I’ve just returned to the office from 3 weeks in Vosne Romanée chez Sylvain Cathiard et Fils, working with Sébastien Cathiard on the 2013 harvest.
2013 won’t go down as an easy vintage for the vignerons of the Cote D’Or: there was massive hail damage just south of Beaune, and significant rot pressure across the region as the weather turned just before picking. With extremely carefully sorting in the vineyard and cuverie, however, the fruit that was brought in at Cathiard was good quality, if somewhat depleted (down significantly on even 2012). People will no doubt talk about 2013 as being a high acid vintage, and that indeed it is. But in a crucial way it differs from the other recent vintage of that description – 2008 – with which it will be compared. Whereas in 2008 the pHs were extremely low (between 3.05-3.15), in 2013, the pHs have come in at an extremely balanced level (between 3.15-3.31) with relatively high total acidity (5.5+). This is a promising start for the young vintage.
Unfortunately I had to leave just as the fermentations were starting to get into full swing, having done rémontage once and then twice daily with Sébastien during the 7-10 day cold maceration. Colour extraction was very good in the early stages, and all the cuves looked and smelled great. I've been reliably informed all fermentations are now well under way and pigéage has begun in earnest.
All in all, it was a complete pleasure to work at the domaine. It is the cleanest, most precise, most attention-detailed, most carefully handled work I’ve ever experienced. Although my 6th harvest working in a cuverie I’m mindful of how much more there is to learn. I look forward to number 7 next year (and can't wait to taste '13 in barrel)
|Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Malconsorts just before harvest|
|Sorting table action|
|Sébastien stumping us with blind tastings|
|Rémontage during cold maceration|
|Séb with his RSV Grand Cru barrels|
|Quite some lunch at Ma Cuisine in Beaune...|
By Catherine Petrie