I took my first steps in winemaking in 1989, the year I arrived at the Domaine.
I spent the first ten years (1989-1999) in a quest to identify the essence – the deep-down uniqueness – of each of our terroirs. This laid the foundations of my philosophy concerning vineyard management and environmental practices at the Domaine.
In 2000, I put a stop to the use of herbicides in our vines and started ploughing the soil.
The return to these vineyard management practices, in general up until the early 1970s, necessitated major investments and additional manpower, as well as a complete reorganisation of our working methods.
Tilling the soil (ploughing, chiselling, mowing, etc.) is now one of the main aspects of our work in the vineyards.
Finally, in 2010, it was time to perfect this approach and focus completely on the vines.
We already made sweeping changes ten years ago, introducing phenotypic selection and a policy of preserving the genetic biodiversity of our vines.
In 2010, our use of mineral rather than chemical sprays to protect our vines from disease and pests completed our conversion to organic vineyard management.
From now on, the preservation of the Domaine’s vineyard assets is the cornerstone of my winemaking business.
Saturday 30th January 2010 and Sunday 31st January 2010
In 1970, I was too young to participate in, or even remember the first Saint Vincent festival ever held in Chassagne-Montrachet. That is why organizing the most recent celebration was for me, and others from my generation, a new and meaningful experience.
For a full year, the people in our village, winegrowers as well as others, invested their considerable skills and an enormous amount of time and energy in preparing this major event.
On D-Day, despite the capricious weather the day before which had us a bit worried, everything was ready for a procession by some 80 Burgundian mutuals, preceded by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, to a mass celebrated by the Right Reverend Roland Minnerath, Bishop of Dijon, followed by induction ceremonies.
The 40,000 visitors who shared this weekend with us were able to enjoy a special cuvée of 2008 Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc made especially for them.
What an emotional occasion this was, and how proud we felt to belong to the large family of Burgundian winegrowers - men and women who have made the most of their unique terroir for generations upon generations to produce great wines!
And, as is only normal at such special times spent with family, friends and guests passing through, we opened a few old bottles between two bans bourguignons:
- Magnums of 1997 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Masures Blanc
- Bottles of 1990 Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Bill Nanson, the author of the famous blog Burgundy-Report.com.
Bill tasted my wines in the 2008 vintage. He was sensitive to my “lutte raisonnée” approach as well as to the work of Claude Bourguignon on the soil. According to his article, our conversation was mostly about the 2007s and the 2008s: “The 2008s did need quite a long elevage – four cuvées finished malos in January, the majority in April/May and another in June. Caroline says that she will wait until the wines are completely ‘ready’ before she begins bottling. The 2007s for instance were bottled in January 2009, Caroline thinks that she will likely wait until March 2010 for her 2008s.”
Note of Saturday, 7 November 2009
A sensation of calm and voluptuousness while enjoying an incredibly glamorous wine
My husband and I have decided to spend the early evening sat comfortably down with a glass of wine. Only the crackling of the wood fire breaks the silence in the living room.
Outside, it’s cold and dark, and I’m not at all in a hurry to do anything, go anywhere. I take the time to admire the beautiful golden color of this 2006 that takes me back to the bunches of ripe grapes bursting with sunshine that we harvested that year. I swirl the wine slowly in my glass. Once, twice, three times…. thereby releasing a lovely bouquet with myriad aromas.
This Champs Gain has a bewitching nose of ripe fruit dominated by overtones of orange blossom. The fruit carries over beautifully onto the palate with a sort of sweet mineral flavor that combines voluptuously with a taste of fresh butter. Hints of vanilla add a dash of spice to this brilliant, delicious wine.
In early July, the vines grew untroubled in the fine summer weather, briefly abandoned by winegrowers and their partners on holiday.
Lovingly tended and laid out in perfectly straight rows, the vines are currently soaking up the sun and warmth. Sometimes, after a shower, their increased vigour cases a spurt of growth, calling for further trimming.
The leaf canopy is excellent and the grapes are doing very well. A few berries are just starting to change colour as you can see from this photo I took at our plot in Chassagne, in the Premier Cru Clos Saint Jean.
