A year on the Hill of Corton

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More sad news

The headlines on jancisrobinson.com, Decanter and Wine Spectator are all about the passing of Paul Pontallier
of Château Margaux. I have visited there several times and its a special place with great people and Paul was special to them.
Its some pair of shoes to fill. Only 59 and always seeming full of life. Still can’t believe it….

Paul Pontallier will be greatly missed, not only at Château Margaux but around the world.

Paul Pontallier will be greatly missed, not only at Château Margaux but around the world.

Less well known perhaps was Bernard Dubreuil of Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine. I only heard today of his funeral this afternoon. He had been ill for a while and I had hoped he was going to win his battle, but sadly not.
He was a great supporter of my Corton book and it is he you will find raising the tricolour from a balcony at the domaine in Pernand-Vergelesses on Bastille day.
Here is the dear man looking typically jolly in a cellar in Pernand.
Dubreuil@P-V_CRW0185-13

Of course he was retired, leaving his daughter Christine run the estate for a while now, but he was often to be seen helping out. A warm and kindly man I wish I had known better, but was lucky to know at all, a proud Frenchman and Burgundian. I shall miss very much.


Henri Bonneau RIP

Back in 2003 Wine Spectator asked me shoot a story on Châteauneuf du Pape. It was not my first visit but I was looking forward to staying several days.
The magazine often made suggestions regarding portraits but with Henri Bonneau I was told to go gently and do whatever he wanted.
On the morning of the appointment I was met at my hotel, La Mere Germaine, by Isabel Ferrando from Domaine St Prefert who was to introduce me to her much loved mentor. Henri lived high up in the village and I went fully prepared with my lighting, dragging it up the steep narrow cobbled street to his cellar.
On my my arrival, there was coffee as we all sat to discuss what was needed.
Isabel had warned me that this appointment had been difficult to arrange after he had sworn never to be photographed again. He had suffered at the hands of some Parisian photographer who made him look rather tired and ill-tempered…
After a brief tour of the small, cramped but rambling cellar, I realised an extension cable was required to power my lights. His son Marcel was dispatched to find one while we stood at the cellar door chatting. I already understood  that the cellar was going to be a long and complicated shoot and was concerned Henri would relive his previous experience.

In truth I had arrived expecting a prickly old man, demanding and difficult to please, but Henri was nothing like that, relaxed and jolly with a twinkle in his eye. Still I had decided once I had my best shot I would call it a day and not risk outstaying my welcome.
Within a matter of minutes the light at the cellar door had changed. The sun had risen sufficiently to hit a nearby white wall that reflected it back onto Henri. A quick test showed it was balancing nicely with the interior light in the cellar. This was all pre-digital for me so I showed Henri the polaroid and he liked what he saw. By the time Marcel returned with the cable I was satisfied with what I had and my model was still happy. Job done. I never did get back to taste his extraordinary wines but I had at least met and got to know the great man a little.

Chateauneuf du Pappe lost a great winemaker

Châteauneuf du Pape  has lost a great winemaker.

After my success with the OIV last year I have asked to read and comment on one of this year’s entries. Very honoured to be asked.

Work wise I missed The Grands Jours in Burgundy this year, it seems the weather is being as kind as two years ago when I nearly got sunburnt eating my lunch on steps in Ladoix !

In April I’m off to work in Uruguay briefly then on to Chile to shoot harvest there. Looking forward to it !

Meanwhile I’m still trying hard to help Glénat find a US publisher for Une Année en Corton. I’m told its too “niche”…. Well, we’ll see about that !


New York, New York !

I have not been back to Burgundy for some time. I was hopeful I would be returning in early March but that requirement was dealt with by stock photos. Another regular client will not want me there before mid May, by which time I may have other commitments.

Anyway that means another blog looks a some way away…

I have been told by the book’s publishers that at the Frankfurt Book Fair it was seen as  a little specialised and consequently it was not shown at all at the London Book Fair last year. Having spoken to my US clients it seems that they would both be prepared to review “Corton” if there was an English language version. One of them claims a worldwide readership of 3.5 million so that would be a help !

I next set about researching US publishers that might be interested…. Sometimes its difficult to get past an automated  switchboard but you just have to persist and keeping looking and asking. So that’s where we are, I am in touch with two US publishers in New York and must now be patient.

I have spoken to publishers in the UK but we all seem to agree that English wine lovers are much less interested in photographs than the US may be. Personally I think it would do well in Asia, but let’s take one step at a time. If any of you have any suggestions, I’d be very happy to hear them !

Meanwhile, I know you came here to see photos of Burgundy so here are some portraits of those 67 helpful Corton owning growers who subscribed to “Corton”

Baron Jean-Baptiste Bordeaux-Montrieux is based in Givry, but has 0.9 ha in the top section of Corton Clos du Roi

Baron Jean-Baptiste Bordeaux-Montrieux is based in Givry, but has 0.9 ha in the top section of Corton Clos du Roi.

Pierre Cornu from Ladoix-Serrigny who hosted me for a week of the 2013 harvest.

Pierre Cornu from Ladoix-Serrigny who hosted me for a week of the 2013 harvest.

Franck Follin-Arbelet in Aloxe-Corton, a supporter from the beginning.

Franck Follin-Arbelet in Aloxe-Corton, a supporter from the beginning.

David Croix, in Beaune, who has his own estate and runs Camille-Giroud too. Busy boy !

David Croix, in Beaune, who has his own estate and runs Camille-Giroud too. Busy boy !

Bruno Clair from Marsannay. When you have such support, it feels good !

Bruno Clair from Marsannay. When you have such support, it feels good !

The Bouzereau-Gruere family from Meursault are very proud of their Bressandes. A lovely B+B in Chassagne-Montrachet.

The Bouzereau-Gruere family from Meursault are very proud of their Bressandes. A lovely B+B in Chassagne-Montrachet.

Brother and sister Francois and Claude de Nicolay at Domaine Chandon de Briailles in Savigny-les-Beaune

Brother and sister Francois and Claude de Nicolay at Domaine Chandon de Briailles in Savigny-les-Beaune

Maurice Chapuis, mayor of Aloxe-Corton, in his cellar. Brother of Claude Chapuis who wrote his own book about Corton thirty years ago and wrote the foreword to mine.

Maurice Chapuis, mayor of Aloxe-Corton, in his cellar. Brother of Claude Chapuis who wrote his own book about Corton thirty years ago and wrote the foreword to mine.

Christophe Roumier has a few rows of En Charlemagne.

Christophe Roumier has a few rows of En Charlemagne.

Jean-Charles Le Bault de la Moriniére of Domaine Bonneau du Martray, key to the realisation of the whole project

Jean-Charles Le Bault de la Moriniére of Domaine Bonneau du Martray in Pernand-Vergellesses, key to the realisation of the whole project.

It’ll be a few months before I’m back there but in my absence I am enjoying following Bill Nanson and Greg Love on Facebook.


Paris

 

Last Friday I had a half-written post about a recent overnight visit to Paris with my wife to collect an award for “Corton” from the OIV (see http://www.oiv.int/oiv/info/enprixOIV ) which, after Friday is now irrelevant. It was a couple of days with friends enjoying the city guided by locals. Near the Luxembourg Gardens I had found this.

A wall near the Palais de Luxembourg in Paris.

A wall near the Palais de Luxembourg in Paris.

A few days later, on a visit to friends in Burgundy, we were shown this, in the village of Comblanchien, north of Beaune.
Both items I had felt best left out of the post I was writing.
Now they are horribly relevant, reminders of what France has suffered in the past and has had the strength to recover from.

Comblanchien memorial.

Comblanchien memorial.

A small sign of hope for the future perhaps…


Chile

Ever since I won an award sponsored by Vina Errazuriz from Chile in 2014 I had wondered when and if I’d ever get back there…

Nearly there.

Nearly there.


My previous visit had been in in 1989 so I was very pleased to have the opportunity to return recently.
Like Argentina earlier this year its a day’s flying to get there and the job was only three days. Still I knew the people at Errazuriz will look after me and plan sensibly. So it was that I arrived on a Tuesday lunchtime at Panquehue where Errazuriz has its Icon winery. We were due to work inside as it is still Spring there and the vines were not showing much life from a distance.
Definitely Chilly in Chile

Definitely Chilly in Chile


It was also chilly Chile near Andes but further along the Aconcagua Valley towards the coast at Vina Sena things were a little further on. Anyway meeting Eduardo Gonzales the vineyard manager there would warm anyone’s day. Wednesday was an early morning as we had to arrive at the spectacular viewpoint high in the vines around 6 am. Happily it was well supplied with coffee and Chilean “Jammy Dodgers” !
Sunrise was a little less than spectacular but we managed.
The super Eduardo Gonzales of Vina Sena

The super Eduardo Gonzales of Vina Sena


Pre-dawn start at Vina Sena

Pre-dawn start at Vina Sena


VSdawnCHI_2994blog
Another super Eduardo, Chadwick, who set up Vina Sena with Robert Mondavi but now owns it 100%.

Another super Eduardo, Chadwick, who set up Vina Sena with Robert Mondavi but now owns it 100%.


Chilean “Jammy Dodgers”
very welcome with coffee.


Eduardo Chadwick arrived for his shoot at 8 pleased to find we were not getting the rain he had left behind in Santiago. The clouds duly began to break and by 10 a couple of layers of warm clothing had been shed and some blue sky was available, even if the sun was in the wrong place by now !
Could n't drive past that tree without stopping to admire it !

Could n’t drive past that tree without stopping to admire it !


Leaving Vina Sena, will be very happy to see it and Eduardo again !

Leaving Vina Sena, will be very happy to see it and Eduardo again !


Lunch back at Panquehue was without Tuesday’s gas heaters and the light was wonderful by 4pm.
Hoping I deserved this !

Hoping I deserved this !


The Icon winery at Errazuriz.

The Icon winery at Errazuriz.


The winery under a better sky than the day before.

The winery under a better sky than the day before.


