Charles Lachaux of Vosne-Romanée’s Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux is continuing to develop his viticulture.
I have followed Lachaux’s vineyard Les Procès in Nuits-Saint-Georges throughout this year, watching its development and his techniques as we move towards harvest.
Now we have reached flowering in the vines so, traditionally, we’re 80-100 days until harvest.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Procès
NSG Les Procès is a 1er cru located above the village of Nuits, just below the beautiful Chateau Gris.
The Arnoux-Lachaux plot is 0.6337 hectare, and the vines are on average 65 years old.
I visit the vineyard almost weekly, as it is a beautiful walk from my place in Nuits-Saint-Georges. This gives me the chance to follow its progress.
After the frost and (prudently) late pruning, it’s time to see the fruits of the labour: flowering!
Harvest time: How long is a piece of string?
Predicting the start of the Burgundy harvest is always tricky, as there is significant variation in timing amongst the growers.
According to various of my sources, harvest for most is likely to start around September 15, with a likelihood towards a somewhat later date in the Côte de Nuits.
The variation from grower to grower can be large, so one could well see some start earlier than the date above, and others not attack until significantly later.
The theory – or rule of thumb – is that harvest starts 100 days after mid-flowering.
But in reality, if the summer is hot and dry, 100 days could well prove too many. What’s more, calculating them is complicated, because “mid-flowering” is a moving target. In hot, dry, still years, flowering can take less than a week from start to finish, as was largely the case this year. In wet, cool, windy years, it can drag out for more than two weeks.
For some growers, a better harvest-date gauge is 40 days from mid-veraison (colour change, easiest to see in the red grapes). But then again, what is “mid-veraison”?
How’s that for accuracy?