The lilies are in bloom and, according to an old saying, Burgundian winegrowers know they can count on starting to pick their grapes 100 days thereafter.
It thus looks like we can begin harvesting in early September.
At the present time, fruit set has just started with Chardonnay and the flowering is just finishing with Pinot Noir. This indicates a 13-day head start compared to 2008.
At this stage, 2009 thus looks to be the second earliest vintage in the past fifteen years, just behind 2003.
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.