By 6pm I was being escorted to Aconcagua Costa down by the coast and a seafood dinner was provided after a quick dusk tour of a huge rolling vineyard that looked, for once to have been designed for photography.
Raimundo tells me where the sun will rise tomorrow. I want that app !

Raimundo tells me where the sun will rise tomorrow.
I want that app !


Then its off for a Pisco sour and a seafood dinner on the coast.

Then its off for a Pisco sour and a seafood dinner on the coast.


Sunrise over the Andes seen from Aconcagua Costa

Sunrise over the Andes seen from Aconcagua Costa


Again we were on hand for Thursday’s spectacular photoshop style sunrise no one believes was real.
Even in the cloudy morning that followed there were views everywhere and when you have to shoot a soil expert and geologist down a metre deep hole, bright sun is not desirable.
Vineyard manager Carlos, my guide Raimundo and geologist Françoise alongside Emmanuel in his hole !

Vineyard manager Carlos, my guide Raimundo and geologist Françoise alongside Emmanuel in his hole !


Volcanic rock cut through this schist 60 million years ago !

Volcanic rock cut through this schist 60 million years ago !


Françoise and Emmanuel were there on a second soil survey as the vineyard, with its many directional exposures will be home to a number of grape varieties.
Would you believe these experts were Burgundians so a few names were dropped and a little gossip exchanged. I felt right at home !
Again by late morning the sun appeared but after a picnic it was time to head back to Santiago and a crowded flight home.
The sun arrives just as I'm going !

The sun arrives just as I’m going !


It was worth every minute of that journey !


Livres en Vignes

When I first had the idea for my book about Corton back in summer 2011 I had no idea the friends it would introduce me to and the new experiences it would lead me into.
I did look forward a little egotistically to the idea of signing books for an army of enthusiastic purchasers at Athenaeum in Beaune. In fact just having MY book on a shelf there ( as opposed to the several books by others I have illustrated ) gives quite a feeling of accomplishment. However when you are a foreigner and completely unknown it is best not to expect too much !
However I did receive an invitation to join more than eighty authors for a two day signing at Château du Clos de Vougeot over a weekend at the end of September. To share that with such people as Jean Robert Pitte, Jean-François Bazin, Dominique Loisseau and Remi Krug to name but a few big names was quite something. As was the inaugural dinner laid on by Alberic Bichot, a wonderful host with a great sense of humour.

My office for the weekend !

My office for the weekend !


In good company

In good company


Dominique Loisseau gets to work.

Dominique Loisseau gets to work.


My neighbour gets a visitor

My neighbour gets a visitor


Lunch is included !

Lunch is included !


Jean Robert Pitte's dessert, I'm pleased to say there was enough for everyone and it was delicious.

Jean Robert Pitte’s dessert, I’m pleased to say there was enough for everyone and it was delicious.


Andrei Gratchev - interesting company no doubt

Andrei Gratchev – interesting company no doubt

Claude Chapuis, my neighbour who contributed my preface, hiding from the sun but looking cool!

Claude Chapuis, my neighbour who contributed my preface, hiding from the sun but looking cool!

Walking back to Chambolle-Musigny

Walking back to Chambolle-Musigny


Just  what you need after a hard day at the office ! Hotel André Ziltner at Chambolle-Musigny

Just what you need after a hard day at the office ! Hotel André Ziltner at Chambolle-Musigny


How about enjoying that meal sat next to the former press secretary to Gorbachev! I must have bored him but Andrei Gratchev and his wife Alla are charming company and I was able to repay the debt by guiding them the following morning from our accommodation at the Hotel André Ziltner ( the weekend was full of new experiences ! ) in Chambolle-Musigny through the vines of Musigny and Les Amoureuses in glorious sunshine to our tables at Clos de Vougeot.
I have to confess business was a bit slow on Saturday but it was interesting to meet the other authors, even if I felt a little out of my depth!
Lunch was fun, sat between Jean Robert pitta and the local Euro MP I kept very quiet!
I then found I had been put on a panel for a discussion about Burgundy in relation to the New World. Claude Chapuis got me through that one. Did I say the debate was in French!!
That night, a Chapitre at Clos de Vougeot! My first time in a bow tie and dinner jacket for a while. I had photographed them before but to be a guest is very special. The Chevaliers du Tastevin know how to do things and it was fun to be a guest while local photographer Jean-Louis Bernuy had to work!
Saturday evening and  a Chapître awaits.

Saturday evening and a Chapître awaits.


Jean-Louis Bernuy gets ready for a long evenings work ahead

Jean-Louis Bernuy gets ready for a long evenings work ahead


Mr and Mrs Gratchev dressed for the occasion, as we all must !

Mr and Mrs Gratchev dressed for the occasion, as we all must !


Jean-Louis ready for action

Jean-Louis ready for action

And there is plenty !

And there is plenty !


You have to be able to keep up with it though.

You have to be able to keep up with it though.

Plenty of encouragement to enjoy the evening.

Plenty of encouragement to enjoy the evening.


The end is sight !

The end is sight !

Sunday afternoon was the busy time signing and I left to walk back to Chambolle in the evening sun hoping I might be invited again next year, but very grateful for the experiences of the weekend if that was to be the last time.

Sunday draws to a close. Its been a lot of fun !

Sunday draws to a close.
Its been a lot of fun !

Friday had been a working day in Chablis in a continuation of the glorious September weather. A visit to the Raveneau family was followed by a sandwich by the River Serein and my first sighting of a Kingfisher, that azure bullet with an orange tip that flashes past at great speed and leaves you feeling altogether happier for the encounter. Then on to see Vincent Dauvissat and Domaine des Hâtes in Maligny before taking up my weekend residence at Chambolle-Musigny.

Vincent Dauvissat in Chablis, a reluctant subject, but a rewarding one.

Vincent Dauvissat in Chablis, a reluctant subject, but a rewarding one.


Jean-Marie Raveneau, another Chablis icon who prefers to keep away from the camera.

Jean-Marie Raveneau, another Chablis icon who prefers to keep away from the camera.


So on Monday back to work again. To see Chantal and Florian Remy in Morey-St-Denis and Vincent Gros in Vosne-Romanée before spending the afternoon with Dominique Laurent in and around Flagey-Echezeaux enjoying the ride in his Ferrarified Fiat 500 !
Mme Chantal Remy at Morey-St Denis

Mme Chantal Remy at Morey-St Denis


Florian Remy and friend.

Florian Remy and friend.


The rooves ofVosne-Romanée

The rooves ofVosne-Romanée


Vincent Gros shoots me as I shoot the view of Vosne  from the roof of Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur

Vincent Gros shoots me as I shoot the view of Vosne from the roof of Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur


Emptying one of Dominique Laurent's cuves in Flagey-Echezeaux

Emptying one of Dominique Laurent’s cuves in Flagey-Echezeaux


Dominique Laurent, no longer the patissier.

Dominique Laurent, no longer the patissier.


But still keen on cars, especially his Ferrarified red Fiat !

But still keen on cars, especially his Ferrarified red Fiat !


On Tuesday before catching my train I was able to meet up with two new winemakers; Jane Eyre-Renard,an half Australian, half Norwegian young lady ( Jane, don’t argue, at my age you are all young! With one or two notable exceptions….) and Anne Morey, Pierre’s daughter. Jane was getting a helping hand from Dominique Lafon to move her wine over to new premises at Château de Bligny, part of the new Wine Studio development set up by Dominique Lafon and Pierre Meurgey to offer facilities to up and coming winemakers just starting out. A great idea!
Jane Eyre-Renard looks  the  typical  exhausted winemaker after the harvest !

Jane Eyre-Renard looks the typical exhausted winemaker after the harvest !


Meanwhile, elsewhere in Meursault they are cleaning up at Domaine Morey

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Meursault they are cleaning up at Domaine Morey


Anne Morey has taken over from father Pierre.

Anne Morey has taken over from father Pierre.


After that I went off to catch up with Tom ( The Hungry Cyclist http://www.thehungrycyclist.com) Kevill-Davies who has done an amazing job setting up his cycling holiday business in Auxey-Duresses.
Tom and his visitors' book!

Tom and his visitors’ book!


Saying goodbye to Clos de Vougeot and the sun is still shining !

Saying goodbye to Clos de Vougeot and the sun is still shining !


A great harvest comes early. Part 2

Back in the Côte d’Or the sun continued to shine while the harvest action had moved north. So must I, with work to do in Flagey-Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin.
Harvest time is a difficult time to distract a winemaker for photographs. This is when being known and trusted can make the difference.

Heading north from Beaune I find Domaine Cornu's team celebrating the end of their harvest in Ladoix-Serrigny

Heading north from Beaune I find Domaine Cornu’s team celebrating the end of their harvest in Ladoix-Serrigny


Exchanging books with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair in Vosne-Romanée

Exchanging books with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair in Vosne-Romanée

La Romanée waiting for triage  @ Liger-Belair

La Romanée waiting for triage @ Liger-Belair

Preparation at Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur in Vosne

Preparation at Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur in Vosne


Tasting room at Gros F+S. Bernard and son Vincent do  an entertaining duet

Tasting room at Gros F+S. Bernard and son Vincent do an entertaining duet


Up on the oof the view is well worth the climb.

Up on the roof the view is well worth the climb.


This front door about sums up the 2015 vintage...

This front door about sums up the 2015 vintage…


Down in Richebourg things are under way.

Down in Richebourg things are under way.


What a beauty !

What a beauty !

Meanwhile the team are hard at work in La Tâche Meanwhile the team are hard at work in La Tâche
Meanwhile there is a friendly invasion of Romanée Conti by a bunch of New Zealand special forces masquerading as cyclists!

Meanwhile there is a friendly invasion of Romanée Conti by a bunch of New Zealand special forces masquerading as cyclists!


I manage to infiltrate and get invited to lunch !
A very hospitable bunch of Rugby loving New Zealanders.

A very hospitable bunch of Rugby loving New Zealanders.

On to Gevrey-Chambertin in an effort to gatecrash their harvest!

No action yet in Clos St Jacques

No action yet in Clos St Jacques


But Ruchottes awaits the boys from Rousseau any minute.

