A year on the Hill of Corton

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Rhône revisited

A visit to the Rhône is not, sadly, an annual job, but this year I was lucky. Normally I can combine it with work in Burgundy but this year client no.1’s deadline was earlier and the Burgundy job delayed. Organising visits and the availability of my favourite accommodation (Ampuis, Hermitage and Châteauneuf du Pape) was only partly successful but a small hotel in Ampuls recommended by Philippe Guigal was fine but did no evening meal and on some nights Ampuis restauranteurs goes to bed early. On such occasions pizza and a cool beer is more than welcome after a drive up from Châteauneuf.
My first visit, after arriving by TGV at Lyon, was to the Seyssuel vineyard near Vienne on the east bank, a wonderful SW facing combe originally planted by the Romans but never granted an AOC, yet.

Seyssuel vineyard near Vienne

Seyssuel vineyard near Vienne

Cheze and others will make sure it performs. It has both syrah and viognier and, what do I know, but I found the viognier pleasantly distinctive.
Then a quick call near Chavannay to see Lionel Faury up in the hills, before heading to Mauves, near Tournon for the night. Streets in Tournon was closed for its annual onion fair until 8 pm with an armed guard 100 metres behind the gendarmes in case somebody tried to get through ! I arrived rather late for dinner, but nothing is ever a problem for my hostess Monique so I ate well as usual and enjoyed sharing a Cheze St Joseph with her other guests. Delighted to see she had invested in the Corton book!
The following morning Fabrice Gripa took me on a tour of his St Joseph vineyards high on the west side of the Rhône. The steep descent by 4×4 was exhilarating even though I had done it a couple of years ago with the Gonon brothers. back at the cellars we managed to talk Fabrice’s father Bernard join us for a picture. Always good to get the generations together when possible. Grabbing a sandwich from the baker in Mauves I headed for the Sentier des Tours in Tournon for a scramble through Guigal’s terraced St Joseph vineyards for a view of the Hill of Hermitage.Then the A7 south to Chateauneuf du Pape. It was somewhat alarming to see the north bound side at a standstill for several miles around Montelimar but happily it had all gone when I returned later in the early evening.
Meanwhile my route took me from Courthezon, past Beaucastel on an abortive effort to locate Rayas in the hope of gatecrashing for a recently requested portrait of Emmanuel Reynaud. No joy, he was away for a couple days. There was time for a shot of CdP from the approach from Courthezon and to eat my sandwich at Sabon before meeting winemaker Roger Negron and then calling in on Paul Avril at Clos de Papes and Isabel Ferrando at St Prefert.
Back in Ampuis the next morning at 8 I was scaling La Mouline with Philippe Guigal under grey skies that were fine for portraits but I hoped for better afterwards for my landscape shots of Côte Rôtie before my 11.00 with Julien Pilon down in Condrieu. In the end patience proved worthwhile and soon I was happily on my way home.

 

Louis Cheze

Louis Cheze

Lionel Faury.

Lionel Faury.

No entry to Tournon, onions rule !

No entry to Tournon, onions rule !

Monique shows that they like Corton in the Rhôn valley too

Monique shows that they like Corton in the Rhône valley too

Fabrice Gripa with father Bernard.

Fabrice Gripa with father Bernard.

Above Tournon looking towards Hermitage

Above Tournon looking towards Hermitage

Chateauneuf du Pape with its trademark stones.

Chateauneuf du Pape with its trademark stones.

Roger Negro at Sabon in Châteauneuf

Roger Negro at Sabon in Châteauneuf

No caption needed surely !

No caption needed surely !

Avril's winery

Avril’s winery

Isabel Ferrando and her young team

Isabel Ferrando and her young team

Philippe Guigal perching in La Mouline

Philippe Guigal perching in La Mouline

A few Côte Rôtie images
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Julien Pilon sends off more orders

Julien Pilon sends off more orders

That's what I call an original name !

That’s what I call an original name !

 

 

Cabotte

Well its been a while and I will come back with news of trips to Burgundy and the Rhône shortly, but first news of a new restaurant in London, Cabotte, at 48 Gresham Street EC2, a short walk from Bank underground station.

I was flattered to be asked to supply images of Burgundy for their walls and finally got there today to take a look. Came home very happy ! I’m not a restaurant reviewer but I recognise good service, happy customers and food and wine I enjoy that I can afford to revisit without a second thought. For all Burgundy fans, “venez nombreuses!” as they say, but book ! Now you can enjoy Burgundian “restauration” in London.
Here are a few fresh pictures, prepared this morning to whet your appetite.
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Love the walls !

Love the walls !

