October, which marked the beginning of the resting period for the vines, was mild and rainy. November heralded winter with the first frosts. After a short warm spell, cold dry sunny weather prevailed throughout December and up till the end of January. There were frequent frosts and average temperatures were lower than usual. By contrast February and March were mild and wet.The growing period, which began in March, was variable. Temperatures climbed slowly but were mild on the whole, despite some early-morning frosts in late spring.
At the end of April, the temperatures rose sharply and were some 3°C hotter than usual. Rainfall was low.
June was extremely dry and hot, even very hot, with temperatures around 30°C. On June 18th, 36.4°C was recorded at Vosne Romanée. The Pinot Noir grapes in the Côte de Nuits began flowering on June 11th, and a great burst of flowers occurred during the week-end of 15th-19th June. Conditions remained very favourable to active growth right through to the end of the month. By the beginning of August, most of the vines had reached the start of the ripening period. Temperatures during July and August were slightly lower than the seasonal average.
In September the weather conditions were ideal, consisting of fine sunny days and cool nights, a combination favouring concentration and fine healthy grapes. From the beginning of September on, the grapes achieved extraordinarily high sugar levels, affording fine indications of maturity and promising an excellent balance in terms of sugars-acidity.
The first bunches were cut on September 18th in the Savigny Les Beaune Village and 1er Cru plots. Picking continued in Vosne Village on the 19th and Puligny Montrachet on the 21st. The 22nd was a wonderful day, spent harvesting in the Richebourg and Clos de Vougeot plots, followed the next day by the Vosne Romanée Premiers Crus, and then Gevrey, Chambolle Musigny.
Each plot was carefully inspected and assessed first to decide the best order in which to harvest them in order to ensure the best possible quality by picking the grapes at the optimum point of their maturity and health. Harvesting accordingly took place in a highly satisfactory manner with every promise that the 2002 vintage would be great one.
THE WINES :
The dry weather conditions during the growing season ensured fine maturity, excellent balance and fine concentration for every one of the plots.
The wines are rich and intense in colour with deep gleams that are rare in Pinot Noir wines. Their bouquets are sustained, with very diverse and truly remarkable aromas of red and dark fruits. In the mouth, the wines are round and perfectly balanced, thanks to the high sugar levels and excellent acidity due to the very sunny days and cool nights throughout September.
The wines have a firm tannic structure yet are soft, delicate and elegant. This is a vintage to be laid down, for the these wines will take some years to reach maturity and fully reveal their wonderful complexity and richness.