2017 has been a vintage
with a few surprises.
At the start we were very worried.
There was a serious threat
of spring frost like we had in 2016,
which was quite catastrophic
because we lost 70% of the harvest.
With the frost alerts
in spring 2017, we thought:
“here we go again!”.
But there was a real solidarity
among the winemakers,
of the Côte d’Or who were
potentially subject to frost.
for three consecutive mornings
there they were at 4am,
lighting straw fires,
to make a smokescreen…
so the morning sun wouldn’t
burn the young buds.
It worked out very well…
it didn’t freeze in the Côte d’Or
and was one of the few wine regions…
this year in France
to have been spared serious frost or hail.
It’s also important
to mention or to clarify,
it only worked
because we had relatively light frosts,
if we had had morning frosts
of minus six or minus seven…
obviously we would have…
just as much as the others.
Anyhow it was a first in Côte d’Or
to see this solidarity among winemakers.
This was quite remarkable.
Following that, it was
a historically uneventful season,
in terms of maladies.
Personally, since 2002
when I started here at the domaine,
I have never known a
vintage this healthy.
From what I’ve heard,
from people around here,
it is probably
one of the healthiest vintages ever,
going back decades.
we had a really good harvest ahead of us,
We picked the first plot
of Ladoix on September 1st.
We harvested the white Ladoix,
which gave us a nice surprise…
We reckoned if it was that good
for the rest of the harvest,
we’d have a lovely vintage.
That was confirmed once we started the
reds from September 5th,
where with plot after plot we went
from nice surprise to nice surprise.
As we speak
we haven’t finished devatting yet,
but the first results
from the press are pretty encouraging.
of course while the quantity of grapes
going in is quite satisfying,
we don’t yet know
the ratio of weight to juice.
This year we had 5 heat waves,
what this means for the vinyard
is vines defend themselves from the heat,
by growing thicker skins on the grapes,
very thick skins.
So we don’t know until we press,
if we will get a lot of juice,
or very little.
Today, as I speak,
the first results of pressing are good,
much better than I hoped,
which is good news.
This will make for our 2017 vintage,
some generous quantities,
and going by the fine quality
of the first juice I’m tasting,
with very soft tannins,
a lovely fruit, beautiful colours.
It’s very encouraging.
At the press,
the juice I taste makes me think of 2007,
which is quite paradoxical because 2007
was a completely different vintage.
We started then
with a very big heat wave in April,
we had a rather cool summer,
so very different,
the alcohol in 2007 was around
thirteen percent, thirteen and a half,
and here it’s more like twelve percent,
between 11.5 and 12.5…
for the most part around twelve,
so a very different profile
in terms of analysis,
and yet the juice reminds me of 2007,
which is hard to explain.
I don’t know how to explain it,
it’s a feeling…
a feeling which makes me enthusiastic
because 2007 is a lovely vintage.
and if we can come close,
to that kind of juice, I’d be delighted.
And the team, it’s been a big team,
a small team, this year?
This year we had great difficulty,
I don’t know why,
it wasn’t just Domaine Prieuré Roch,
there was a scarcity of pickers,
and a bidding war between estates
offering higher pay or perks…
to try and steal pickers from the others,
it was quite complicated.
We ended up with a small
but exceptionally efficient team,
we have their names,
these are people
we’ll call back with great pleasure,
since they managed
the job of picking and sorting,
such that I’ve never seen,
… an enormous yield!
Team size isn’t everything,
It’s true that top quality
which we look for at the domaine,
it was there for us.
This vintage, it’s also the inauguration
of the new domaine winery?
Yes, we have the opportunity
and the pleasure to use our new winery,
located in the new building at Prémeaux.
It’s where we’ll put some of the barrels
of the 2017 harvest for the first time,
because for one thing
the winery is absolutely gorgeous,
it’s dug out from the rock,
with an ambient humidity and temperature
which I think are perfect,
so we’ll try it and find out.
We’ve split our harvest
between the old winery and the new one,
to see how each wine evolves
in one and the other…
so we can make adjustments,
or perhaps decide to age a particular wine
in one winery as opposed to another one.
It’s pretty exciting,
to try out our new winery, our new toy!