Driving through Burgundy from Auxerre to Morey St. Denis the vines look tired, as if wiped out from a fever. I fe;t like patting them on their heads and saying, "Poor babies." They had a hard time since their stap started to flow. Hot, dry, cold wet, humid, hail, hot, wet, cold, hot. They didn't know which end to move first. And critics have expected the worst.
I'm here (apologies to JS) harrassing winemakers, trying to get to the bottom of their problem child, Aligoté, I've had a chance to taste several of the new vintages. Like last night I hung with Philippe Pacalet going through about a bakers dozen. The vintage is well and a live, good concentration and life. Driving south on the what used to be RN74, I realized the only responsible speculation a journalist can have is about the amount of work required in the vintage. Was it handed to them like a baby in velvet knickers on a velvet pillow or did they have to work like donkeys in Fes up to the last minute.
In 2011 it was the donkey year.
They fretted, worried and worked their ass off. They couldn't second guess, they had to live day to day and then pick really well. As in any challenging vintage the result is in the ingenuity, skill and compassion of the vigneron.
There will be plenty of good wines in 2011, in Burgundy. Check back in a year and a 1/2 to see if I'm right.
(non-Aligoté wine of the night, Domaine Alain Jenniard Chambolle Musigny 2009 12 euro a glass, drunk at La Gourmandin on Place Carnot. Happy to have drunk it, sweet place, but...)