Due to exceptional weather conditions, buds broke early this year. This three-week advance was maintained until flowering. The vines went from the flower to the fruit set stage in optimum conditions around the 20th of May 2011. The months of April, May and June were exceptionally hot and sunny.
The drought was visible, and the harvest was already forecast for the end of August.
The summer months of July and August saw some heavy rain, stormy conditions and even a hailstone storm coming from the north that hit Gevrey on the 24th of July and significantly reduced the forecast harvest volume.
The health status of the vines at the time of the harvest was deemed satisfactory without real disease pressure, as this were brought under control by stripping the leaves of the north face vines in order to allow a better penetration of treatment products, good ventilation of the grapes and the control of a few botrytis bunch rot clusters.
At the time of the harvest, the situation was very different from one plot to the next: At Lavaux St Jacques, millerandage gave high quality small berries, on the lower vineyard of Gevrey, the grapes have been injured by hailstones, and also some very large healthy grapes, some vine plants gave no grapes following the frost of winter 2010 and some berries have been burnt and dehydrated by the heat of the month of June.
We decided to start the harvest on the 3rd of September 2011, the early harvest of this year reminds us already of the 2007 vintage.
The maturity level seemed to be optimum. At the time of the harvest, grapes have thick skin and the colour and phenolic compounds can seemingly be extracted easily.
Once again, the reactivity of our 8-strong sorting team in the vatting room allowed us to retain only the best grapes. The fruit of our harvest was placed in vats after complete destemming. We have chosen to cool down our grape must to 10°C in order to prevent a quick start of the alcoholic fermentation. We shall use indigenous yeast already present on the skins.
We finished the harvest in the sunshine on Friday the 9th of September in our Chambertin Grand Cru plot.
The first grape musts tasted before fermentation have a good sugar content with between 11.5 and 12% alcohol and a good sweetness versus acidity balance.
The malic acid of the grapes degraded with the strong heat and the total acidity should be stable and vary very little during the aging of the wine.