But Ruchottes awaits the boys from Rousseau any minute.


Not sure if Arnaud Mortet is helping Eric Rousseau or just learning from a master!

Not sure if Arnaud Mortet is helping Eric Rousseau or just learning from a master!


Another friendly reception at Drouhin Laroze in Gevrey-Chambertin, my first, but not last, visit.

Another friendly reception at Drouhin Laroze in Gevrey-Chambertin, my first, but not last, visit.


Rossignol-Trapet are busy in their Gevrey-Chambertin overlooked by the, now Chinese owned, Château

Rossignol-Trapet are busy in their Gevrey-Chambertin overlooked by the, now Chinese owned, Château


Jean-Louis Trapet et Fils  at their Gevrey cuverie

Jean-Louis Trapet et Fils at their Gevrey cuverie

In Gevrey, Domaine Magnien do a very public triage.

In Gevrey, Domaine Magnien do a very public triage.


And back at Romanée Conti you are sure of an audience of one form or another...

And back at Romanée Conti you are sure of an audience of one form or another…


The first grapes from Romanée Conti are on their way.

The first grapes from Romanée Conti are on their way.

While the triage team await expectantly....

While the triage team await expectantly….

Then its all systems go !

Then its all systems go !


What price a vatful of Romanée Conti pinot noir?

What price a vatful of Romanée Conti pinot noir?


At Liger-Belair. La Romanée 2015 is being born !

At Liger-Belair. La Romanée 2015 is being born !


In Morey-St Denis, Cécile Tremblay is busy too.

In Morey-St Denis, Cécile Tremblay is busy too.


At Gros Frère + Soeur they are cleaning up.

At Gros Frère + Soeur they are cleaning up.


And, back in Vosne, Lalou Bize Leroy checks the triage.

And, back in Vosne, Lalou Bize Leroy checks the triage.


A great harvest comes early. Part 1

Every so often my harvest visit to Burgundy merges with another assignment in the Rhône and this year there was a third client, Flint Wines in London. Consequently when I arrived back in Burgundy I had missed most of the Côte de Beaune. I still had a very interesting time in the Côte de Nuits enjoying great weather and meeting very happy winemakers.
I had planned to visit Chablis but the dreadful hailstorm meant that trip was best delayed.Can you imagine trying to photograph someone who had just lost 85% of his Grand Crus a week before harvest…?
I managed to catch Jean-Michel Chartron harvesting their Chevalier Montrachet before having to head south to Avignon before returning.

Chartron's famous Chevalier Montrachet gate

Chartron’s famous Chevalier Montrachet gate


Michel Niellon was picking his Chevalier too

Michel Niellon was picking his Chevalier too

Cleaning up at Chartron

Cleaning up at Chartron

Getting the barrels ready at Chartron

Getting the barrels ready at Chartron

Marine Roussel@ Domaine Joncier in Tavel

Marine Roussel@ Domaine Joncier in Tavel


Her husband watches from behind a reflector !

Her husband watches from behind a reflector !
Nicolas Haeni at Malmont provides coffee after an early start Nicolas Haeni at Malmont provides coffee after an early start

Nicolas's Malmont vineyard,near Seguret, all his own work - watch this space !

Nicolas’s Malmont vineyard, near Seguret, all his own work – watch this space !

Jean-Louis Chave relaxeswith a glass of  his favourite - St Joseph !

Jean-Louis Chave relaxes with a glass of his favourite – St Joseph !

Jean-Louis Chave's project in St Joseph. Formidable !

Jean-Louis Chave’s project in St Joseph. Formidable !


Jacques Grange and Claire Darnaud at Delas Frères

Jacques Grange and Claire Darnaud at Delas Frères


Isabelle and brother Christophe Sabon in Couthézon bear Châteauneuf du Pape

Isabelle and brother Christophe Sabon in Courthézon near Châteauneuf du Pape


Vincent Avril in Clos des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape

Vincent Avril in Clos des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape


Julien Pilion loads his Viognier in Condrieu

Julien Pilion loads his Viognier in Condrieu


Philippe Guigal and his Dad think is their best ever vintage. The grapes from La Turque looked amazing.

Philippe Guigal and his Dad think 2015 is their best ever vintage. The grapes from La Turque looked amazing.


Start of harvest in Guigal's La Turque in Côte Rôtie

Start of harvest in Guigal’s La Turque in Côte Rôtie


Dawn at Corton

Dawn at Corton


Chardonnay in Charlemagne, quite a sight.

Chardonnay in Charlemagne, quite a sight.


The pickers are summoned to the Paulée at Bonneau du Martray in Pernand -Vergellesses

The pickers are summoned to their Paulée at Bonneau du Martray in Pernand -Vergelesses


Next morning Pierre-Yves is busy lining up his barrels in his new cellar in Chassagne-Montrachet

Next morning Pierre-Yves Colin is busy lining up his barrels in his new cellar in Chassagne-Montrachet

while cassecroute awaits

while cassecroute awaits

Over the road Laurent Pillot is watching his Aligoté come in

Over the road Laurent Pillot is watching his Aligoté come in


Its Aligoté- o-clock at Pillot's

Its Aligoté- o-clock at Pillot’s


Quality control at work

Quality control at work


I hope he has n't lost his watch....

I hope he has n’t lost his watch….

Paul Zinetti at Comte Armand knows there is still plenty of work to do...

Paul Zinetti at Comte Armand knows there is still plenty of work to do…


Up at Louis Latour the reds are still coming in at their 19th century cuverie

Up at Louis Latour the reds are still coming in at their 19th century cuverie


At the Hospices de Beaune things are more modern. No “pigeage a pied ” here.


Ludivine Grivault is pretty pleased with her first vintage at Les Hospices

Ludivine Grivault is pretty pleased with her first vintage at Les Hospices


Nioc Potel is always smiling anyway !

Nioc Potel is always smiling anyway!


Nico's winemaker Xavier is more serious and likes to work in the dark.

Nico’s winemaker Xavier is more serious and likes to work in the dark.


Meanwhile Germain relaxes in between presses

Meanwhile Germain relaxes in between presses


Caroline Frey keeping an eye on her bit of Burgundy

Caroline Frey keeping an eye on her bit of Burgundy


Summer

Well it was not really a wine summer for me. A very brief trip to Château Clinet and the friendly folk there in Pomerol and another to Vosne Romanée to visit Cros Parentoux and the Henri Jayer connection in a shoot for Libers the auction house. The latter was interesting but I am staggered by the prices people will pay for wine when so many people are in need. But then the same goes for cars or any other luxury item. I guess high end craftsmanship should be supported, but selling a bottle of wine at auction prices is not really supporting the winemaker, just the ego of someone with a great deal of money. My apologies if I have missed something here but I am happy to listen to anyone with the opposite point of view… The same goes for all forms of art but here the artist’s reputation, if he is still alive, benefits and a queue forms for his work. I have seen it happen to a child prodigy and I wonder whether that is good for him as an artist, or as a person…

Ronan Laborde, owner of Chåteau Clinet since 2003, in his cellar

Ronan Laborde, owner of Chåteau Clinet since 2003, in his cellar


Early Merlot veraision in Pomerol 19/7/2015

Early Merlot veraision in Pomerol 19/7/2015


Clinet vineyards next to the church that guides a lot of people to Pomerol

Clinet vineyards next to the church that guides a lot of people to Pomerol


A July sunset in Pomerol comes right in the middle of dinner, but is difficult to resist !

A July sunset in Pomerol comes right in the middle of dinner, but is difficult to resist !


An expensive bottle of wine looks like this, I did not touch any of them !

An expensive bottle of wine looks like this, I did not touch any of them !


Cros Parantoux at Vosne-Romanée and a wall of rocks Henri Jayer cleared from the vineyard himself.

Cros Parantoux at Vosne-Romanée and a wall of rocks Henri Jayer cleared from the vineyard himself. On the left of the wall is Richebourg !

Jayer's name still shines out.

Jayer’s name still shines out.


The former Jayer cuverie seems anonymous from the N974

The former Jayer cuverie seems anonymous from the N974


A fortunate encounter with the man himself ove ten years ago, courtesy of Véronique Drouhin

A fortunate encounter with the man himself over ten years ago, courtesy of Véronique Drouhin


A busy but sad spring

The photographer/subject relationship builds over time. Sometimes you taste together, sometimes (very occasionally) eat together. The basis of the relationship for me is trust. Winning trust is important and very satisfying.

I am very sad that I will never again meet up with Anne-Claude Leflaive or Joseph Henriot. The suddenness of their passing holds a lesson for us all. It also reminds me of a sign I saw in a photographer’s shop window in the north of England a very long time ago:  “Secure the shadow, ere the substance fade…”

Their substance may have faded but their achievements were so important to Burgundy.

Joseph Henriot in a pose few would dare

Joseph Henriot in a pose few would dare

 

Anne-Claude Leflaive, at her happiest in the vineyards.

Anne-Claude Leflaive, at her happiest in the vineyards.

Before this sad news unfolded I had good week in Burgundy shooting a couple of days for the UK Burgundy specialist Flint Wines with Jason Haynes. I am so happy that someone is making a serious attempt to introduce their clients to the sources of the wine they are drinking. The growers all like him and appreciate his knowledge and his many visits. He has even managed to win the hand of a wine makers’ daughter Aurelia Gouges.

So rather than illustrating the usual faces for books and magazines I was being introduced to the less celebrated, often younger, but always excellent winemakers that abound in Burgundy if you are prepared to go looking.

Here are a few:

Amelie Berthaut in Fixin

Amelie Berthaut in Fixin

Jean Guiton in Bligny-Les-Beaune

Jean Guiton in Bligny-Les-Beaune

Agnes Paquet in Meloisy

Agnes Paquet in Meloisy.

Olivier Lamy in St Aubin

Olivier Lamy in St Aubin.

Arnaud Tessier ploughing in Meursault

Arnaud Tessier ploughing in Meursault, at the end of a long day.

