Vignerons across much of France are declaring that 2009 looks to be an incredible vintage as long as the good weather continues. Here is what Bordeaux and Burgundy are saying.
A dry warm summer has catapulted ripening and the beginning of the red grape harvest looks to be earlier than predicted with the Merlot starting around 15-20 September. Emmanuel Cruse of Chateau d’Issan in Margaux commented that vintage conditions haven’t looked so good since 2005 – a very promising comparison.
Our friend Basile Tesseron of Chateau Lafon Rochet has been so enthusiastic that he has decided to share their harvest with the world for the first time on YouTube:
Though producers on the Right Bank have experienced the same excellent summer and early autumn conditions, they are not quite as jubilant as those in the Medoc. Severe hailstorms bombarded the region in May (the worst hit was St. Emilion) damaging as much as 80% of the crop in some areas. Nonetheless, the grapes remaining also look exceptionally promising.
Burgundy is also in extremely high spirits regarding 2009 and have described the vintage as ‘magnificent so far’. More southern producers such as Croix Senaillet in St Veran have already started picking while more notherly ones are in the midst of preparation.
A traditionally very cautious vigneron, Jean-Philippe Fichet of Meursault, found it hard to hold back his hope. He confidently stated that his grapes are perfectly healthy with no rot, mildew or oidium. A warm August (occassionally hot with 2 days over 50C!) sealed in the ripeness though the cool nights have ensured plenty of acidity and volatile aromatics. Gentle rain fell at precisely the right moments to invigorate the vines.
This would not be the first time a year ending in ‘9’ would be excellent. Since 1949 there has been a modern legend which states all vintages ending in ‘9’ have been top quality in Burgundy (though one could possibly go back to 1929 if the war never took place). So, fingers crossed for 2009!