2020 has been complicated for all of us. It should be a special year, as the 20th anniversary of the Femmes et Vins de Bourgogne. At last I can start circulating again to visit my vigneron friends. I have just come back from Chablis where I was able to taste with Isabelle, Lucie, Nathalie, Athénaïs & Gaëlle, Nathalie & Julie, and Eleni, among others.
Today it has become normal, happily, and no longer a cause for remark if we taste with vigneronnes rather than vignerons. When I open a bottle, it does not occur to me to think about the gender of the winemaker, certainly not. However, I do care about who has made the wine. It is my incredible good fortune to have walked the vineyards and met the vignerons who make the wine that I drink – which I am sure enhances my pleasure because as I raise the glass to sniff the wine, I can see the contours of the vines and hear the words, the characteristic personal phrases or the smiles and laughs (it should be possible to bottle the laughs of some people!) of the vigneron responsible for the wine in my glass.
The years go by but are never the same. The vintage will be with us and I have just come across these words of Colette, Femme de Bourgogne, and a great admirer of wine, in correspondence with the négociant Louis Brocard:
"The vintage, a rushed joy, the urgency to bring ripe and unripe* grapes together to the press in a single day, a rhythm which is far removed from the dreamy cadence of other harvests, a pleasure , redder than any other, songs, little drunken cries - then silence, the sleep of the new wine now cloistered, become intangible, withdrawn from dirty hands…" (my translation)
*no longer the case today
Long live 2021!
I'm not unhappy to turn the page on 2020, a year which, as time went by, proved to be more and more complicated! Even if our association was able, from the beginning of the year, and thanks to the energy and positivity of all, to strengthen the bonds that unite us.
However, in this never-ending tunnel, our nerves have been and are still being put to the test! We have all gone through this year with varying degrees of difficulty, with ups and downs; but we are going through this crisis together and united.
Of course, we can't kiss each other to wish each other our best wishes yet, but nothing prevents us from thinking of the wonderful moments to come.
The year 2021 promises to be a complicated year, even if some bright spots are now visible. And it is realistic, but also confident and optimistic, that I approach this new year which will, I am sure, reserve us some very beautiful moments.
You can be sure that Femmes (et Vins) de Bourgogne will know, again and as always, how to share their passion with you and make you discover their beautiful bottles full of emotion...
Let's keep the energy together and remain patient, but also careful.
At this very special time, I simply and very sincerely wish you health, happiness and a bit of global calm for all of you and your loved ones.
Under a tropical sun.
While France was in lockdown in Spring 2020, the vines in Burgundy were full of life and required all our energy to coordinate work in the field under a bright blue sky where only birds could be seen flying.
The countryside was exceptionally beautiful and was rapidly changing through the effects of the hot conditions and a few sharp showers.
How was the 2020 vintage to turn out ? As the months passed by, still under bright sun and with insufficient rain - quite serious including some areas nearby – all the forecasts agreed on an early grape harvest and an excellent vintage.
The first grapes were picked on 12 August, just north of Macon in the southernmost part of Burgundy where the harvest is usually the earliest ; elsewhere, throughout Burgundy, the harvest was well underway by the end of August.
Because of the Covid 19 restrictions it was not always easy to recruit pickers ; moreover, there were numerous constraints : no meals together, individual water-bottles, snacks during breaks to be handed out by one person only, adapting the timetable, social distancing, pedal-operated cleansing gel dispenser, masks in enclosed areas, etc.
Aware of these special circumstances, everybody cooperated with good humour so that the harvest could be accomplished in the best possible conditions.
The sanitary conditions of the grapes were excellent and little or no sorting was necessary ; just prior to harvest time there was some slight rainfall in the southern part of Burgundy and in some others further North , which was particularly beneficial, as was light rain during the harvest which helped to ensure the right degree of sugar content.
The analyses on the first must samples showed good equilibrium with Ph, tartric acid, fruit and corresponding degrees all meeting our specifications.
2020 has reached our expectations and Burgundy can be proud of this vintage.
The yield varies according to the location and the amount of rainfall but we can be optimistic : on average, even though lower, the yield is satisfactory particularly for the white appellations while the effects of low rainfall were especially noticeable on the Pinot noir.
Nevertheless, a year like no other, 2020 will be remembered for its high gustatory qualities : » bonum vinum laetificat cor hominis » - a man’s heart is warmed by good wine (the book of Ecclesiastes chapter XL. 20).
Françoise de Lostende
Château de Vinzelles
After the acquisition at the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction of the barrel Auxey Duresses 1er Cru les Duresses 2018 Cuvée Boillot by Femmes et Vins de Bourgogne, this is the result of the “aging” by Ludivine Griveau in association with Maison Pierre Mayeul. 288 bottles for charity purpose...wait and see..
On the eve of the economic crisis which disrupts the reign of Napoleon III and the ravages of the phylloxera (1868), two great poets find their inspiration around the vine and wine.
Alfonse de Lamartine celebrates Milly, the house he loves so much, in the heart of the vineyard in the poem "la Vigne et la Maison " in 1867 and Charles Baudelaire wrote the wonderful poem following "l'âme du vin ".
L’âme du vin
Un soir, l’âme du vin chantait dans les bouteilles :
« Homme, vers toi je pousse, ô cher déshérité,
Sous ma prison de verre et mes cires vermeilles,
Un chant plein de lumière et de fraternité !
Je sais combien il faut, sur la colline en flamme,
De peine, de sueur et de soleil cuisant
Pour engendrer ma vie et pour me donner l’âme ;
Mais je ne serai point ingrat ni malfaisant,
Car j’éprouve une joie immense quand je tombe
Dans le gosier d’un homme usé par ses travaux,
Et sa chaude poitrine est une douce tombe
Où je me plais bien mieux que dans mes froids caveaux.
Entends-tu retentir les refrains des dimanches
Et l’espoir qui gazouille en mon sein palpitant ?
Les coudes sur la table et retroussant tes manches,
Tu me glorifieras et tu seras content ;
J’allumerai les yeux de ta femme ravie ;
A ton fils je rendrai sa force et ses couleurs
Et serai pour ce frêle athlète de la vie
L’huile qui raffermit les muscles des lutteurs.
En toi je tomberai, végétale ambroisie,
Grain précieux jeté par l’éternel Semeur,
Pour que de notre amour naisse la poésie
Qui jaillira vers Dieu comme une rare fleur ! »
Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857