Jean-Baptiste Ponsot in Rully

Jean-Baptiste Ponsot in Rully

Jean Grivot and daughter Mathilde in Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées

Jean Grivot and daughter Mathilde in Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées

Another part of a busy week was to visit Mme Lalou Bize Leroy

in both Vosne and her home near St Romain. We both staggered to find it was 35 years since I had first photographed her !

 

Lalou Bize Leroy smells her 60th vintage !

Lalou Bize Leroy smells her 60th vintage !

Aubert de Villaine got a visit too, another long time subject.

Aubert de Villaine at Domaine de la Romanée Conti looks happy with life.

Aubert de Villaine at Domaine de la Romanée Conti looks happy with life.

The new offices overlook Romanée St Vivant

The new offices overlook Romanée St Vivant

Romanée Conti’s reception

is not the only place I came across my book !

Apparently you can find the book in the ladies' hairdressers in Savigny !

Apparently you can find the book in the ladies’ hairdressers in Savigny !

Which reminds me that over a quarter of the print run was sold in November and December last year and it has reached the Amazon.fr top ten wine books 8 times in 2015 !

No 3 in the charts !

No 3 in the charts !

While in Vosne-Romanée I got a call asking me if I was free to go to Argentina after Easter for “a couple of days…”.
I was due to do a similar trip to Switzerland first but I was surprised to anyone would bring me to Argentina just for two days !

My Swiss trip was the idea of Charles Rolaz of Hammel Wines and although it was not the perfect time in the vineyards, there was plenty of activity there and in their cellars. The vineyard settings are both dramatic and majestic with their backdrop of snow covered mountains and shining lakes. Quite different from Burgundy on those days when you can’t see Mont Blanc !

Charles Rolaz of Hammel, Terres de Vins

Charles Rolaz of Hammel, Terres de Vins

Foudres at Chatelard

Foudres at Chatelard

Hammel's Clos de la George, Grand Cru Syrah in the Vaud

Hammel’s Clos de la George, Grand Cru Syrah in the Vaud

Terracing at Clos de la George

Terracing at Clos de la George

I have not seen Argentina since 1988 and I imagine much has changed but the journey has got no shorter!  10.30 pm on Easter Monday and I’m off to Mendoza via Sao Paolo and Santiago and happily with an entire row of four seats to myself. I am due in Mendoza around 5pm on Tuesday and will go straight to work. Sadly I’ve just missed harvest but there still plenty of activity in winery. Once more I’m looking at mountains with snow on but this time with warm sun on my back. By midday on Thursday the job is done and I’m off to Mendoza airport.

From Santiago to Mendoza

From Santiago to Mendoza

Jorge and press

Jorge and press

 

Jorge - a great face!

Jorge – a great face!

Among the Malbec

Among the Malbec

How do you illustrate non-intervention..?

How do you illustrate non-intervention..?

Carlos enjoys his “maté” while studying the vines.

Vines and mountains, Argentinian style.

Vines and mountains, Argentinian style.


On the Camino de Santiago

No, no, its not me!

My son Joe has decided, on a brief trip to Spain, that he wants to walk the Camino de Santiago. But in order to fit it in before he set off for Oz as part a six month sabbatical, he went straight to St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenees and started from there. On hearing that good friends of his had gone to Sierra Leone to help the fight against ebola, he has decided to try to use his effort to raise money for one particular organisation. He is about halfway and enjoying it, mostly,

Is that a skier or a pilgrim..?

and suffering a bit as well no doubt.

I’m glad he was able to pass through Rioja and take the day off to sightsee. His next wine stop will be Bierzo and I’m hoping he can link up with at least one winemaker I know in Villafranca. In 2010 while shooting for “the Finest Wines of Rioja and NW Spain” I often thought of trying the Camino and now my wife has caught the idea so it looks like it’ll be on the agenda soon! But 780km is a loooong way…

Having got up this morning to one too many emails suggesting I spend too much money on expensive presents for people who don’t need them, just because “its Christmas”, I thought I might suggest people spend that money in a different way. Does your dog really need a new collar for £33/40euros/$50, or should we be looking to spend it in other ways…? I love dogs, but none of mine ever worried about the caché of their collar…

 

So if you don’t need a new collar for your dog, you may choose to use the money here:

http://kslp.org.uk/fightebola

Here is the link to Joe’s Facebook page:

Fight Ebola in Sierra Leone: 400km of Camino Joe

Just don’t expect too many posts after tiring days!

 

I’m amazed how many views this blog gets from different countries around the world that are interested in Corton and Burgundy. No doubt everyone’s country is trying to help, but if you want to do something personally, here is your chance.

While you’re thinking about it, here are a few pictures from my 2010 visits that introduced me to the region.

Incidentally for people who like points, I see a Godelia Mencia Bierzo from 2010 scored 92/100 with WS and made 68 in their top 100 most exciting wines of 2014, only 8 places behind Nik Weis’s 2012 Reisling QbA Mosel Old Vines, 90 points.

No more advertising now, I promise, just pictures.

Spring ploughing in Bierzo !

Spring ploughing in Bierzo !

Early morning ploughing in Ricardo Perez Palacios's Corullon vineyard in Bierzo

Early morning ploughing in Ricardo Perez Palacios’s Corullon vineyard in Bierzo

Following the Camino in towns is not always easy I would imagine, but in Villafranca del Bierzo there was no problem

Following the Camino in towns is not always easy I would imagine, but in Villafranca del Bierzo there seems to be no problem.

Pilgriming through the vineyards of Bierzo

Pilgriming through the vineyards of Bierzo, just follow the one in front…

The badges of a pilgrim, his shell and his stick.

The badges of a pilgrim, his shell and his stick.

These two belonged to  Japanese doctor working in Brazil, I wonder if he held a surgery every evening... Please note, some days it rains !

These two belonged to Japanese doctor working in Brazil, I wonder if he held a surgery every evening… Please note, some days it rains !

And sometimes the sun shines

And sometimes the sun shines

The church of Santiago in Villafranca. Invalids who got this far were to expected to cros the mountains that lay ahead and were deemed to have completed their pilgrimage

The church of Santiago in Villafranca. Invalids who got this far were not expected to cross the mountains that lay ahead and were deemed to have completed their pilgrimage

The Puerta del Perdón (door of Mercy) at the church reflects the local preoccupation with grapes. grapes...

The Puerta del Perdón (door of Mercy) at the church reflects the local preoccupation with grapes….

But down the hill in Villafranca it seems  50% of the winemakers (Ricardo Perez Palacios, a.k.a."Titìn" and Raul Perez anyway ) finish work with a beer !

But down the hill in Villafranca it seems 50% of the winemakers (or at least  Ricardo Perez Palacios, a.k.a.”Titìn” and Raul Perez  ) finish work with a beer !

Well Raul has a hard day with his team harvesting in the Bierzo hills

Well Raul has a hard day with his team harvesting in the Bierzo hills

A nice handful of Mencia

A nice handful of Mencia

While Ricardo takes it easy in the cellar

While Ricardo takes it easy in the cellar

Ricardo knows his stuff as you can see !

Ricardo knows his stuff as you can see !

Out in the vines the team of another Perez is hard at it.

Out in the vines the team of another Perez is hard at it.

Another Perez, Gregory, is actually a Frenchman from Bordeaux. But he knows how to make a paella! Here preparing a celebration lunch for his pickers on the last day of harvest.

This other Perez, Gregory, is actually a Frenchman from Bordeaux. But he knows how to make a paella! Here preparing a celebration lunch for his pickers on the last day of harvest.

Not a bad spot for lunch, high in the hills of Bierzo. The track up to that vineyard was probably the roughest my Ford Fiesta rental had ever been on !

Not a bad spot for lunch, high in the hills of Bierzo. The track up to that vineyard was probably the roughest my Ford Fiesta rental had ever been on !

 

Job done!

Job done!

Now its time for lunch.

Now its time for lunch.

Get ready for the long drive to Rioja!

I get ready for the long drive to Rioja!


The big Beaune weekend

For me the weekend started on Wednesday evening! I arrived at Pernand and was off straight away to dinner with Marie-Luce chez elle. Delicious Jura Morteau sausage with potatoes, salad and camoillotte cheese and a Jura white.

Jura'sMorteau and Camoillotte.

Jura’sMorteau and Camoillotte.

Thursday was an early start for a French magazine shoot followed by a quick signing session at Domaine Claude Chevalier and Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine in Pernand, a major subscriber to the book and a great support of my work on the Hill.

Julie Chevalier shows how to roll barrels.

Julie Chevalier shows how to roll barrels.

Claude Chevalier enoying a Havana

Claude Chevalier enoying a Havana

The afternoon was a  visit to Domaine Jean-Marc and Anne-Marie Vincent in Santenay, good pictures and a lot of chat.  J-M claims to talk a lot, but I think he has met his match ! A very enjoyable visit and another lesson in how Burgundians think.

Then followed a race around to deliver promised books for several boys and girls who appear in the book.

Finally dinner and some French tuition with friends we’ve made in Magny-Villers, Christian and Anne-Marie. Magny is very close to Corton and some say I should have visited more, but its not on the Terroirs de Corton map…

Ouefs en Meurette and an 83 Côte de Nuits village that was still going well.

Ouefs en Meurette and an 83 Côte de Nuits village that was still going well.

A very nice dinner “en famille” is always a great pleasure and it was a change not to be talking about wine. Except that we did enjoy a 1983 Côte de Nuits Villages from a domaine sadly since disappeared. Village wines continue to astonish me. Of course it will depend on the vintage as with the two 1976 villages I had in 2013 from Aloxe and Chorey. The dry year provided the tannin needed for such longevity.

Friday.

After a postponement in Vosne I was free for a couple of visits to thank subscribing vignerons and sign a few books. Dedicating in French is a new challenge, can’t say “large soif !” every time. I hope they will forgive my mistakes…

My visit to Clos de Tart was a mixture of sharing a tasting with a bunch of German professionals and half an hour with Sylvain Pitiot whose map of Corton adorns the endpapers of the book. Sylvain is always calm and very photogenic and has known me a while so it was a successful but fairly brief session.

