2014

When it comes to natural causes…..

 

  ….”never a second time without a third” so they say, and this is precisely what happened in 2014; as far as can be remembered there had never been hail damage in Burgundy in  the same locality for three consecutive years: Beaune and Pommard which concerned our domain in particular and Volnay.

Luckily, most of  the rest of Burgundy was not effected,  the harvest being plentiful and of good quality.

Particular features in 2014 were the extreme weather conditions both in temperature and rainfall - the Winter of 2013/14 was mild and wet followed by a hot and dry month of March; at the beginning of the  month the vine was “bleeding” indicating root activity and green tips were apparent on the buds around the 25th, just like in 2011 and 2012.

This early growth was sustained through to the first half of April and thus qualifying 2014 as the most advanced year for 30 years; vines which had been hit by hail  in 2012  and 2013  seemed to have recovered and were developing well.

Growth was then considerably reduced by cool and dry conditions as from mid-April and in May but irregularly depending on plots; fortunately, warm weather returned end-May to quickly stimulate flowering which finished before mid-June, forecasting a relatively early harvest of around 10 September.

Growth accelerated with good weather in June and some scattered storms and the grape clusters firming up shortly after 20 June meaning that the year now resembled 2007 and 2011.

At this stage the vines were healthy and showing a good yield but our hopes were shattered on 28 June around 1700 hrs when a hailstorm damaged our plots in Beaune and Pommard and to a lesser degree in Monthelie and Meursault; all we could do was to assess the damage and straighten up the branches weakened by the hailstones.

Normally, spraying is easy in the early months of a season when there is a lack of rain but after a hailstorm, spraying requires precision in order to protect the new leaves which are essential for maturing of what remains of the yield and the hardening of the vine branches .

Summer seemed to finish at the end of June with the abnormally wet and cold months of July and August: grape veraison only started towards end-July, in those plots the most in advance, to be completed in the last few days of August.

And then, a new turn in the weather with the long-awaited anti-cyclone: the maturing process  speeded up  compensating for the poor earlier period but making it difficult to forecast a new harvesting date owing to the varying yield and leaf growth depending on the location of the different plots.

The condition of the vines remained good owing to the hot and dry weather but many winegrowers  were concerned by the discovery this year of a new fruit fly which pierces the grape skin and causes an acid mould to form.

After checking the growth in our plots  we finally decided to start picking on 13 September in the Santenay Maladière location followed by  the plots of Chardonnay and finishing up by the vines which mature later, in Beaune and Pommard, before the storms returned.

Working conditions were far more serene during the vinification process owing to the very good quality of the grapes in general and careful sorting of those grapes picked in the plots which had been hit by hail.

 

Red Wines:

Our vibrating sorting table, again this year, proved to be invaluable for rejecting the dried grapes.

Fermentation of the grapes, ripe and with good aroma, proceeded smoothly after removal of the stalks and a prefermentation maceration period of one week; the colour was very quickly brought out and because of the lower quantities of grapes harvested the temperature regulation was carefully controlled  to enhance the maceration effects - skill requiring patience with limited punching of the cap in order to obtain the silky tannins.

After pressing, the wine has a very pleasant dark red shade with a blue hue and intense red fruit aromas, well balanced and concentrated in the mouth.

 

White Wines:

Immediately on harvesting, the grapes, which were in very good condition, were slowly pressed so as to extract the best juice possible.

The must, highly aromatic, fermented well in cask after settling for 18 to 24 hours.

At the end of the alcoholic fermentation, the wine had a golden-green colour,  citrus and hazelnut flavours, rich and full in the mouth.

The initial sharpness is soon smoothed out by the malolactic fermentation which spontaneously and not always the case, started in December when temperatures were cold.

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BERTHELEMOT : Great wines from Burgundy - 21190 MEURSAULT
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