A year on the Hill of Corton

Archive for June, 2014

Are captions important ?

I was very pleased last month to be asked by Decanter magazine for photographs of Grand Cru white wine vineyards for their “Joy of Terroir” feature. Obviously I sent pictures from the Hill and they seem to have been interested in both these:ploughingEnCharlemagne@P-V_CRW4526@72

Early morning in Le Corton

Early morning in Le Corton


Unfortunately, through the wonders of, and the speed of, modern technology, the right picture got the wrong caption. Or vice versa, depending on your taste. Perhaps there will be room for a correction in the next issue, perhaps not.
These things happen ” in the best regulated homes” as my parents used to say.
Still I’m happy that the Hill got a DPS in Decanter!
In the end they used the the ploughing shot with Pernand in the background.

My June visit was very brief. The weather was good part from one damp day and everyone seemed very satisfied with this year’s flowering. Talk is of harvest starting around mid September. But as they say , “its August who decides.”
My work on the Hill finished with a couple of portraits of growers who had subscribed to the book, thereby meriting a tiny “mugshot” at the back of the book. I had a busy time with assignments in Vosne-Romanée, Puligny and Chassagne, all of which you may see before the end of the year, depending on what you read.
Here are a few images from that short stay.
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Evening light in Aloxe-Corton on a “precocious” vine.

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More rapid growth in Clos du Roi

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Aloxe’s Pinot Noir flowering

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Beehives and the Cabotte of Bonneau du Martray in Le Charlemagne

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The redesign of the cente of Meursault nears completion

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Meuneveaux, pere et fils, the last shot is done.

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Jean-Paul of St Aubin, the place to go with a puncture!

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A lesson in Burgundian genealogy in Chassagne-Montrachet!

In november a French text version of The Book will be out! Less than 5 months and counting… Here’s hoping one in English follows before too long.
Meanwhile, I shall be back in July but not sadly for the Balade Gourmande in Ladoix, I hope the weather stays kind for them this weekend.

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Bernhard Huber

From now on I’ll try to keep you up to date with news of the book (its title for one thing!) and any other wine/Burgundy news that might worth passing on.

Julian, Barbara and Bernard Huber of Baden in Southern Germany

Julian, Barbara and Bernard Huber of Baden in Southern Germany


Its very sad to start by saying that a very “Burgundian” winemaker from Baden in Southern Germany who excelled with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Bernhard Huber, died yesterday after a battle with cancer.
I met him three years ago while shooting for “The Finest Wines of Germany” by Stephan Reinhardt, one of the World of Fine Wine’s “Finest Wines of…” series, then later at a wine fare in Berlin. He was a quiet, friendly and very modest man with a glowing, open smile who was a very respected winemaker who adored Burgundy and will be known to probably many of the winemakers on the Côte where he visited regularly.
He is survived by his energetic and hardworking wife and son Barbara and Julian who will, no doubt carry on his work.
On my travels I am fortunate to meet so many lovely people in the wine world who are a privilege to spend time with, and always have plans to go back. I really must do it !


May – and I am over the Hill !

Approaching Corton Hill by Aloxe-Corton around 07.15

Approaching Corton Hill by Aloxe-Corton around 07.15

Looking towards Pernand-Vergelesses from above Les Pougets

Looking towards Pernand-Vergelesses from above Les Pougets

After an anti-clockwise route we arrive at Pernand

After an anti-clockwise route we arrive at Pernand

Looking down over Les Bressandes and Les Renardes after a circuit of the Hill

Looking down over Les Bressandes and Les Renardes after a circuit of the Hill

A view of Buisson in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny

A view of Buisson in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny

The quarry at the northern end of the Hill has bitten into Les Grechons !

The quarry at the northern end of the Hill has bitten into Les Grechons !


Although I started this blog last September, by then I had been photographing for this book for five months. Finalising a deal with a publisher was close but still three months away.
I had been certain everything would work so I began work last April in order to meet a proposed publication date of November 2014. It was only with a request from World of Fine Wine magazine for a four-part series of articles that I had to take the plunge of beginning the blog too. From then on, failure to complete with a publisher would have left me rather embarrassed and with not much to write about!
Still, all is well, Glénat will publish in five months time but it is all coming together at the last minute.
My deadline was extended until the end of June in order to make a few additions and we are now in the process of agreeing picture selection. It is a time for seeing other people’s point of view, listening to wiser heads, but above all sticking to your own vision.
However,its amazing to me that what seems like the best possible selection and layout on Friday evening looks so wrong on Monday.The removal or addition of one picture affects everything. The “marriage” of two pictures on a double page spread does not always need an obvious visual link but can create a statement of its own.
Deadlines are deadlines and decisions must be made, but the extension has allowed me to profit from the offer of a helicopter ride around the Hill and also catch up with very busy winemakers I need portraits of.
Shooting from a helicopter with no door between you and eternity is great when you have the light you want in the right direction and if its not too windy. Well I had to settle for two out of three but hope one or more of the end results will be make it into the book.
With me in the passenger seat on the left means an anti-clockwise circuit of the Hill. In the wind it was too difficult to hover and the views rushed past the camera.
It was all over too soon, just when I was getting used to it!
Thank you to my friendly vigneron in need of flying hours!
Judging when to fly is difficult, in a few weeks time the vines will be rampant, in need of secateurs and the lines of vines not so distinct, but there will be more growth and colour. In spring at least you have a good view of the soil and different parcels.I am not enamoured of the vines in the summer, they look rather dark. Autumn could be fabulous – I must start saving for that now…

Back on “terra firma” the Hill has enjoyed such a warm dry spell that growers have, unlike last spring, been looking forward to some rain and praying the frost would stay away. Fingers are crossed for a dry and sunny period for flowering some time soon.
Meanwhile I continue to work for magazine clients whose work has helped finance my commitment to the book.
After June, lets see what there is to report on the book’s progress, but I am cannot breech the confidentiality of a clients’s assignments by reporting on my work for them. Readers of wine magazines can just keep an eye on the photo credits to see what I have been doing.
Here are a few photos from May.

A comparison of  with and without herbicide...

A comparison of with and without herbicide from elsewhere on the Côte de Beaune…


While I stand in the same place for an hour and a half watching the Hill, the view to my left towards Savigny-Les-Beaune looks dramatic

While I stand in the same place for an hour and a half watching the Hill, the view to my left towards Savigny-Les-Beaune looks dramatic