Clos de Tart , unmissable in Morey-St-Denis

Clos de Tart , unmissable in Morey-St-Denis

I was then free until a session with Jean-Charles Boisset in Nuits at 5.30 so I went back to Auxey-Duresses to see how my good friend Tom ” The Hungry Cyclist” is getting with his business showing cyclists  a good time on the roads and at the tables of Burgundy. He has converted a ruined watermill into guest accommodation over the summer and begun receiving guests.

I found him clearing out the millpond, hoping for interesting finds !

Having cycled from NY across the US and all the way south through Mexico in search of the perfect meal, Tom is the epitome of good humour and indefatigability.

Tom Kevill Davies, hard at work as usual.

Tom Kevill Davies, hard at work as usual.

Serious amount of new wine to taste here, and winemakers to rub shoulders with, if you know who to look for. Entrance +glass is 25 euros during the Hospices weekend.

Serious amount of new wine to taste here, and winemakers to rub shoulders with, if you know who to look for. Entrance +glass is 25 euros during the Hospices weekend.

After a brief visit to the Palais de Congrés in Beaune, its off to catch JCB as he passes through Burgundy.

JCB fooling about with his new Cremant, "21"

JCB fooling about with his new Cremant, “21”

Then a dash back through the rain to Beaune to enjoy a tasting, concert and dinner with Neil Beckett and Philippe Marquezy from World of Fine Wine magazine, courtesy of an invitation from Olivier Halley, new owner of Château de Meursault and Bernard Hervet.
Quite a late night 🙂

Jean-Marie Raveneau, Bernard Hervet and sylvain pitiot

Jean-Marie Raveneau, Bernard Hervet and Sylvain Pitiot

Pianist Michel Dalberto and Bernard Hervet with his cellist son Charles

Pianist Michel Dalberto and Bernard Hervet with his cellist son Charles after the concert.

Saturday morning meant a more serious visit to Palais de Congrés before a lunch at La Dilettante in Beaune.

Alex Gambal - an American at the Palais

Alex Gambal – an American at the Palais

Pierre Cornu at work at the Palais

Pierre Cornu at work at the Palais

Gorgeous gougeres at 3 euros/15 help absorb all the liquid!

Gorgeous gougeres at 3 euros/15 help absorb all the liquid!

Walking through Beaune during Hospices weekend is always entertaining after the travails of finding somewhere to park!

Sushi anyone ?

Sushi anyone ?

Olivier Lamy and Nicolas Rossignol celebrate passing unnoticed among the crowds

Olivier Lamy and Nicolas Rossignol celebrate, passing unnoticed among the crowds

Beaune, colourful and noisy during this weekend.

Beaune, colourful and noisy during this weekend.

Trying the jambon at La Dilettante

Trying the jambon at La Dilettante

joining up with Rosi hanson for a fun lunch. A real Burgundy moment - sharing a real and delicious croque monsieur with an American investment banker and hearing of his conversion from Bordeaux!

joining up with Rosi hanson for a fun lunch. A real Burgundy moment – sharing a real and delicious croque monsieur with an American investment banker and hearing of his conversion from Bordeaux!

Too good to miss!

Too good to miss!

Slaving over a hot pan in rue Lorraine

Slaving over a hot pan in rue Lorraine

All followed by a little shopping and people watching before I looked in at Roland Masse’s last tasting of Hospices wines before he retires and Ludavine Grivault takes over…

Roland Masse takes us through the 2014 wines

Roland Masse takes us through the 2014 wines

Lucie Cornu, as a student at the Beaune Lycée viticole gets pour the wines for the press and  share a picture with the star of the day

Lucie Cornu, as a student at the Beaune Lycée viticole
poured some of the wines for the press and shared a picture with the star of the day

Meanwhile the guys check out the order of serving

Meanwhile the guys checked out the order of serving

A lot of work ahead for everyone: 2014 barrel samples.

A lot of work ahead for everyone: 2014 barrel samples.

Sunday
Slightly nervous, I am anxious to keep busy before my signing début at 3pm in l’Athenaeum. So I gatecrash the Hospices Sunday morning press conference. Normally its pretty chilly but I find myself down to my shirtsleeves – nervous energy ?

The Sunday press conference, always held in the impressive Salle des Pauvres in the Hospices itself.

The Sunday press conference, always held in the impressive Salle des Pauvres in the Hospices itself.

Louis-Fabrice Latour and Claude Chevalier answer  to the press...

Louis-Fabrice Latour and Claude Chevalier answer to the press…

There follows un petit coup and gougères among other delights

There follows un petit coup and gougères among other delights

At the recommendation of Sylvain Pitiot (our third rencontre in 3 days!)I enjoyed a glass of Pouilly Fuissé from the winner of this year’s Jeune Talent, Romain Cornin of Chaintré. Then foregoing the press lunch I went back to my friend Thierry’s for a snack before my big moment…

Sunday afternoon always seems more crowded.

Sunday afternoon always seems more crowded.

Ah, chocolate, that's what I need to keep me going for 3 hours !

Ah, chocolate, that’s what I need to keep me going for 3 hours !

Ready to go at Athenaeum

Ready to go at Athenaeum

Dorva from Brazil, first in the queue. Dorva, please send that great photo

Dorva from Brazil, first in the queue. Dorva, please send that great photo!

Clementine and Christine Dubreuil along with Jean-Charles de la Morinière offer moral support.

Clementine and Christine Dubreuil along with Jean-Charles de la Morinière offer moral support.

Burghound and Robin Kick MW come to investigate...

Burghound and Robin Kick MW came to investigate the competition…

Two the boys from Quebec who took home the President's barrel still have enough euros for a couple of books !

Two ofthe boys from Quebec who took home the President’s barrel still had enough euros for a couple of books  !

Daniel Johnnes from Paulée NY brought his wallet !

Daniel Johnnes from Paulée NY brought his wallet !

Caroline Colin-Morey finds a present for P-Y.

Caroline Colin-Morey finds a present for P-Y.

Outside meanwhile, the auction continued but the crowd was a little smaller.

On my way home, the auction is still going on.

On my way home, the auction is still going on.

Monday and Tuesday: life returns to normal.
Except for my son Joe who today started the Camino de Santiago from St Jean-de Pied-Port. Bon courage et bonne route! On Corton Hill I am on the same road it seems, just a long way behind.

The Camino de Santiago passes Les Bressandes.

The Camino de Santiago passes Les Bressandes.

Corton from Buisson

Corton from Buisson

Louis Boillot and Ghislaine Barthod at Chambolle-Musigny

Louis Boillot and Ghislaine Barthod at Chambolle-Musigny

Time for new posts in Les Suchots

Time for new posts in Les Suchots

Low cloud over  Nuits St Georges

Low cloud over Nuits St Georges

Moving barrels at Domaine Grivot in Vosne-Romanée

Moving barrels at Domaine Grivot in Vosne-Romanée

Etienne Grivot in the lift!

Etienne Grivot in the lift!

Early at Aloxe-Corton

Early at Aloxe-Corton

Mist at Morgeot

Mist at Morgeot

New gate at Beaune Les Avaux

New gate at Beaune Les Avaux

Time for a beer with Yves and Serge at the end of a busy day

Time for a beer with Yves and Serge at the end of a busy day.

A good way to end the day smiling !


Rememberance and art

Today I joined the hundreds of thousands (millions?) who have been to the Tower of London to enjoy and admire the display of ceramic poppies conceived by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper that has captured the imagination of the country. It comes from an idea that was so simple but so effective. I hear that over 4 million people will have visited it.

My wife and I decided to walk the Thames down to Millbank to see the Turner exhibition. It work was brilliant of course but I’m sure the audio guides are a success. They are not complete and seem to send the viewer the wrong way round the room.

Anyway a really memorable, thought provoking and enjoyable day. Which is why its here.

Finding our way there

Finding our way there


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Another type of ephemeral installation by artist Luc Valvona on the river’s beach.

There is a suggestion that the poppies be given an extended life at the Tower, then go on some fund raising tour. That it is a shame so many people who wanted to see it would otherwise miss it.
I feel that is disrespectful of the artists’ work. it will be a much less effective piece if broken up and sent to another location. What it is now is what it was supposed to be, and is a wonderful thing. The artist intended it to be temporary, these ceramic poppies cannot last forever. The sadness many people will feel because the opportunity to see it has been lost, is nothing compared to the feelings of those whose loved ones lost their future opportunities in dying during The Great War. All 888,246 of them.


A quick visit to the Mosel

My last trip to Burgundy was followed by a quick two day assignment in the Mosel for winemaker Nik Weis of Leiwen, not far from Trier, a comfortable hop from London via Luxembourg. I had photographed him for Stephan Reinhardt’s book the Finest Wines of Germany, part of the “Finest Wines of…” series for which I was fortunate enough to be the photographer. Nik then invited me back to shoot his harvest a year later and again the following spring. I have always enjoyed the wines of the Mosel and the landscape and winemakers interest me a lot. Perhaps it could make a book…. A 200km stretch of winding river would be quite a different challenge after the intimacy of the Hill of Corton where one is constantly seeing familiar faces and always familiar with the lie of the land. Anyway here are some images from a rapid visit in mixed weather.

A chapel overlooks the village of Leiwen from the steep west facing slopes above the Mosel

A chapel overlooks the village of Leiwen from the steep west facing slopes above the Mosel

A monaorail for transporting grapes down the Mosel's steep slopes. I used to be an ambition to ride on one of those. Not any more !

A monorail for transporting grapes down the Mosel’s steep slopes.
I used to be an ambition to ride on one of those. Not any more !

Scary it might be as it twists and turns up through the vines, but I guess its still better than walking up. I'd rather walk down than ride backwards though.

Scary it might be, as it twists and turns up through the vines, but I guess its still better than walking up.
I’d rather walk down than ride backwards though.

Mine host, chef Patrick Liehr at the St Laurentius Sektstuuf hotel and restaurant in Leiwen.Good food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Overlooking the river, it must be even better in spring and summer.

