A bit late, I know, but harvest was super crazy and I didn’t get a chance to post this earlier but here are some photos from the whites which we harvested on the 5th of September.

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Dawn Patrol Version 2.0

Dawn Patrol Version 2.0

Like with the red harvest, we got into the vines at dawn to try and get the grapes into the cuverie before the heat of the day. We got lucky and the day was quite cool — average temperature of the grapes at pressing was 14ºC.

Beautiful Chardonnay bunches

Beautiful Chardonnay bunches

2011 is a great year for whites. Not only was there a good crop but the bunches were very open, allowing the sun to get in and get every berry to flavour ripeness. As good as 2007 in my opinion!

Picking with small bins

Picking with small bins

In order to make sure that the grapes got into the cuverie uncrushed we used smaller picking bins than is common in Burgundy. Once grapes are crushed they oxidise very quickly and I wanted that to happen in the press, not in the vineyard. Plus it was much easier for us to carry down the steep slopes!

Ed hard at work

Ed hard at work

One of the guys who stayed with us for harvest, Ed Levy, in the Dessus Les Vermots vineyard — one of my three plots this year. You can see how steep the vineyard is behind Ed. Total champ! This year the grapes from Dessus Les Vermots has made a wine that is super zingy and linear with citrus flavours. Totally my type of Chardonnay!

Chilling the juice

Chilling the juice

I decided on a program of oxidising the juice in the press tray and then chilling the juice down below 10ºC to get all the phenolics to settle out. It is quite scary to see how brown the juice was but I had to trust my wine science knowledge that it would all go clear! The mist is from dry ice which I used to chill the juice down — almost 200 kg worth. Expensive stuff but well worth it as I got crystal clear juice and the solids settled in layers so I could just take the best solids for the ferment. Money well spent.

100% Barrel fermented

100% Barrel fermented

Chardonnay reaches it's greatest complexity when fermented in barrel. I mainly used Tonnellerie Damy barrels with a few older François Frères. Each vineyard has given a different wine. Dessus Les Vermots is super linear and citrusy. Les Saucours is broader with honeydew notes and Les Gollardes is probably the most complete wine — linear, mineral but with good balance on the palate. Should make a cracking blend!

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