Taking stock of the 2021 vintage in Burgundy with Ludivine Griveau of the Hospices de Beaune

Monday September 27 2021 by Vitisphere

Founded in 1443, the Hospices de Beaune is based on the principle of a wine-funded hospital – wine from the estate provides funding for the town’s hospital. The vineyard blocks, all of them donations, extend over more than 60 ha in Burgundy, from Pouilly-Fuissé to Gevrey-Chambertin, most of them planted to Pinot noirFounded in 1443, the Hospices de Beaune is based on the principle of a wine-funded hospital – wine from the estate provides funding for the town’s hospital. The vineyard blocks, all of them donations, extend over more than 60 ha in Burgundy, from Pouilly-Fuissé to Gevrey-Chambertin, most of them planted to Pinot noir - Photo credit : Clément L'Hôte
Harvesting began on September 17 at the Hospices de Beaune estate. With two months to go before the illustrious charity auction, estate manager Ludivine Griveau shares her first insight into the vintage in an interview with Vitisphere.

What were the key moments of the season for you?

Ludivine Griveau: The most significant event for us was not the frost, but the heat spikes at the end of March, rising to up to 30°C, which got growth off to a very early start. Obviously, frost occurred on 6, 7 and 8 April, with -8°C in places, for 6 to 8 hours in a row. Growth then stalled for a month and a half, and we only considered crown suckering for the first time on 19 and 20 May, the instruction being not to touch the fruit canes. Flowering took place in perfect conditions. Then unfortunately the weather was ideal for alternate spates of downy and powdery mildew to develop.

 

The Hospices estate is not certified organic but takes an organic approach. Did you manage to keep disease pressure in check?

We were able to control disease pressure thanks to the estate’s outstanding organisational skills. We have up to 23 people available at any one time. Our other forte, due to our history, is the location of the plots that are mostly hillside sites with good drainage. As the first red grapes are brought in, we have very little sorting to do.

 

Are yields as badly affected with you as they are in the rest of Burgundy?

Yes, they are at an all-time low. We are 50% down in the least affected areas, and Hospices yields are already below average. The losses will be up to 70%. In parcels such as the Corton Bressandes, we are likely to drop from 30-35 hl to 10 hl this year.

 

Did the weather in September allow the fruit to ripen well?

That was the pleasant surprise this vintage. We were able to start harvesting with optimal phenolic ripeness, there was no need to extend hang-time. The berries are very ripe, you can see that they squash on the sorting tables and don’t bounce back. The skins are crisp and the pips are flavourful, with little bitterness. The initial juice is flavoursome with clear, precise, fruit-forward aromas. Extraction is easy and to date we have a beautiful salmon pink colour.

 

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