A harvest that heralds a great vintage

This is the first time in nearly 300 years that the Bouchard Père & Fils estate (and certainly the Burgundy wine country) will have begun harvesting so early. We beat the 2003 record by starting harvesting two days earlier, on 19 August 2020.

After a very mild, humid winter, the sun exposure and warm temperatures of the springtime spurred a very early bud burst (late March). During the COVID-19 crisis, our winemaking team supported the wine growers in their work. Disbudding began in mid-April and was quickly followed by trellising: ‘We’ve never seen this before!’ exclaimed Christophe, a hired hand at the estate for more than 30 years. The first flowers were seen in the vineyards on May 12th, and the lignification of the vines took place in July. The bunches emerged beautifully, and until the end of July, all signs pointed to a magnificent harvest. But the dry weather and wind, which had taken hold as early as the springtime, dehydrated the vines. The Pinots suffered most from this phenomenon (wilting, concentration), which led to a reduction of our yields (20 to 28 Hl/Ha or 0.79 to 1.11 tons/acre). The Chardonnays were less impacted for yields approaching the usual (30 to 40 Hl/Ha or 1.21 to 1.59 tons/acre).

Harvesting began with the Pinots on August 19th under a sunny sky and in high temperatures. The equipment at the Saint-Vincent winery made it possible to quickly cool the grapes before each batch was loaded into the vat. We waited until August 24th to harvest the Chardonnay so that it would fully ripen. After nine days of picking, we concluded the harvesting operations on the estate.

While it is still early to make announcements about the quality, this vintage appears promising. The Pinots reveal rich, dense, deep colours. The bouquets release dark berry notes while the tastes are refreshing and crisp. The concentration enabled us to maintain more acidity than in 2003. The tannins are well-rounded, because the seeds were very small and lignified. The distinctiveness of each terroir is already clear, which is a good sign for what is to come.

The whites all offer a great balance with excellent ripeness and good acidity levels. The colours are golden, the bouquets reveal citrus notes, and initial tastes offer invigorating freshness. Fermentations evolved slowly and we began placing the wine in casks on August 31st.