Just in from Serge Laloue: the 2011 Harvest Report!
The first samples were taken on August 10th, confirming that the approximate 3-week head start the vines got in the spring was maintained. From then on, the grapes developed normally under a mix of sunny conditions and rainy spells. The opening of the harvest was officially set for September 7th.
This year, the Pinots were very fragile due to the wet summer. We therefore had to be very careful in choosing our harvest date, waiting for the grapes to reach a sufficient stage of maturity without deteriorating. This required us to go into the vineyards every day, to taste the grapes and monitor their development as closely as possible.
Fortunately, we harvest the red grapes by hand which allowed us to sort them a first time in the vineyard and then once again on the sorting table when they arrived at the winery. We therefore vinified only the perfectly healthy grapes.
We began picking the Pinot Noirs for our rosé wines on Tuesday the 6th as they were beginning to deteriorate.
Wednesday the 7th and Thursday the 8th: A team of 26 pickers began manually harvesting our red grapes. Maturity levels were good and sorting allowed us to bring in a very healthy harvest.
Friday the 9th: Grapes for our Cul de Beaujeu vineyard in Chavignol and our Cuvée 1166 in Sancerre were picked by hand. The grapes were magnificent, golden and flavourful.
Monday the 12th: we finished handpicking the red grapes.
Tuesday the 13th: we continued harvesting the white grapes in the recently planted vineyards by hand.
Beginning on Wednesday the 14th, we began machine harvesting the whites – a job that takes approximately 5 days for the 10 remaining hectares. We finished on Monday the 19th.
Maturity levels were good and volumes satisfactory with the exception of the reds whose volumes were reduced due to sorting.
The juices are showing very good flavour with a great deal of fruit and high sugar levels.
Alcoholic fermentations will begin this week.