Mine host, chef Patrick Liehr at the St Laurentius Sektstuuf hotel and restaurant in Leiwen.Good food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Super rooms. Overlooking the river, it must be even better in spring and summer.

Klaus Herres next door has an impressive list of sekt customers al the way to Berlin and well connected football fan !

Klaus Herres next door has an impressive list of sekt customers all the way to Berlin and is a well connected football fan !

Rudi, Nik's jovial cellar master. If he looks this relaxed in late October it must be a good harvest !

Rudi, Nik’s jovial cellar master. If he looks this relaxed in late October it must be a good harvest !

There is certainly some auslese about.

There is certainly some auslese about.

Hermann the vineyard manager looking as if nothing gets in his way !

Hermann the vineyard manager looking as if nothing gets in his way !

My next post will be after a book signing at Athenaeum in Beaune on the afternoon of 16 November, Hospices Sunday, and a book launch on 18 November in Paris. Let’s see if its all as much glamourous fun as it sounds…. I have 3 days of photography as well so that should keep my feet on the ground I hope !


Hubert de Montille

I’m sad to report that I have just heard that Hubert de Montille of Volnay died today. Burgundy has lost a great son. If you have not already seen Mondovino, Hubert was the star!Hubert de Montille. VolnayBlog LoRes


Young vignerons, old friends and a new book

My October visit was split between shooting for a specialist Burgundy importer from London, Jason Haynes, and a French magazine. Jason wants his website to include to include more than bottle shots and I am pleased that someone is trying to give their customers more background to Burgundy and its producers. I also had a couple of shoots for The World of Fine Wine so its been a busy week up and down the Côte D’Or.
There was plenty of sunshine and warmth most days after a couple of misty starts and in places the autumn colour was very pleasant. but I was here for people and people I got.
Monday afternoon:

Marie-Christine and Maerie-Andrée with a photo of their father Georges

Marie-Christine and Maerie-Andrée with a photo of their father Georges


Mugneret-Gibourg's Clos de Vougeot label

Mugneret-Gibourg’s Clos de Vougeot label


Tuesday:
Barrels on the move in Vosne-Romanée

Barrels on the move in Vosne-Romanée


Shedding some light at Domaine Leroy

Shedding some light at Domaine Leroy


Greg Love walked from London to Burgundy and looks good on it ! I found him in Vosne Romanée

Greg Love walked from London to Burgundy and looks good on it ! I found him in Vosne Romanée


Wedneday:
Thierry Gaudillère from Bourgogne Aujourd'hui at work for Corton's review.

Thierry Gaudillère from Bourgogne Aujourd’hui at work for Corton’s review.


Mist at Aloxe-Corton

Mist at Aloxe-Corton


Bertrand Bachelet at Dezize-Les-Maranges

Bertrand Bachelet at Dezize-Les-Maranges


La Fussière, a big name in Maranges

La Fussière, a big name in Maranges

Looking forward to tasting this rarity.

Looking forward to tasting this rarity.


Antoine, son of Francois now runs Domaine Jobard in Meursault

Antoine, son of Francois now runs Domaine Jobard in Meursault


Quite a few lieux-dits here in one picture, that's Corton Hill.

Quite a few lieux-dits here in one picture, that’s Corton Hill.


Thursday:
Armand Heitz, a new name in Chassagne-Montrachet

Armand Heitz, a new name in Chassagne-Montrachet


Jean-Charles Le Bault de la Morinère of Bonneau du Martray in his tasting room

Jean-Charles Le Bault de la Morinère of Bonneau du Martray in his tasting room


Benôit Riffault checks fermentation at Etienne Sauzet

Benôit Riffault checks fermentation at Etienne Sauzet


Pierre Duroche in Gevrey-Chambertin, a serious rock climber too.

Pierre Duroche in Gevrey-Chambertin, a serious rock climber too.


Stephane Magnien and his father line up their barrels in Morey St Denis

Stephane Magnien and his father line up their barrels in Morey St Denis

The naming of barrels chez Stephane Magnien

The naming of barrels chez Stephane Magnien


Friday:
Guillaume Tardy cleans his barrels in Vosne-Romanée

Guillaume Tardy cleans his barrels in Vosne-Romanée


The shavings. Beauty in small things.

The shavings. Beauty in small things.

November 5 is definitely the big day of publication for Une Année en Corton from Editions Glénat. I’ll be in Beaune at the Athenaeum book and wine shop in Place Carnot during the afternoon of Sunday 16th for three hours of signing duties! Apparently its also available at both Amazon.fr and Amazon.uk. Don’t be concerned if the book appears to have another author. François Perroy provided most of the 30 pages of text and often, it appears, writers are automatically regarded as the author, no matter the size of their contribution.
It seems photographer authors are quite a rarity…
Happily its my name on the book !
The text is all in French of course, but perhaps it will one day be available in English (or Japanese, or Chinese) Corton and Burgundy are well known all over the world as visitors to this blog have proved. As the French say, “On verra”….
I’ll be sure to let you know !


Remerciements/Thanks

It was on a sunny afternoon back in September 2002, as I drove through Puligny’s premier crus during the harvest, that I was slowed to a halt by a group of pickers milling about in the road. As I waited for the way to open up I was suddenly aware of Etienne de Montille approaching with a cameraman at his shoulder.
“Bonjour Jon, how are you ?” was probably what he said. My mind was already telling me to:
1. not look into the camera
and
2. not to say to too much, particularly in French! Heaven knows where this will end up.
In fact it ended up as 5-10 seconds of Mondovino!
Not because of anything I said but because, as I drove off,
Etienne turned to Jonathan Nossiter and said “Ca c’est le photographe du Wine Spectator….”

I am not, and never was, an employee of Wine Spec. I just contribute stock and occasional assignments. Proudly.
Who does not want to have there work seen by so many readers?
There is no fame attached among wine drinkers, I have received one letter in 25 years!
No, the benefit is the doors that it opens. Why would a busy vigneron give you an hour for some stock photography if he did not take your professionalism seriously?

I mention this just to say that the success of my time in Burgundy results from a lot of help along the way. It has not been possible to thank everyone on my Remerciements page in the book so I thought I’d mention a few people here for their contribution.

Erik Martin on a Sunday morning in Pommard

Erik Martin on a Sunday morning in Pommard


When you start out trying to find your way around Burgundy a visit to “Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne” in March of alternate years,is essential. And not just once, there is so much to take in.
I won’t give you the info here, just Google it.
It was during such a visit to Fuissé that I first saw ploughing with horses in Burgundy. What a great shot, I thought. Two years later, on the day after the next GJs I was shooting an early morning view of Pommard when a horse box drove past. I quickly followed and there followed a meeting with Erik Martin, a legend in horse ploughing who was one of the first of a now regularly seen band of ploughers with their horses. Erik moved on to Bordeaux for a while, then back to Burgundy and now I think is somewhere in Spain. Wherever he is, it will be lively. Such friendly contacts are really important when you start to shoot in a new area and he was very helpful.

Talking of horses, back in 2010 I was asked to spend 10 days shooting the harvest at Château Pontet-Canet in Pauillac. A photographer friend told me I would go mad spending 10 days in the same place shooting the same thing. But he did not know about the harvest! There is always something different going on and over 10 days you build better working relationships with everyone. You have the opportunity to look at everything afresh after a few days. The Tesserons are not only great hosts, I was given complete freedom on how to approach the job.
I think the experience taught me to look more deeply at a smaller space and to take my time – I’m still not good at that! But I’m sure it benefited my work on Corton.

Alfred Tesseron at Château Pontet-Canet

Alfred Tesseron at Château Pontet-Canet


Tesseron wants all the vineyard work done by horses and is having equipment made especially for different jobs.

Tesseron wants all the vineyard work done by horses and is having equipment made especially for different jobs.

When you are not fortunate enough to have a room in a chateau, then where to sleep and eat are high priorites. On my first visits to Burgundy I regularly stayed at a friendly and comfortable chambre d’hôte in Chassagne-Montrachet and was quickly pointed in the direction of L’Auberge du Vieux Vigneron at Corpeau for my evening meal.
Le Chassagne restaurant next door to my B+B had recently opened but I did not have the budget to eat there every night.
At Corpeau, not being on the tourist route, Vieux Vigneron’s clientele was a mix of canny tourists in search of quality and value as well as local winemakers. So it was, one Sunday evening, around 9.30, as I paid my bill and finished my glass of M. Fagot’s Bourgogne Rouge, that five local winemakers arrived and, before sitting down at a nearby table, made a tour of the room shaking hands with friends. Pierre-Yves Colin was one of the group, the only one I had met before and he kindly came to say hello. Minutes later I was invited to join them for a glass. They had just returned from playing for, or supporting, Chassagne’s local football team at a match in Chagny.
We left there at midnight….
So finding John-Charles Fagot’s restaurant was something else that helped me feel less of a stranger. And I keep going back.

Jean-Charles with slightly embarrassed but happy guests from NYC

Jean-Charles with slightly embarrassed but happy guests from NYC


From Charlemagne to Romanée-Conti via the old N6

THURSDAY started with a visit to Claude Chevalier in Buisson, a little hamlet at the northern end of Ladoix and we were quickly off to see his pickers in Aloxe-Corton as the cloud gave way to the morning light that makes the east side of Corton Hill such a beautiful place.

Unstoppable Claude Chevalier at Aloxe

Unstoppable Claude Chevalier at Aloxe

The Chevalier triage team awaiting that Aloxe -Corton delivery

The Chevalier triage team awaiting that Aloxe -Corton delivery


I had a rendezvous with my friend Marie-Luce who was supervising the picking of her Charlemagne by the negoce who is purchasing. But en route I was brought to a halt just before the Latour cuverie by David Croix’s team enjoying their cassecroute and I felt obliged to join them!

Two pickers from Touraine extolled the virtues of the Loire and I was offered a tasting of delicious,aromatic Sancerre to accompany my bulging baguette.
I met up with Jean-Paul who I last saw swinging his pioche last December in thick fog and hoare frost not 100 metres away from where I was now enjoying the other end of the thermometer’s scale.

