
2009 was our first vintage 100% organic on Chablis and Rully as we were on our first year of certification under the control of Ecocert. The pressure of diseases was really outstanding for both mildew, oïdium and grappe worms. It is rare that the 2 diseases appear at the same time as the requested conditions for these 2 fungus are not the same. But, in 2009, the optimum conditions for each of them have alternated during the season maintaining a maximum of pressure. Despite of this difficult context, we have maintained a good sanitary state.
In August, the weather has improved and remained good in September.
We have begun harvesting on saturday 12th of September in Rully and then on wednesday 16th of September in Chablis.The harvest took place with a nice weather: a real harvest weather, misty in the early morning and sunny during the day.
From the harvest, the potential of the vintage was perceptible. This opinion has been confirmed and accentuated during the ageing. The 2009 are characterized by their beautiful structure, their balance and their saltiness -very typical of Chablis- on the finish. They are really on the same line than 2007 and 2008 for their typicity and their elegance.
2008, A WELL BALANCED VINTAGE
As the previous year, 2008 has been a very difficult year regarding the climate, and that from the flowering. Indeed, the irregular temperatures during that time caused a rather important flower abortion.
However, unlike 2007, we had a regular growth, without any rush.
July and August were very perturbed with heavy and frequent rainfalls.
The situation was all the more delicate as we have turned this year all the Rully’s domain and the Côte de Lechet of the Chablis’domain to organic farming (the official conversion for both domains has started on 2009).
It is nevertheless a fact that 2008 was probably the worst year –considering the climate- to begin an organic program. The rain has indeed caused a very high pressure of all the vine diseases and has also complicated the work because the soils were wet. One example: with the ploughing, you can eliminate the weeds without using weedkillers. On a wet year, the weeds are growing more but ploughing is more difficult to make without packing down the soils. The problem is the same for the protection of the vineyard: the sulphur and the copper used in organic farming have a weak persistence which means they are leached by the rain. So, in case of frequent showers, it is necessary to intervene regularly with always the concern for not packing down the soils.
The veraison developped very slowly.
After this difficult summer, September has fortunately been dry and windy. A very present North wind has dried the clusters and the vegetation. Because of this, we have observed phenomenon of berries dehydration and so the concentration of the flavours and the sugars.
We have finally brought in a very good quality that we did not hope any more at the end of August. The yields are small but the wines are very structured and balanced. The vintage 2008 is on the same style than 2002 with a very beautifulstructure, fruit and a great minerality on the finish.
As 2007, the vintage 2008 has requested a lot of work and attention in the vineyard but also in the cellar. Malolactic fermentations, particularly slow, developped naturally at the end of the spring and at the beginning of the summer 2009. Besides, we have used a new process allowing to put the lees back in suspension in the tanks without pumping, according to the technique of stirring of the lees.
2007, A VERY TYPICALVINTAGE
The autumn 2006 and then the winter 2006/2007 were very mild. Because of this, the budburst intervened early from the second week of April.
Besides, this month of April has been the one of all the records in terms of heat and sunshine. The records have even been beaten at the end of the month with temperatures worthy of a month of July with maximum between 25 and 30°C. The obvious consequence is a very fast growth of the vine with 2 to 3 new leaves per week. The tasks during the green period (tying down, disbudding, tying up,…) were following on from each other at a very quick rhythm, rather hard for all of us.
At this stage, the vine has an advance of 3 to 4 weeks compared to the average and 2007 becomes the most early year amongst the last 25. The earliness remains and the flowering happens around the 20th of May, making us envisaging very early harvest. Then starts –and follows during the wholesummer- a particularly gloomy weather: cold, rainy and not sunny at all with the result of a long and slow veraison .
The sun comes back at the beginning of September and, even if the weather remains cool, the rain stops.
In Rully, we began harvesting from Saturday 1st of September and during 4 days. The sanitary state of the grape was excellent. The whites are now showing a very good balance. For the reds, there is colour, fruit and structure.
In Chablis, the harvest started the 6th of September and lasted for 3 weeks –which is much longer than usual- in order to reach the optimal maturity on all our plots. After being in such a hurry in April and May, we had to be patient and to make regular observations on the vineyard to harvest at the right moment.
Finally, we have had 110 to 120 days between flowering and harvestinginstead of the traditional 100 days that all the winemakers consider as a reference. This is a first! In 2003, the situation was extreme too but exactly the opposite with only 90 days between flowering and harvesting.
After a rigorous management of the vineyard, this vintage has also requested a lot of attention in the cellar to find the good frequency to move the fine lees on the stainless steel tanks and on the barrels. Following the vintage 2006, rather tender, we are back to a very typical style on 2007 with fresh notes, a lot of minerality on the mouth and a great length.
2006, A RICH AND ATTRACTIVE VINTAGE
After a rigorous winter 2005/2006 with frequent snowfalls, April remained rather cool and wet. The budburst intervened at the end of April/beginning of May, which is a normal date. In May, the weather remained gloomy.
