September 1, 2014

My second week of work started very much as the first week had ended, with surprise

adventures and excitement. After an hour or so of barrel work I was summoned to

come meet some colleagues of Monsieur Lafarge and go on a tour of biodynamic

vineyards. The meeting place was naturally in the town square in front of my house,

and I soon had exchanged “bonjours’ with about fifteen folks, some of whom I

recognized from Friday’s grand casse-croute luncheon. We started in the 1er cru

vineyard outside my house. One of the key goals of biodynamic farming is creating

healthy, quality soil; this meant that fresh soil samples were dug up in each vineyard

which allowed me observe up-close yet another facet of terroir. The first half of our tour

consisted of several Volnay 1er cru and village vineyards.

Then there was a memorable lunch at the Cellier Volnaysien restaurant. I was

pleasantly surprised to see each of the vignerons bring in a bottle of wine. Soon bottles

were being opened, many which lacked labels. I think nine bottles for a party of 14

sounds reasonable enough for a Monday lunch… We had some excellent Volnay 1er

crus from the vineyards we had visited that morning (wine always tastes better when

you’ve smelled the dirt in the vineyard earlier that day), then there was a stunning

2001 Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru Clavoillon which I did not think could be surpassed…

until I tasted an unlabeled bottle of white wine that was being passed around. I have

quickly learned here in Burgundy that when someone offers you a glass from an

unlabeled bottle, it behooves you to eagerly accept. The wine offered elegance, depth

and softness like none I had encountered before. It wasn’t until later (after I helped

myself to a second glass) that I learned that it was a Batard-Montrachet grand cru. The

escargot, coq au vin and potatoes and apple tartine went well with the wines.

I mistakenly thought that the tour of vineyards had ended, but instead we caravanned

over to a few more Volnay vineyards, then a Pommard 1er cru vineyard, and a Beaune

1er cru vineyard before I unexpectedly found myself heading to the Cote de Nuits to

examine some vineyards in Vosne-Romanee. The quality of wines from the Commune

of Vosne-Romanee is generally quite high, but our group was soon standing in some of

the region’s finest vineyards, checking the soils, looking at the canopies, tasting the fruit

and discussing the overall health of the vineyard ecosystem. I returned home at 7:30

p.m. after a twelve hour day, but what a day it was.

Working in another fine Vosne-Romanee vineyard Pinot noir cluster in Vosne-Romanee Some of the best dirt for Pinot noir in the world At work in a very splendid vineyard in Vosne-Romanee View from Beaune 1er cru vineyard Les Aigrots View from Pommard 1er cru vineyard--Pommard in center, Volnay in distance Volnay 1er cru En Champans clusters Volnay 1er cru Les Fremiets rocks and dirt My happy home in Volnay (red roof, center) viewed from a 1er cru vineyard


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