Jean-Paul enjoying the sun.

Jean-Paul enjoying the sun.

A Sancerre enjoyed in Corton!

A Sancerre enjoyed in Corton!

I don't know where the bottles came from but it was all good

I don’t know where the bottles came from but it was all good


Over the road the guys from Latour were taking their break too.

Over the road the guys from Latour were taking their break too.


Onwards and upwards to Charlemagne. Just near Les Chaumes, on the road to Pernand-Vergelesses from Aloxe-Corton, there is a pleasant picnic spot with drinking water, shade and a little parking. The pickers had already arrived but I managed to get a space and hiked up past the parcels of Bonneau du Martray and Jean-Francois Coche-Dury with a feeling I must be near to the original Charlemagne plot and found the work well underway. Memories of my last visit in July came back as I remembered Marie-Luce teaching my wife the work of that season.
sunshine in Charlemagne

sunshine in Charlemagne


Charlemagne'sChardonnay

Charlemagne’sChardonnay

When you get to the end of a row on a hot day...

When you get to the end of a row on a hot day…


But there's no rest for some.

But there’s no rest for some.

Keeping track of the crop

Keeping track of the crop


Next stop lunch and Marie-Luce is promising great value/quality. She was n’t wrong!
Welcome to the Pont Du Paris, another "bonne adresse" in Chagny

Welcome to the Pont Du Paris, another “bonne adresse” in Chagny

Find it on the N6 or whatever its called now

Find it on the N6 or whatever its called now

Not easy to miss!

Not easy to miss!


What are you doing on the 4th October ?

What are you doing on the 4th October ?

Madame takes care of dessert

Madame takes care of dessert

While Chef stays happily  in the kitchen

While Chef stays happily in the kitchen

Returning to the Hill I found a scene reminiscent of Charles O’Rear’s shot “Bliss” that used to be used as Microsoft’s screen saver.
"Bliss" Burgundy style

“Bliss” Burgundy style


Highlight of the afternoon, what was left of it, was a return to Meursault to visit Alix and Etienne de Montille
Alix and Etienne in the white wine cellar@ Meursault

Alix and Etienne in the white wine cellar@ Meursault


Alix discusses the dinner for her team

Alix discusses the dinner for her team

FRIDAY
Actually, for once the week’s work was done without a Friday morning sprint so all I had to do was organise a sensible schedule (one that allowed time for the unexpected!) and get to Dijon station in time for the 14.41 TGV to Paris.
It was a grey day and I called first at the Latour cuverie for a quick chat with Boris Champy and to see what was going on.

sampling at Latour 180 year old cuverie in Aloxe

sampling at Latour 180 year old cuverie in Aloxe


Then over to Cornu in Ladoix – triage again…
Triage and a dose of vertigo.

Triage and a dose of vertigo.


Time allowed a call at Gouges in Nuits and I tried without success to remember the route through the premier crus to their back door, but I’m not as clever as I think and I ended up paying my last 50c for half an hour’s parking and walking through the streets looking for a grassy side alley. During harvest, the front door often does not get paid much attention in most wineries.
Gregory and his father Pierre pleased with enough grapes for a barrel of Côte de Nuits white.

Gregory and his father Pierre pleased with enough grapes for a barrel of Côte de Nuits white.

As good luck would have it I saw some action in Romanée Conti as I entered Vosne so it had to be worth a quick visit.

The visitors are more visible than the pickers at Romanée Conti but none dare cross the wall !

The visitors are more visible than the pickers at Romanée Conti but none dare cross the wall !


Didier from Corton helps out in Vosne

Didier from Corton helps out in Vosne

The small baskets are important at Domaine de la Romanée Conti

The small baskets are important at Domaine de la Romanée Conti


So is careful handling of the grapes

So is careful handling of the grapes

Time to move on and as I got near Dijon I just had time for a quick visit to Eric Rousseau at Gevrey_Chambertin.

Rousseau had finished but there no time to share the celebrations unfortunately.

Rousseau had finished but there is no time to share the celebrations unfortunately.


Then it was a dash under a darkening sky to the TGV…
Looking forward to being back in October.

A little later when I got home…
I received the design for the cover of THE BOOK !

Seems OK, the only question is, is my name big enough :-)….?
Corton_CV1-150
Anyway there is now a publication date of 5 November so we’re nearly there !


Why was it not like this last year ?!

So shooting for the book is finished. But its harvest time again and I’m here shooting for other clients. Everyday seems to be a good day, with plenty of activity but appointments tend to get moved… I’m on the road around 7 a.m., just before dawn here to make the most of the morning light. I does not always work but here I’m never tempted to stay in bed !

Franck, the baker, with Gilles and Fred at Vival in Ladoix, the place for a coffee and the latest news

Franck, the baker, with Gilles and Fred at Vival in Ladoix, the place for a coffee and the latest news


SUNDAY was a glorious morning and after coffee in Ladoix and a lucky meeting with Mme Cornu which yielded an invitation to lunch with the harvesters, I headed off to visits in Puligny and Chassagne before coming back to check out the Côte de Nuits. I had several winemaker portraits to make and harvest is not the best time, but, if you working for a magazine they know, its just necessary to track them down…
Ballet in Champs-Gains

Ballet in Champs-Gains

Lining up in Musigny

Lining up in Musigny


Pascal Marchand is one of the dynamic breed which it can take good luck to locate, but this time not only was he only 10 minutes away from his Nuits base, but Murray Tawse his Canadian partner was there too. Both guys are very passionate about their business and easy to talk to.
Triage at Marchand-Tawse

Triage at Marchand-Tawse

A surprisingly successful end to a good day as we parted in Musigny.

MONDAY Vival at Ladoix, my usual breakfast coffee stop, was closed but I was off to Meursault so I headed for the Café/Tabac next to the church of St Nicolas in the centre. There have been some changes there this year, the fountain has been moved nearer to the Mairie and a lawn laid and trees planted. Plus a large metal fence….
I arrived to find that the car parking area outside the church that hosts the weekly market is now following the same process. This must be costing a bit !
And I have to say it is apparently not to everyone’s taste with its wall and wrought iron fence reaching up 3 metres…. Meursault is beginning to look like a tourist destination (if they can find pa parking place), not a working wine village. I guess we’ll learn to love it, but I can’t see the pickers being allowed to celebrate the end of their harvest by frolicking in the fountain.
In a break from work I call in to see Jacques and François Carillon at Puligny in their separate but neighbouring domaines.

Jacques Carillon in his cellar was in good spirits

Jacques Carillon in his cellar was in good spirits

Lunch with François Carillon and his cuverie team

Lunch with François Carillon and his cuverie team

Francois has the builders in for an expansion to his cellars but they are both thinking more about this year’s harvest and happy with quality, even if quantity is down again due to the storm in June. A less than promising August was followed by 2 good weeks of sun and a gentle north wind that has kept things healthy, even concentrated the juice.
Puligny has always cherished its tourists and provided an elegant atmosphere but I now see a couple of small art galleries too. I do wonder if the new “cabotte” bus shelter in Chassagne means they are following the trend…
Somehow I doubt it.
Another pickers lunch courtesy of chez François before getting back to work. That was all over by 4pm due to the necessity of meetings for my subject so on an increasingly hot afternoon my thoughts turned to the Grappe. Before I could get there I was stopped in my tracks by the Pavelot team unloading their beautiful baskets to attack a parcel of Corton beneath Pernand, an island of pinot amidst the Charlemagne.
Carrying 40k is hot work!

Carrying 40k is hot work!

I imagined these baskets were being used until they could no longer be maintained but I was told the domain has just bought 10 more from the Jura costing 100 euros each. Fully laden they weigh over 40 kilos! After chasing the porters up and down the slope I was even more ready for a beer.
But sadly La Grappe were sticking with there normal evening opening hour of 6pm so I paid a social call in Pernand before heading along the mud track through Charlemagne. Back on the tarmac I turned left at the cherry tree to take a look at what still might be happening above Aloxe and Corton. There below was Maurice Chapuis, easily recognised with his charabanc of a trailer for his pickers. I drove down to say hello just as they were finishing and whom should be doing triage but his brother Claude, the last man to write a book about Corton and who I very pleased to say has written the preface to “Une Anné en Corton” for us.
Claude(L) and Maurice Chapuis checking out the crop in Corton Clos du Roi

Claude(L) and Maurice Chapuis checking out the crop in Corton Clos du Roi


Maurice takes his pickers home.

Maurice takes his pickers home.


My next call, at the distillery in Ladoix was unsuccessful but as I headed back to Pernand with only a cold drink in mind I came across Serge the dedicated beekeeper who immediately invited me in for that beer!
There followed the sad story of his acacia flowering during a wet week in May which meant no honey as his bees would not come out. It seems one of his hives has mysteriously been vacated and his mortality rate is still steady at 20-25% a year, all bad news. No wonder he needed a bit of company. Still it was 7pm when I left, and a glorious evening so I did n’t take his concerns with me, this harvest is so much better than last year.

TUESDAY was another bright morning and after a coffee with Gilles and Fred at Vival,along with Franck the baker next door, I found Jean-Charles De La Morinère quietly smiling as their Charlemagne harvest started. He was constantly checking the rows to see that his pickers remembered his instructions on the first day of work, supervising the level of the grapes in each grey box and then helping to shift them to the trailer.

Jean-Charles de la Morinère likes what he sees in Charlemagne

Jean-Charles de la Morinère
likes what he sees in Charlemagne

Jean-Charles and Claude load the precious chardonnay

Jean-Charles and Claude load the precious chardonnay

All done with a smile that hid his great concentration on the job in hand. That was around 8 a.m. and as I saw that evening after the dinner with the pickers prepared by the 3 lady cuisine’s ( I called them Les Trois Gorieuses but they said they preferred LesTrois Graces !) that while we finished off our wine, Jean-Charles was still supervising in the cuverie, yet to eat.
The 3 Graces at the Bonneau du Martray kitchen door wait the pickers.