This degree of ripeness usually takes place about the 5th of August!
Michel Roux Jr., head chef at the three-star Gavroche in London, has written numerous cookery books in English, which have unfortunately never been translated into French. His book Matching Food and Wine - Classic and not so classic combinations, is one of my favourites. As a true “foodie” and someone who appreciates the subtle marriage of food and wine, I often dip into this book. Michel Roux Jr. is also the author of The Gavroche Cookbook, The Marathon Chef (combining gastronomy and recipes for good health), and Life in the Kitchen. In Matching Food and Wine, Michel Roux Jr. recommends my white wine, 1999 Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Premier Cru, to accompany his roast turbot.
In Chassagne village,
4, Impasse des Chenevottes
Tél : 03 80 21 94 94
Fax : 03 80 21 97 77
One year in the early 21st century that will remain branded in our memories is 2003, marked by excesses of frost and heat. Winegrowers, like everyone else, will long remember these first signs of global warming: a scorching-hot summer and a remarkably early harvest.
Six years later, it is by no means unusual to open a bottle of our Boudriotte 2003 for a tasting in the winery.
The low-lying vineyard was badly damaged by frost, resulting in very low yields, which turned out to be very fortunate, as the vines would hardly have been able to ripen more than the few remaining bunches, due to the intense heat.
At this stage, I really enjoy watching this lovely, golden-yellow wine swirling around in my glass and smelling its rich bouquet.
On the palate, it retains the full-body it had as a young wine but has developed even more elegance and finesse. It is as though the wine has acquired greater control over its exuberance with age.
It still shows lots of dried fruit and hints of chocolate on the palate, but the aftertaste is much cleaner and fresher.
We find the wine charming and approachable, but, at the same time, surprisingly lively and characterful.
For 6-8 persons
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
This recipe was created in 1930 for Curnonsky by the mayor of Dijon’s wife, Madame Gaston Gérard. It has since become a standard recipe in Burgundian cooking.
Suggested wine: Chassagne-Montrachet white or Puligny-Montrachet
1 Bresse chicken (3 to 3½ lb), jointed
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¾ pint single cream
2 oz butter
1½ floz cooking oil
8 oz Comté ou Gruyère cheese
1 tsp paprika
2 glasses (10 floz) dry white whine
Salt & pepper
|1.||Heat the oil and butter in a cooking pot and brown the pieces of chicken in it, turning them over periodically.|
|2.||Add salt and pepper and then the paprika. Put the lid on and place the pot in an average hot oven (180°C/360°F) for 30 minutes.|
|3.||Once the pieces of chicken are cooked, place them in an oven-proof dish and keep them warm in the oven.|
|4.||Put the cooking pot back on a ring and add the grated cheese to the meat juices. Allow it to melt slowly and add the white wine, then the mustard and the cream.|
|5.||Bring to the boil then pour over the chicken.|
|6.||Sprinkle some breadcrumbs and grated cheese on top and brown under the grill.|
Download this recipe card as a PDF file.
Cold and rain affected flowering in the spring, causing coulure (shot berries) and millerandage (poor fruit set). Temperatures thereafter remained cooler than average, particularly in August and September.
Vine growth was slow, and frequently interrupted by storms. This called for careful attention in the vineyard. The vines were sprayed sparingly and at just the right time in order to fight against oidium and mildew.
A long-awaited north wind began to blow on the 14th of September. This blew away the clouds, leaving a clear blue sky. The dry, cool, sunny weather enabled the grapes to continue ripening under good conditions.
Green harvesting after véraison (colour change) was essential in 2008 to eliminate the least ripe bunches of grapes.
Harvesting began in earnest on the 25th of September, and the grapes looked beautiful. Picking came to an end on the 6th of October in our plot of white Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune.
After months of stress, analysis proved the grapes to have very good sugar levels, coupled with good acidity.
Our 2008 vintage wines are very promising. The white wines are fresh and aromatic, while the red wines have great colour and concentration.
So, things are looking very good for our white wines, and the low yields of red wine grapes was also encouraging.