Pictures everywhere

Pictures everywhere

Boeuf Bourguignon of course !

Boeuf Bourguignon of course !

Chef Ed on the pass

Chef Ed on the pass

Can I tempt you...?

Can I tempt you…?

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Nothing more to say !

Nothing more to say !

Back in Burgundy at last.

Well it was quite a trip, covering between Mercurey and Chablis with a few 5 a.m. starts required. Its that time of year when vignerons are busy, up early and the best light, if you get it, means a pretty early start. I was shooting for three different magazines, a total of 19 winemakers and a fromagerie in 4 1/2 days. Sometimes you get an hour, sometimes its got to be several.
Everything was arranged before I left on Eurostar but en route a call to my french mobile and an email started to make life interesting…. C’est la vie, these vignerons have lots of more important things on their mind and different priorities.
I once arrived at an estate in Marsannay for an appointment to shoot some portraits for a book. After some delay in my subject appearing I was told that some wine-writing demigod had rung for a tasting and I was therefore put on hold. For an an hour and a half as it turned out….
I guess no one can compete with that sort of important visitor, least of all a photographer.
I have to say it does not happen often.

Anyway, no such problems this time, just some juggling required and the winemakers involved were happy to oblige.

Monday started annoyingly at St Pancras Eurostar terminal where, unusually my suitcase required a search involving a complete emptying. No offending item was found but as I was repacking my case a middle-aged oriental couple had two bottles of wine confiscated.

It seems on that particular day no alcohol was being allowed through, something to do with England playing a football match at the other end of France that evening.

There had been no warning signs when I booked my ticket or at the station on the day.

High-handed, knee-jerk and badly handled. Something that seems to be happening more and more. When I pointed out to the security man that there was no warning and this man’s wine could be worth ( but was n’t) hundreds of pounds there was attempt to see sense. We are all happy to endure security these days but it can be so inconsistent.

Enough moaning !

You’ll see that in Burgundy, while I like to leave time for things to happen serendipitously, life without a moment to spare is good too !

Mark O'Connell got hooked over five years ago and now owns Domaine de la Clos de la Chapelle overseen by Pierre Meurgey

Mark O’Connell got hooked over five years ago and now owns Domaine de la Clos de la Chapelle overseen by Pierre Meurgey

It took a while but finally they were all smiling ! L-R, Olivier, Nathalie and Jean-Paul at Tollot-Beaut

It took a while but finally they were all smiling ! L-R, Olivier, Nathalie and Jean-Paul at Tollot-Beaut

Tuesday

Boris Champy on Corton saves one for the pot !

Boris Champy on Corton saves one for the pot !

Philippe Drouhin has survived tasting Chablis Grand Cru at 7 in the morning.

Philippe Drouhin has survived tasting Chablis Grand Cru at 7 in the morning.

8.30 Domaine de Villaine and its Pierre de Benoit with his uncle Aubert de Villaine in Bouzeron

8.00 Domaine de Villaine and its Pierre de Benoit with his uncle, Aubert de Villaine in Bouzeron

Sylvain Loichet at Chorey-les-Beaune. Winemakers just keep getting younger !

Sylvain Loichet at Chorey-les-Beaune. Winemakers just keep getting younger !

Affinage of Epoisses at Fromagerie Gaugry in Brochon. That's washing the finished cheeses in Marc de Bourgogne. A great place, highly visible on the N974, well organised and welcoming, well worth a visit. Its grown so much since it was tucked away at a mini-roundabout  on the outskirts of the village twenty years ago.

Affinage of Epoisses at Fromagerie Gaugry in Brochon. That’s washing the finished cheeses in Marc de Bourgogne. A great place, highly visible on the N974, well organised and welcoming, well worth a visit. Its grown so much since it was tucked away at a mini-roundabout on the outskirts of the village twenty years ago.

Michel Mallard in Ladoix, proud of his local terroirs around Corton.

Michel Mallard in Ladoix, proud of his local terroirs around Corton.

Brothers Franck and Fred, the next generation at Domaine Henri Buisson in St Romain, showing off their Corton Rognets!

Brothers Franck and Fred, the next generation at Domaine Henri Buisson in St Romain, showing off their Corton Rognets!

St Romain is one of those old villages where you have to keep your eyes open for the interesting and unexpected...

St Romain is one of those old villages where you have to keep your eyes open for the interesting and unexpected…

Eric André's girls still working hard in Charlemagne at 7.15pm

Eric André’s girls still working hard in Charlemagne at 7.15pm

Wednesday

An evening meeting at Aloxe-Corton last night meant I must leave Beaune at 5.30 to be in Chablis comfortably by 7.