The 3 Graces at the Bonneau du Martray kitchen door wait the pickers.


Success with a great terroir requires such dedication all the year round.

The Pavelots were out again,this time in En Caradeux with one or two the porters enjoying an “Ice bucket challenge,

Cooling off on Caradaux

Cooling off on Caradaux

harvest style !
En Caradaux from Charlemagne

En Caradaux from Charlemagne

Pernand-Vergelesses seen from Caradaux

Pernand-Vergelesses seen from Caradaux

Great morning views of Pernand but sadly the Church roof is under repair for a while so I’m glad I already have that.
Off to lunch

Off to lunch

Lunch was enjoyed with some of the cuverie team from Latour in Aloxe before I set off for my afternoon in Vosne Romanée.
If you are unlucky at harvest time you might spend sometime avoiding the tractors and trailers, the vans and beaten up pickers’ Renaults as you circuit the village twice looking for a parking space. But its the same everywhere but usually the drivers (of the tractors and vans at least) are old hands who drive with patience, humour and courtesy. Perhaps its my hired Renault Kangoo that encourages them to think I am one of their own! Its the occasional peloton of cyclists, both the colourful lycra enthusiasts and the wobbling tourists that really cause me to curse; neither seeming to have a thought for what is going on around them, slicing through groups of pickers like saucisson.

Sadly a vineyard problem at my next visit meant my visit was postponed 24 hours, which turned well in the end so I was free to call in to see Louis-Michel Liger-Belair

Louis-Michel at the triage table

Louis-Michel at the triage table

to see and hear how it was all going before calling in to see Pierre Vincent at Domaine de la Vougeraie at Premeaux-Prissey.
Its biodynamic here and they prepare their treatments in a wonderfully atmospheric barn.
Vougeraie's drying barn

Vougeraie’s drying barn

Filling the press at Vougeraie

Filling the press at Vougeraie

Washing the press.

Washing the press.

WEDNESDAY dawned a a little grey but I was due to do some work for a producer in Buisson and a blanket of cloud evens out the shadows in the vineyard making the job easier.

Looking good in Ladoix-Serrigny

Looking good in Ladoix-Serrigny

Porter at Domaine Ravaut

Porter at Domaine Ravaut

Pierre Ravaut at work in Ladoix's Bois Roussot

Pierre Ravaut at work in Ladoix’s Bois Roussot

More Pinot Noir arriving.

More Pinot Noir arriving.

Time for cassecroute

Time for cassecroute

After starting at 7.30, by 9.30 you are ready for a break.

After starting at 7.30, by 9.30 you are ready for a break.


The afternoon is again very warm with better light and I picnic late watching the harvest in La Tâche from up on the road above.
Harvest in Vosne-Romanée's La Tâche.

Harvest in Vosne-Romanée’s La Tâche.

then spend it around Vosne before chasing off to see if three “micro-negociants” can give me a few minutes in the middle of there harvest for a few urgently requested pictures.
Jeremy Seysses, after a quick change of shirt!

Jeremy Seysses, after a quick change of shirt!

Mounir Saouma at Lucien Lemoine - the perfect host ! Its a welcome home brewed beer this time.

Mounir Saouma at Lucien Lemoine – the perfect host !
Its a welcome home brewed beer this time.

Nicolas Potel - always on the move, always smiling.

Nicolas Potel – always on the move, always smiling.

.
That’s it, a typically fluid day in Burgundy.


Back for the harvest

I arrived in Burgundy from Champagne just after lunch today to find some harvest was already started on the Hill and in glorious weather, such a difference from the year before. I decided to drive around briefly but was quickly drawn into the old routine. On a visit to my friend Gareth at the Domaine Denis triage table in Pernand I found him happy with what passed in front of him.

Gareth shows how the Welsh do it...

Gareth shows how the Welsh do it…

He will be working, along with most others doing triage, until maybe 7 pm so I left him for a thirst quenching beer down at La Grappe de Pernand with Christian and Elizabeth, the bar owners.

Christian and Elizabeth prepared for the 6pm rush.

Christian and Elizabeth prepared for the 6pm rush.

Freshly kitted out with new tables and benches, they were ready for the imminent invasion of local “vendangeurs”.
I then took the dried mud track back through Charlemagne to find Domaine Dublère’s crew just finishing off their day.

Gathering in Blair Pethell's Corton Charlemagne

Gathering in Blair Pethell’s Corton Charlemagne

Lance leads the way !

Lance leads the way !

Just enough room ?

Just enough room ?

"Blair knows how to pick more than grape" said a porter !

“Blair knows how to pick more than grapes” said a porter !

I must be getting old but the “vendangeuses” are looking much younger these days! I carried on down to Aloxe-Corton and spotted pickers in Les Chaumes et Le Voi Rouge (named for its red stony soil). Here was Vincent Rapet very happy with the balance of his Pinot Noir in front of wonderful view of Corton Hill.

Even Vincent Rapet looks pleased.

Even Vincent Rapet looks pleased.

Corton Hillis quite a backdrop.

Corton Hill is quite a backdrop.

What a pity the design is finished, approved and the book goes to the printer in Milan on Monday 15th!

Embarrassingly I have felt the need to suggest my name on the cover is in slightly larger type than those of François Perroy who provided 20 of the 28 pages of text and Claude Chapuis who kindly contributed the preface.
It seems that certain book selling websites do not believe photographers can be authors. On two sites François is named exclusively as responsible. Not what I was hoping for after over three years of planning and shooting!
Anyway its all over bar the noise we must make around publication date (5 November) and I can now think of other things… like where to shoot next!


Château Corton André

Just heard Château Corton André, that Burgundy icon, has been bought by Bejot of Meursault.

Château Corton André - what will become of this Burgundy icon and its wines...

Château Corton André – what will become of this Burgundy icon and its wines…


See here:
http://www.bienpublic.com/edition-cote-de-beaune/2014/08/01/bejot-vins-terroirs-achete-le-chateau-corton-andre
Of course its holiday time and difficult to find news, but one suggestion I read was that Bejot, having bought Maison Pierre André and Reine Pedauque will sell off the famously tiled château and some vineyards to the Frey family of Switzerland who already successfully run Château La Lagune in the Medoc and Paul Jaboulet in the Rhône.
Personally I just hope it means the Reine Pedauque winery in Aloxe-Corton will be improved in some way. That’ll be some job.
Bill Nanson kindly forwarded me this:
http://www.bejot.com/en/bejot-vins-terroirs-acquiert-corton-andre/

I guess we just have to wait and see……


Returning to the Hill

Theoretically the job is done and my deadline was the end of June…
So, when I had a Burgundy assignment to complete by the end July, I went back to inspect the hail damage but try to keep out of the way of those busy vignerons who I knew had suffered yet again. Their trials are really beyond the understanding of anyone who does not tend vines and there was nothing I could say to them. We must not forget how much other regions of France have suffered or that the damage often lasts for more than one vintage. Let’s hope the French government shows the necessary support.

In Burgundy its the next few weeks that will dictate the size of what can be harvested and as usual the weather in July and August is paramount. However while new leaves have time to grow and ripen what is left, they can only work on those berries that survived.

The remains of a bunch of pinot noir on Corton Hill

The remains of a bunch of pinot noir on Corton Hill

The assignment gave me the time to shoot some needed stock at the Burgundia testing lab in Beaune, to visit winemakers I had not seen for a while and even photograph one or two.

The modern side of winemaking seen at Burgundia in Beaune

The modern side of winemaking seen at Burgundia in Beaune


Wine under the microscope ! (I'm waiting for a slightly more technical caption from Burgundia)

Wine under the microscope ! (I’m waiting for a slightly more technical caption from Burgundia)


Pierre-Yves Colin makes his point during a tasting

Pierre-Yves Colin makes his point during a tasting


Jean-Marc Roulot provides you with somewhere to write your tasting notes

Jean-Marc Roulot provides you with somewhere to write your tasting notes

He seems to find them comfortable too

He seems to find them comfortable too

At Domaine Roulot they're into eau-de-vie and liqueurs too

At Domaine Roulot they’re also getting into eau-de-vie and liqueurs


But they're making big bottles of wine- Jeraboams here.

But they’re still making big bottles of wine-Jeraboams here.

While the shooting is finished and captions are being checked its difficult to put this book down and stop looking for ways to improve it. We’re all doing it, the editor and I listen to any comments from our growers’ committee whose job it was to make sure I got things right.
I am well aware this book is my interpretation of the Hill and what contributes to it, but I’m also aware my talents for book design are untested and the locals have much to teach me about the Hill. Most interesting of all is the “tweaking” of an Englishman’s view for the French language
market.
Hopefully we will be able to publish in the US and Asia and no doubt what does not work for the French market will interest other parts of the world who know France less well.
So after a little email conversation with the editor during the week I managed to set up one last photo courtesy of Louis Latour’s tractor drivers. You have to marvel at the skill required to drive a tractor through those rows without damaging valuable vines. Just another job for the vigneron whose work already demands so many talents.
I just hope the book will interest people enough to encourage them to visit vineyards and take the time to understand some of what goes on.

A bunch of Louis Latour's finest !

A bunch of Louis Latour’s finest !


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.
NewGrowthJune_CRT9382LoRes
Evening light in Aloxe-Corton on a “precocious” vine.

Clos Du Roi june_CRT9259 @72
More rapid growth in Clos du Roi

FloweringCortonJune_CRW0011@&2
Aloxe’s Pinot Noir flowering

Bonneau Cabotte@Charlemagne_CRW8192@72
Beehives and the Cabotte of Bonneau du Martray in Le Charlemagne

MeursaultTownHall_CRW0853LoRes
The redesign of the cente of Meursault nears completion

MeuneveauxJune_CRW8957LoRes
Meuneveaux, pere et fils, the last shot is done.

Garage@StAubin@72_CRW0174
Jean-Paul of St Aubin, the place to go with a puncture!

FamilyTree@72_CRW0607
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.


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 !