The climatic conditions
As is common in Burgundy, the January mildness brings about a few concerns which are quickly forgotten in February with the reminder that winter is still very much present: -4°C on average and -10°C to -15°C for 12 consecutive days in Vosne Romanée. A few damages from the winter freeze disturb the recovery of the buds on certain plots, already jeopardizing a portion of the harvest.
A very mild and particularly dry March seems to suggest the end of winter. The vegetation quickly re-awakens suggesting one of the earliest bud breaks in recent years. But this excessive dryness compromises the excellent re-growth of the young plants.
Much like a liberation which suddenly becomes chaotic, April brings cool weather and precipitation. A bit of spring frost damage is observed on several plots on the night of 13 April and then on the 17th (-1.5°C) however the extent depends on the extent of growth.
The month of May is rather summer-like: stage E (2-3 leaves unfolded) is reached on the 1st in Vosne Romanée, then stage F (visible clusters) on the 7th and stage G (plenty of flowering buds) on the 16th May. The beginning of blooming is observed in Vosne as of 30th May. Unfortunately, some poor weather at the beginning of June considerably disturbs the flowering which takes more than 2 weeks more. The consequences are significant coulure (blossom drop without pollination) and substantial millerandage (poor fertilisation of the flowers which greatly reduces the size of the berries and thus the yield).
Vintage 2012 is now close to the 2005 and 2010 harvest. At this stage, we are however all too aware that the yield of this future vintage will definitively be small.
Difficulties never come alone. Cryptogamic disease (mildew and powdery mildew) is the result of a rainy summer (105.1 mm in July in Vosne) and this requires all of the vine growers’ attention without a single day of rest. Then, much like a call from nature which is the sole master, sun scald and brownish-grey mildew is obtained on the grapes during the week of 23rd to 30th July and again on 15th August, leading to further yield losses. Fortunately, the grapes continue to ripen well especially with the good weather during the first half of September with the sun and wind from the north.
The climate factors this season led to a significant drop in yield. Luckily, the aerated clusters with small berries offer concentration, substance and magnificent quality grapes. Man comes out of this battle exhausted but very proud of the work.
Whether a superstition or popular belief, years with 13 full moons are often associated with sombre and troubled years. 2012 is no exception to that rule, a true winemaker’s vintage - knowing how to do the impossible!
We cut the first grapes in Pernard Vergelesses and in Savigny Les Beaune on 19th September. The next day we harvested in Beaune and then in Vosne Romanée and les Bourgognes reds.
The 21st and 22nd were dedicated to harvesting in Gevrey Chambertin, Chambolle Musigny, Fixin and in Clos de Vougeot. The beautiful Sunday was dedicated to the Grands Crus Richebourg, Grands-Echezeaux, Echezeaux and then Nuits St Georges, the 1st Cru “Les Boudots”.
On 24th and 25th September, the team harvested in Vosne Romanée for the 1st cru “Les Orveaux”, Vougeot 1st Cru, Nuits St Georges “Les Plateaux” and Marsannay. Wednesday was dedicated to the Regional Designations “Les Rouges Champs” and then the next day to “Aligoté” and Bourgognes Whites.
The 27th was in Vosne Romanée for the 1st cru “Les Suchots” and “Les Petits Monts”. After a day of rest, we continued the harvest in Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits “Les Dames Huguettes” and a week later Hautes-Côtes whites and reds, “Le Prieuré” and “La Croix” on Saturday, 6th October.
Hardship leads to excellence...
The year 2012 was particularly trying for the vine growers throughout the vegetative phase but what a challenge to overcome!
Rare and precious, this magnificent vintage offers dense wines with deep colour, fruit with a hint of blackcurrant, cherry and strawberry in the wood that are rich and intense with spicy notes. The tannins are silky and round and the acid-tannin balance offers wonderful aromatic complexity and great harmony.