I visited Christian Moreau who wanted to talk Brexit. Oh dear, I didn’t. It was only his way of winding me up. Christian has seen the world and has a great sense of humour. I was waiting for a reference to the Euros 2016 and England’s efforts at football.
He had a point, we were shamed by the progress of numerically smaller nations like Wales and Iceland who have bigger hearts.
Again, enough moaning !
Christian and his son Fabien were in good form and made a good team for the camera. I was done and off to enjoy the late arrival of the sun in the vineyards by midday.

Sorry, can't drive past a good door. Common problem for observant photographers apparently...This one in Chablis.

Sorry, can’t drive past a good door. Common problem for observant photographers apparently…

Christian Moreau loves his roses but took his chance to bring up football !

Christian Moreau loves his roses but took his chance to bring up football !

Frederick Weber,  the winemaker, in his cellars at Bouchard.

Frédéric Weber, the winemaker, in his cellars at Bouchard.

Christian Albouy, the new boss at Bouchard shares a joke !

Christian Albouy, the new boss at Bouchard shares a joke !

Thursday

Off to Morey St Denis at a civilised hour for a change. Not the weather for any early start anyway, but the day looks promising…

More wrought iron grapes, this time at Morey.

More wrought iron grapes, this time at Morey.

Jacques,Jeremy and wife Diana with Alex and the dog.

Jacques,Jeremy and wife Diana with Alex and the dog.

A busy but well organised morning at Domaine Dujac gets most things done. I have to pass on a kind lunch invitation as I am expected in Nuits. Shame, such invitations can be rare…
But lunch with someone I see rarely and admire greatly is never cancelled.

1 hour 50 minutes to swop stories with Greg Love, enjoy his cooking an see what makes him tick !

1 hour 50 minutes to swop stories with Greg Love, enjoy his cooking an see what makes him tick !

Hardly were we sat down at the table but Greg produced the bill for this lunch – would I kindly do a podcast interview on my Corton book..! With ego almost under control I manage half my delicious duck lunch. Did Greg realise I could talk so much, probably not !
Perhaps most of it will end up on the cutting room floor, ( as did my interview with Jonathan Nossiter for Mondovino all those years ago – too much passion! ).
Anyway I have an even greater respect for Greg and his way of thinking and seeing. And cooking.

A quick bottle shot at Comte de Vogue for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Good to see François Millet again, very helpful as ever.

A quick bottle shot at Comte de Vogue for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Good to see François Millet again, very helpful as ever.

One the highlights of this trip was visiting the new Framboisiere winery of Faiveley in Mercurey. I needed portraits of Erwan and had been invited to join an evening of tasting followed by a buffet in the winery. Apparently its an annual event that a group of nearly thirty growers gather together to share a bottle of the previous years vintage.
Well I tried. but young reds are a job for the professional or someone with far greater tasting ability and experience than I. Whites were “easier” but I was still way out of my depth and could not pretend otherwise in front of the likes of Lafon, d’Angerville, Gouges, Rousseau, Tollot-Beaut, Bonneau du Martray, Raveneau, Lafarge, the incredible list went on. Enjoy the photo and see who you can spot.

Erwan Faiveley's bottle party at the new La Framboisiere winery in Mercurey.

Erwan Faiveley’s bottle party at the new La Framboisiere winery in Mercurey.

Co-hosts Erwan and his sister Eve Faiveley

Co-hosts Erwan and his sister Eve Faiveley

Eve checks the order

Eve checks the order

Eric Rousseau, Guillaume d'Angerville in discussion with Jacques Seysses

Eric Rousseau, Guillaume d’Angerville in discussion with Jacques Seysses

Only part of a serious line-up

Only part of a serious line-up

Dominique Lafon presents.....

Dominique Lafon presents…..

No caption necessary !

No caption necessary !

Etienne Grivot and daughter Mathilde get in line.

Etienne Grivot and daughter Mathilde get in line.

Gregory Gouges still discussing the 2015s

Gregory Gouges still discussing the 2015s

Eric Rousseau examines what's on offer while Brice de la Morandière from Domaine Leflaive chats with Pierre de Benoit from Domaine de Villaine

Eric Rousseau examines what’s on offer while Brice de la Morandière from Domaine Leflaive chats with Pierre de Benoit from Domaine de Villaine

It was reassuring to be remembered by those I had met but not seen in quite a long time. A big thank you to Erwan for allowing me to share an event. i tried to keep the snaps down, hence so many iPhone pictures. It was, after all, a relaxed evening among friends, not a photo opportunity but ERwan was happy for me to share it.

