Domaine de l'Arlot: 2009 Vintage Report


Thanks to Olivier Leriche at Domaine de l’Arlot for more news on the 2009 harvest:

Wine-growers were highly optimistic when they started harvesting this year, and now that the grapes have all been picked and are safely in vats, even those who are usually pessimistic do not have a lot to say.

We have just experienced a vintage that wine-growers do not often see, with magnificent, high quality grapes, in good quantity, which hardly needed any sorting. Ideal weather conditions also meant that one could harvest whenever one wished…

The weather:
A mild spring enabled vine growth to start early and suddenly.

At the start of summer, there were hot periods interspersed with spells of rain. This rainfall caused great builds-up of water locally, and these delicate conditions created a favourable climate for the development of mildew and oidium. The situation even became worrying after the weekend of the 14th of July, when there was almost 100 mm of rainfall.

Fortunately, the end of July and the month of August in particular, were magnificent, with lots of sun, high temperatures, and very little rain…Perfect weather for vines ! The mildew, oidium and risks of botrytis were soon forgotten.

The beginning of September was like previous years : it was ideal, with sun and a north wind…right up until the end of the harvest.

The dates of the harvest:
Harvesting started on 7 September 2009 with the Domaine’s very young vines, planted with Chardonnay in 2006 (Clos de l’Arlot and Côte de Nuits Villages). We then continued with the very young Pinot noir vines in the Clos de l’Arlot and Suchots, so that the freshness and fruit of these often more fragile grapes could be preserved.

We then stopped in the afternoon of Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th September, to make the most of the splendid weather conditions, before picking the premier crus. In just 3 days the sugar content rose by 15g/l.

We started again on Thursday 10th, and finished on Wednesday 16th September with the Clos de l’Arlot and Clos du Chapeau.

The grapes:
There was hardly any sorting required. The grapes were very beautiful, and yields high, (43hl/hectare), which is between those of 1999 and 2005.

The must:
There was also very little destemming this year. It was only necessary for a few of the wines. The wind, which blew from September 7th to 15th , enabled the sugars and acids to concentrate. The acidity/sugar balance seems to be very encouraging. The tannins are very ripe and the first colours beautiful.

To sum up:
The red wines are all fermenting at the moment (as well as the whites in barrel), and we are even more optimistic than ever. I am now very impatient to see if the question we asked ourselves in 2005 and 1999 is still the same : ” Do the finest grapes produce the finest wines ?”