Another year goes by…..!

The 2012/2013 Winter will go down on record as wet and cold:

*excess rainfall for the October to March period was almost 30% (450mm against the 350mm average)

*temperatures  for the January to March period were on average 2.5 degrees centigrade lower than normal.

There was also a lot less sunlight (30% for the October to March period and in January only 15 hours , the lowest of all) with prolonged periods of low cloud and fog.

With  Spring being slow off the mark, budding was late with green tips only starting to appear around 25 April following an unexpected period of hot weather;  then followed another period of cold and wet conditions end April, and particularly early in May during the weekend of 4th and 5th, when heavy rain caused flooding in some fields and cellars.

The warm snap in April favoured the early development of mildew which meant having to spray sooner than usual in difficult conditions and when the  tractor was able to gain access to the vineyards; rainfall in April and May was in excess by more than 80%  and sunlight was short so that extra care had to be taken regarding further spread of mildew.

These unfavourable  conditions retarded vegetation growth and at the end of May the leaf spread of 6 to 8 on most of the vines indicated that growth was about 3 weeks later than average.

An improvement came in June when the return of sunny conditions vastly increased growth to the extent that at mid-June we hardly had enough time for trellising and  working the soil.

The vine started to bloom fairly evenly between 20 June and early July but retarded by another spell of cold and wet weather when signs of shatter appeared in certain plots of pinot noir.

The hot and stormy start to Summer greatly stimulated development of the grape clusters which began to firm up in mid-July and by which time, we were only 12 days later than average.

Throughout the season we had to take the necessary steps against crytogamic diseases, namely oidium in addition to mildew; thinning out of the leaves was an important part of this process by  giving vital space to the vine and exposing the grape clusters to the sun.

On 23 July we experienced a downturn when a severe hailstorm hit the northern part of the Côte de Beaune: as in 2012, our plots of Clos des Mouches and Pommard Noizons  were damaged to an estimated 90% and our Beaune Grève  also effected to an estimated 80% of yield.

In August there was little rain but high temperatures and these conditions tended to slow down the maturing process which, in fact, was completed around 12 September; the mild and damp period which followed effected the maturing process and raised fears of botrytis.

Initially planned for 3 October, the harvest was finally fixed for 30 September owing to an exceptionally hot spell, unusual for the season, which quickly increased the grape sugar concentration.

In all, the harvest was completed in good conditions thanks to the efficiency of our picking team.


Red Wines:

Although the sanitary state of the harvest was very good, some selection during picking and table sorting were necessary, particularly where hail damage  was concerned, so as to discard any dried up grapes left on the stems; to this effect, a vibrating conveyor feeding the sortation table proved its worth.

Before the alcoholic fermentation, one week of maceration brought out the extremely promising, red fruit aromas and permitted a fast and efficient extraction of anthocyanins in certain vats; we preferred to use a gentle process of pumping over with less punching, better adapted to release the fine tannins. In view of the cold temperatures, careful monitoring throughout the process was essential.

After an interval of rest the wine had a fine deep colour, pure red fruit aromas, robust and acidic for the moment in the mouth, with a good, delicate tannin content.


White wines:

This year, most of the chardonnay grapes were picked first as they matured earlier than the pinot and although the sanitary condition was satisfactory, the grapes appeared a little fragile with some first signs of botrytis.

Selected on picking, the grapes were pressed whole and after slight clarification, the must had a very good citrus aroma and good acidity.

To ensure a good start, the alcoholic fermentation process took place in vats for 48 hours and then continued in casks after cooling.

Well balanced and fruity, the wine has retained its citric notes, sharp and fresh in the mouth with a level of acidity which the malolactic fermentation will smooth out.  



BERTHELEMOT : Great wines from Burgundy - 21190 MEURSAULT
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