Friday

A beautiful morning as I headed south to see Philippe Colin in Chassagne-Montrachet. Yet another horse ploughing, this time for Domaine Leflaive in Bâtard Montrachet.

Ploughing Leflaive's Bâtard-Montrachet

Ploughing Leflaive’s Bâtard-Montrachet

Less bucolic and more a sign of the times, spraying against mildew in Clavaillon.

Spraying at Puligny Clavaillon.

Spraying at Puligny Clavaillon.

Chassagne-Montrachet and seasonal poppies.

Chassagne-Montrachet and seasonal poppies.

Philippe Colin at Clos St Abdon, part of Les Chaumées in Chassagne.

Philippe Colin at Clos St Abdon, part of Les Chaumées in Chassagne.

That's Dimitri Bazas, always smiling !

That’s Dimitri Bazas, always smiling !

Boris Champy  in the cool of Latour's historic cuverie in Aloxe-Corton

Boris Champy in the cool of Latour’s historic cuverie in Aloxe-Corton

Then its a 12.00 session at Vincent Girardin with manager Eric Germain before dropping in on Tom Kevill-Davies at his Hungry-Cyclist Lodge in Auxey-Duresses. Enjoyed a quick cassecroute and left him to prepare for the arrival of 9 Belgians.

Tom is always cool.....

Tom is always cool…..


Through the vineyards back to Meursault.
Meursault from Les Grands Charrons

Meursault from Les Grands Charrons

Back to Girardin to celebrate a young workers graduation from Beaune wine school. A Champenoise so….

Champagne !

Champagne !

Parking on the Beaune “peripherique” with a view

An evening view of the Hospice spire

An evening view of the Hospice spire

Saturday

A lie in until 7 ! Pack and then breakfast with my hosts Thierry and Christine Gaudillère.
Then a spin around the Ladoix side of Corton not expecting much action…
Only to be surprised as I turned the corner below Clos du Roi.

Saturday morning in Corton Clos du Roi

Saturday morning in Corton Clos du Roi

Having paid homage to the hill I descended to Ladoix to buy some more honey from my friend Serge the bee-keeper. Not a happy man for once, I haven’t seen him for months and his bees have had a bad spring.
Neither of us had time to share the a beer, the usual response in such situations. He has his trailer ready for the rubbish tip and I hoped for a gentle wander through the Côte de Nuits to Dijon satin. So the N974 through Nuits resisting the Saturday morning bric-a-brac market and on up through Vosne-Romanée. I stop at the Romanée-Conti corner to look around. I can hear a familiar sound coming down from above La Tâche, the throaty roar of Bernard Gros’ big red antique jeep. I had a great time photographing his domaine with son Vincent during last harvest for Vigneron magazine. I even got a ride in his shared helicopter and the big red beast of a jeep!
He sees me and breaks hard to say bonjour, off on his rounds of his vineyards. Sadly he was gone before I could gather the camera for a shot of the jeep… However he mentioned someone was horse ploughing in Aux Champs Perdrix, the village site next to the premier cru Reignots.
Sure enough there was the horse box standing in the shade and a few yards further on was the sight of a horse fairly charging up the steep slope.

A Breton from Champagne working in Burgundy - small world.

A Breton from Champagne working in Burgundy – small world.


Jean-Noel turning his Breton. It was happier coming up than going down !

Jean-Noel turning his Breton. It was happier coming up than going down !


Aux Champs Perdrix and a view over Vosne-Romanée.

Aux Champs Perdrix and a view over Vosne-Romanée.

Brothers Yves and Jean-Pierre, somewhere in Les Echézeaux...

Brothers Yves and Jean-Pierre, somewhere in Les Echézeaux…

Clos du Vougeot under the cloud

Clos du Vougeot under the cloud

After Vosne and Vougeot I bypassed Chambolle as I wanted to get something in Morey-St-Denis: Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche which is where I find Laurent and father Hubert Lignier on the tractors trying to get their weeding and leaf trimming finished by lunchtime.Still they looked happy to take a few minutes for a picture together.

Laurent and Father Hubert in Morey-St-Denis

Laurent and Father Hubert in Morey-St-Denis

Finally, the day after I left was the Balade Gourmande, the biennial walk for visitors through the vineyards of Ladoix with five courses and wines to sustain them at intervals.
In homage to the efforts of the winemakers of Ladoix and their families, I leave you with an image from 2013 of the ladies of Ladoix washing 3000 sets of cutlery !

After the Balade Gourmande, who washes up..?

After the Balade Gourmande, who washes up..?