In June, the temperatures sharply increased and flowering occurred within few days. Then, we had a very hot and dry July with few thunderstorms quite violent but, fortunately, isolated. In August, a cold and rainy weather settled down. Thank to the heavy rain of the last two weeks the vegetative cycle was moving again and the maturation to took up again its rhythm clearly slowed down by the heat in July.
In September, we have confirmed all the soundness of the proverb according to which "September makes the wine". The weather report was excellent and the vintage 2006 is not less.
We began harvesting on Monday 18th in Rully and on Wednesday 20th in Chablis.
***In Chablis, the maturity was acquired. We have harvested early and quickly so that we could preserve the acidity. It is interesting to notice that this situation, formerly met only in the Southern vineyards, appears more and more frequently in Burgundy.
The raw material was very fine so we have made a little sorting. In the cellar, and always in the perspective to keep all the freshness of our wines, we slightly reduced the frequency of batonnages for our wines in barrels. For the wines in tanks, we kept the fine lees as usual, but we moved them a little less often.
In the end, the 2006's present a good structure, complexity and a beautiful freshness on the mouth.
In Rully, a thunderstorm intervened by August 15th obliged us to make a very severe sorting especially on the reds. We made averagely long macerations to preserve the fineness of the wines. The whites are rather tonic, with a beautiful body.
So the vintage 2006 is really in line with 2005. Nevertheless it was a more difficult and more technical year than 2005 to reach this result. Indeed, the very contrasted weather of the year made things a little more complicated in the vineyards. In the cellar, we also had to adapt our vinification so as to remain faithful to our style.
2005, THE PERFECT BALANCE
After a quiet winter, the vegetative activity of the vine started again rather late. April remained cool then the climate radically changed at the beginning of May inducing a real explosion of the vegetation. In few days, the wine landscape changed completely.
Three weeks of cool weather followed and then a second explosion of the vegetation occured at the end of May. The full flowering was observed around the 10th of June which is about average. Rather cool temperatures during flowering caused some flower abortion. This problem, when it stays in reasonable proportion, is rather a positive thing in terms of quality : it increases the ratio of small grains and reduces naturally the yields.
The vegetal cycle went by fits and starts till the harvest according to the climate evolutions. In 2005, the risk of mildew was high but we have perfectly controlled the situation.
We began harvesting on Monday 19th of September in Rully. For the whites, the yield was very low, result of both the small quantity of clusters and the reduced juice yield due to the dryness. The potential alcohol contents were of course fantastic and the musts very concentrated.
For the reds, the sanitary state was excellent. However, this did not prevent us from making a severe sorting in order to eliminate the less ripen clusters or the grains roasted by the sun. Thanks to this, it was possible to make reasonably long fermentations, enough to extract all the potential of the grape, not too much to preserve the fruit and the spirit of pinot noir.
In Chablis, we began harvesting on Wednesday 21st of September and ended the 29th with 2 days stop, the 24th and the 25th.
The potential alcohol content was high on the old vines and very satisfactory on the whole domain. Here also, the yields were limited so we have obtained rich and concentrated juices.
The specificity of this vintage comes from the perfect balance between alcohol and acidity. We have reached the ideal compromise between maturity and complexicity of 2003 and liveliness and structure of 2004.
2004, A VINEGROWER AND WINEMAKER VINTAGE
After a cool and rainy winter, the vegetative activity of the vine started again slowly during March.
We had no damages due to spring frost. The full flowering was observed between the 20th and the 25th of June which is about average.
In July, cold records were beaten with temperatures barely above 20°C. And so, the vegetal cycle began with a slight delay. In August, the weather was particularly gloomy and accentuated this lateness and the "véraison" - grapes colour turning- evolved very slowly. After an exceptionnally hot summer in 2003, 2004 was characterised by its coolness.
In 2004, the most striking element in the vineyard was the very high threat of oïdium. "Something never seen before"; said Bernard, even with his 50 years of vintage experience. The first symptoms appeared in the vineyard at the end of June and the pressure did not relent then. So, we intensified the surveillance of the vines in order to intervene at exactly the right moment. Oïdium is indeed most particular, as this disease requires preventive treatment, as once contracted it is most difficult to cure. Thanks to the high performance and perfectly ajusted spraying system as well as a good aeration of the vegetation by disbudding and green harvest, we maintained all our plots in excellent health.
In 2004, we began harvesting on the 27th of September in Rully and on the 29th in Chablis so exactly one month later than last year! And thus returning to the more usual date for our region.
We began in 2004 with a brand new installation for receiving the harvest and pressing which respects the raw material even more.
In the new harvesting bins, there is a chamber at the bottom to collect the juice and separate it from the harvest in order to avoid oxidation. Then, the harvesting bins are emptied on a conveyor belt which "feeds" one of the presses. With this system, we can refine the sorting, and the grapes are absolutely not triturated. The soft pressing allows us to sort the best juices. Finally, on the new press, the bottom collecting the juices has reduced dimensions so that the surface contact between air and juice is as small as possible.
Of course, we will need several vintages to see all the benefits of this new installation. However, we have already observed this year very low rates of deposit in the juices, which enable us to work even more on the fineness of the wines.
The wines present already a very good structure, fruit and elegance.
2003, A VINTAGE WITH CHARACTER
In 2003, spring frost, dryness and a heatwave combined together to give us an exceptionnaly early.
