Entire vintage destroyed from Burgundy clos9th January, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt
Hail damage has ensured that not a single drop of wine is to be produced from one of Beaune’s most important premier cru vineyards in 2013.
The Clos des Mouches vineyard, which covers 25.18 hectares in Beaune and is famed for the quality of its white Burgundy, was so badly hit by hail in last July’s storms that no wine is to be made from the premier cru plot in 2013, according to Chanson’s head of winemaking, Jean-Pierre Confuron.
Chanson is the second largest land owner in the Clos des Mouches, with a 4.5ha holding, less than Drouhin, which owns 13.4ha, while the rest of the plot is divided between the Hopsices de Beaune and a couple of other growers.
Confuron confirmed in a discussion with the drinks business at a dinner last night that none of the other land owners in the clos would be able to produce wine from the vintage, which saw hail hit the northern Côte de Beaune on 23 July, causing particular damage to vines in Savigny-les-Beaune, Pommard and Volnay, and especially mid-slope premier cru plots.
As reported by db at the time, some estates in Beaune lost 90% of their crop, and Beaune-based winemaker Jean Yves Devevey described the hailstones as “the size of marbles and ping-pong balls”.
Meanwhile, speaking about the wines from the previous harvest, which Chanson showed to UK press yesterday, Gilles de Courcel, director of Domaine Chanson expressed his delight at the quality of reds in particular. “I believe we have a wonderful vintage in 2012 in both the whites and the reds, and probably more with the reds because they have a very good structure and balance,” he said, attributing the structural quality of the Pinot Noirs to small berries with thick skins.
He also joked, when further discussing the 2012 vintage, “We said we had had a challenging year after the harvest, but we didn’t know what was coming to us in 2013…” Meanwhile, Confuron told db that Chanson would be bottling all its whites, including grand cru Chardonnays, under the Diam agglomerated cork closure from the 2013 vintage onwards.
The decision to switch from natural to agglomerated cork was prompted by concerns over premature oxidation in Chanson white Burgundies, said Confuron.
He added that the shift was not necessary for Chanson’s top red Burgundies because the tannins present in the wines provided more protection against oxidation. He also said that the higher level of acidity and greater amount of free Sulphur Dioxide in white Burgundy was more likely to cause premature cork failure.
Chanson joins others in Burgundy who have stopped using natural cork for their white wines in an attempt to guard against oxidation over long-term ageing. For example, Etienne de Montille of Domaine de Montille has used Diam 10 for all its whites up to grand cru since 2009, while Benjamin Leroux of Domaine Comte Armand has been trialing screwcaps for his whites since 2004.
Furthermore, as first reported by db, Laurent Ponsot has sealed everything he has produced from the 2008 vintage onwards with a synthetic cork called AS-Elite by Ardea Seal, and you can read more about his reasons for that change here.
Finally, Chanson’s de Courcel proudly announced that Jean-Pierre and his brother Yves Confuron would be collecting in Paris tonight the Vigneron de l’Année award from La Revue des Vins de France. The two brothers work between Domaine de Courcel, Confuron-Cotetidot and Domaine Chanson. Previous recipients of the title include Gérard Perse and Hubert de Boüard.