The Good, the Bad and the Fair

The Good: eight days in Chile and Uruguay, two visits, one a joint venture between a renowned Chilean estate and a Bordeaux château, the other a family estate in Uruguay with such a grounded passion for their vineyards and wine, I thought I was in Burgundy ! But first to shake off the jet lag, a day trip to visit my friends at Errazuriz before I start. All will be revealed eventually in World of Fine Wine….

The Bad: the news of frosts in the Côte d’Or and later floods around Chablis. See what these winemakers have to accept as part of their lives? As a winemaker in Rioja whispered to me once “Never ask a farmer to smile…”

The Fair: I called in at the London Wine Fair, met a trio of winemakers, Dr Ernie Loosen from the Mosel, Lyne Marchive from Domaine Tremblay-Marchive in Chablis, a regular supporter of Chablis in London, and Rotem Saoma, one half of Lucien Le Moine in Beaune, showing off the wines from their new venture in Châteauneuf du Pape.
Finally, who should I run into but a Facebook friend, Ricardo Bernardo from Portugal. He’s a great person, I’m grateful he speaks such good English, I’ve never mastered Portuguese beyond “good day” and “good night”. A charming and open guy, he suggests wine photographers should be more friendly to each other. I do too, if we share the same point of view, and many of us do.
Anyway here are a few snaps to keep you going until I get back to Burgundy in June.

Straight from Santiago airport after a sleepless overnight from Paris I was treated to a tour of some of  the city's interesting corners...

Straight from Santiago airport after a sleepless overnight from Paris I was treated to a tour of some of the city’s interesting corners…

Probably feeling like this mural on a gate ! Probably feeling like this mural on a gate !

It had been raining for several days but that was about to end, sadly for this umbrella salesman.

It had been raining for several days but that was about to end, sadly for this umbrella salesman.

Those eyes follow you down the street !

Those eyes follow you down the street !

Can't beat an empanada, but get it at El Rapido !

Can’t beat an empanada, but get it at El Rapido !

Then its off to the market. They love their numbers in Santiago !

Then its off to the market.
They love their numbers in Santiago !

I saw no chickens, perhaps the eggs came first...

I saw no chickens, perhaps the eggs came first… No the cockerel did!

First light at Errazuriz on day 2

First light at Errazuriz on day 2

 

PickingCabernet Sauvignon@Errazuriz

PickingCabernet Sauvignon@Errazuriz

Errazuriz winery

Errazuriz winery

Ready for action !

Ready for action !

Pumping over Cabernet

Pumping over Cabernet

Filling barrels@ Errazuriz.

Filling barrels@ Errazuriz.

sampling the Cabernet

sampling the Cabernet

A last look at Errazuriz, for a while....

A last look at Errazuriz, for a while….

End of a long day at Panquehue with Raimundo, now back to Santiago

End of a long day at Panquehue with Raimundo,
now back to Santiago

Starting the new job with a coffee

Starting the new job with a coffee


Relaxed Saturday lunch in Uruguay, DIY homemade pizza. Absolutely the best ever!

Relaxed Saturday lunch in Uruguay, DIY homemade pizza. Absolutely the best ever!


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After  Chile and Uruguay, the long journey home.

After Chile and Uruguay, the long journey home.

A sunny day at Olympia for the London Wine Fair

A sunny day at Olympia for the London Wine Fair

Watching the world go by.

Watching the world go by.

Dr Ernie Loosen shows off his Mosel

Dr Ernie Loosen shows off his Mosel

Lyne Marchive putting on a brave face after the frost in Burgundy

Lyne Marchive putting on a brave face after the frost in Burgundy

Rotem is happy with her Châteuneuf du Pape

Rotem is happy with her Châteuneuf du Pape

Another glimpse of Errazuriz at the Hatch Mansfield stand

Another glimpse of Errazuriz at the Hatch Mansfield stand

Finally, some of you will have already heard of the passing of one ofBurgundy’s icons/legends, call the great man what you will, Charles Rousseau of Domaine Aemand Rousseau in Gevrey Chambertin.
Its nearly twenty years since I first met him and he apologised then for not speaking English. Ten years on we crossed paths in Chambertin and he immediately started speaking in English. “You told me you could not speak English…” I said. “Of course I do, he smiled, “and German, and Spanish… and Italian… and American ! I just thought you needed to practice your French, I was right was n’t !”
He certainly was. A very wise man.
Here are some pictures to remember him by.

Charles with son Eric

Charles with son Eric

Charles in his cellar, the last time I saw him.

Charles in his cellar, the last time I saw him.

Charles doing a little labelling

Charles doing a little labelling

Those gentle hands at work in Clos St Jacques.

Those gentle hands at work in Clos St Jacques.

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 !