The winter 2002/2003, cool and rainy, was also characterized by a very low period of sunshine. The vegetative activity of the vine started again precociously, in mid-March, and then clearly slowed down at the beginning of April. This was a consequence of the spring frost we had during the first week of April with temperatures falling to –8°C in the coldest places. This caused a loss of between 10 and 30% regarding the plots.
From mid-April, the vine grew with a sustained rhythm. Therefore, tying-up of the vine branches began on the 19th of May –instead of the habitual beginning of June-. As a consequence of this rapid growth: the green shoots were very fragile so we had to tie them with a lot of care. The first flowers were visible at the beginning of June.
At the beginning of August, the vine already had a 2 weeks advance in maturity compared to average. In mid-August, after the heatwave of over 40°c, the vine had an advance of 3 to 4 weeks. The sanitary state of the crop was perfect but we could observe scorched bunches on the sides exposed to the afternoon sun and also signs of dehydration with the berries beginning to wilt.
From the 29th of August, we began harvesting in Chablis. We chose to harvest early in order to preserve a maximum of natural acidity. Indeed, with the exceptional potential alcohol content, the main preoccupation was to preserve the natural acids of the grape which are an essential component of the wine’s structure and which are burnt by the sun. Thanks to meticulous adjustment of the harvesting machine, we succeded in detaching only the best berries while the scorched and wilted ones were left on the vine. On top of being early, this vintage is also characterised by low yields. This is a consequence of both the small number of bunches and the small juice yield due to the thickness of the pulp and thus dryness.
With very regular tastings of the musts then of the wines, we have followed the fermentation and the ageing extremely closely and so we have adapted our interventions consequently. Because of the structure of the juices –round and not much acid this year-, we have chosen for a little interventionist ageing in order to handle them as little as possible. So we have reduced the frequence and the strength of the “batonnages” on the barrels and the tanks have not been pumped-over.
When the malolactic fermentation was achieved, we made a racking. The aeration had a very beneficial effect by re-stimulating the wines.
For tasting, the vintage 2003 is quite surprising for a Chablisian because the wines are rich, round and very fruity. However, thanks to our choice of harvesting early, we have preserved the freshness and the minerality of our wines and so their chablisian identity.
The vineyard of Rully is located in the south of cote de Beaune on clayey-chalky soils. The wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels during 18 months. Then the wine is bottled after a light filtration.
A gold colour. Aromas of peach and apricot on both nose and palate. This wine is delicate and perfumed with a rich and pleasant final.
To serve at 12°C with fish or shellfish.
The area Cloux is located just on top of the Chapitre on clay-limestone soils more and more clear as you rise on the slope. As for the Mont Palais, the wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels during 18 months. Then the wine is bottled after a light filtration.
This fine and fruity wine also shows mineral notes and a great ctructure on the mouth.
To serve at 12° with Comté or goat cheese.
The appellation Rabourcé is located just on top of Cloux on the most sloping part of hillside. Here, the soils are mostly composed of white clay. The strong reflection favors the maturation process and this plot is always the first to be ripe.
As for the Mont Palais and the Cloux, the wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels during 18 months. Then the wine is bottled after a light filtration.
The Rabourcé is characterized by its richness on the mouth and its strength that give a great length.
To serve at 12° for an aperitif.
Pinot Noir 100%
The yield is controled by disbuddings in order to produce a fine and expressive wine. We also make a severe sorting in the vineyard and then in the cellar.
The fermentation lasts during 15 days with daily pumping-over. Then the wine is aged in oak barrels not new (from 1 to 3 years) during 15 months. A very light filtration is made before bottling so a light sediment may deposit.
A brilliant ruby colour and a fruity nose with cherry and raspberry. The mouth is fine and delicate. Very representative of a Pinot noir from Burgundy, this wine is very pleasant. To serve lightly cool.
Pinot Noir 100%
The yield is controled by disbuddings and green harvest in order to produce a fine and expressive wine.
We also make a severe sorting in the cellar.
The fermentation lasts during 15 days with daily pumping-over. Then the wine is aged in oak barrels (1/3 are new) during 15 to 18 months.
A very light filtration is made before bottling so a light sediment may deposit.
A deep and ruby colour. A fruity nose with cherry and raspberry. The mouth is silky with a great length.
Very representative of a Pinot noir from Burgundy, this wine is all fineness and elegance. To serve at ambient temperature.
Pinot Noir 100%
The Clos du Chapitre is a monopoly, located on the appellation Chapitre and entirely closed with a stone wall. This plot of more than 1 hectare is located just behind the family house.
As for the Préaux, the yield is controled by a severe pruning, disbuddings (and green harvest if necessary). Here also, with the sorting we only keep the most beautiful clusters.
The fermentation lasts between 2 and 3 weeks with daily pumping-over and punching of the cap. Then the wine is aged in oak barrels (50% are new) during 15 to 18 months. A very light filtration is made before bottling so a light sediment may deposit.
Fine, elegant and structured, the Clos du Chapitre shows the very burgundian style of Pinot noir. The structure of this wine gives him a very good potential for ageing.