The 2015 season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Things began with a near perfect winter and spring, leading to the best flowering since the 2010 vintage. Summer hit the vineyards with a sunny vengeance through most of July. Temperatures were very high, and there was almost no rain, leading to early comparisons with the freakish 03 vintage and predictions of one of the earliest harvests on record.
Fortunately, temperatures dipped in August, and the vineyards returned to more of an equilibrium, with phenolic ripeness beginning to catch up to the grape sugars. Harvest is still predicted to come in relatively early, late August or very early September. Our vinyeards crews have drawn some parallels between the weather this year and what they saw in 2011.
Our team has also begun some interesting experiments with practices in our new vineyards. Many Domaines use a practice called effeuillage (“leaf-plucking” not to be confused with the current slang of “strip-tease”) on the North-facing sides of grape vines. The leaves are pulled to improve air-circulation and alleviate the risk of rot forming inside the tight grape clusters.
Domaines that don’t practice leaf-pulling are typically worried the extra exposure of the grapes to sun will ripen the grapes too much, concentrating the juice inside past the optimum point. Burgundy is, first and foremost about finesse and elegance. Our vineyard team has split our parcel of Grand Cru Corton Rognets in two – one parcel is undergoing effeuillage while the other is being left with its leaves intact. In a hot year like 2015, we are intrigued to see what results!
We plan on starting picking in Volnay during the first week of September – stay tuned for a full report on this year’s Harvest!