Jerome Hasenpflug Serves Up Serious Burgundy Writing


writing problems

My next article is taking a significant amount of time to figure out how all the pieces fit together, and is now requiring a bit of research as well.

In the meantime, here is an excellent write up of what we can expect from well regarded 2014 vintage in Burgundy.  Recent years have provided us with a true bounty of remarkable Burgundy!

Jerome Hasenpflug has posted some really terrific Burgundy reportage over the past years.  This ‘walk through’ Burgundy in this piece that he wrote last year really gives an idea of what the terroir and vineyard conditions are like in each famous local.

Below is a sizable section of his good work, or better yet, click on the link to his page.


While the television coverage of President Francois Hollande’s dismissal of the French government and Prime Minister Valls scrambling to form another was non-stop speculation and spin, the main thing on people’s minds here in Burgundy is the weather.  The outgoing Economic Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, denounced austerity and conservatism, claimed modern Europe has been in economic crisis since 1929, quoted St. Augustine, and the French markets responded with the Bourse up nearly 3% in a couple days.  The French government may look to the left for a solution to stagnation and unemployment, but the farmers and growers of France’s most important agricultural export look to the skies.  Too bad all the hot air generated by the politicians, spin doctors, and talking heads can’t change the jet stream and bring us some true summer weather!

After a wonderfully sunny week, showers returned on Saturday evening August 23rd.  Sunday was a superb late summer day, with brilliant sunshine and magnificently warm but not too hot temperatures.  It was perfect for the international baseball tournament and country-western line dancing at the Journees Americain in Fenay, just east of Dijon, which I attended.  Unfortunately, by late evening thick clouds had moved in from the west, and the night brought rain.  Monday morning brought drear and drizzle, with weather more appropriate to late October than late August.  It is cool, damp, and grey here in the Cote d’Or.  Monday evening brought rain and Tuesday morning the fog and clouds covered the upper slopes of the Cote d’Or and and a steady rain drenched the region.  As I write the sky is clearing a bit, and the wind is picking up out of the west.  The forecast is for continued unsettled weather.

After writing about the prospects for the harvest in the southern part of the Cote d’Or, with another post devoted to the illustriousGrands Crus, it is time to consider the northern part of the region, the regional, village, and 1ers Crus north of the A6 motorway, from the suburbs of Dijon to the outskirts of Beaune.




I was having a quiet Saturday afternoon at my Domaine Henri Richard gite in Gevrey on June 28th, when the skies suddenly darkened, the wind began to howl, and the rain began to pour in sheets.  What really got my attention was that a bit of this downpour was bouncing.  It was hailing.  Gevrey-Chambertin did not get too much hail that day, but curiosity forced me into my car and onto theRoute de Grands Crus, where I then encountered another few waves of the storms that were moving in from the south.

There is some damage to the vineyards and fruit in Gevrey, but nothing compared to the devastation further south, which I have already reported in previous posts.  Gevrey growers tell me that 5 to 10% of their crop was lost to the hail, but at the moment, most expect a fairly normal, average-sized crop, because the vines were carrying a fairly copious fruit set, and the recent rains have swollen the grapes significantly.  The key to 2014 will be the weather between now and September 15th, when many growers forecast the harvest will begin.  A rigorous selection at harvest and again in the winery will be required to keep quality at the levels that recent prices command.

Beautiful fruit in Brochon, whose southern parcels are classified AOP Gevrey-Chambertin
Brochon Water Windmill
Brochon also has a wonderful engineering curiosity, a 19th century wind-powered water pump
As in many areas that were hit quickly, hail damage in Gevrey was predominantly on the southern sides of vines
As in many areas that were hit quickly, hail damage in Gevrey was mostly on the southern sides of vines
Gev Just
Excellent results in the Gevrey village lieu-dit of Les Justices
Gev Tamisot
Pierre Damoy’s Gevrey village Monopole Clos Tamisot with a fine set of fruit
Gev Cherb Pretty
Getting there, but a little behind the ripening curve in this Gevrey village plot
Gev North
Beautiful ripening at veraison mid-August in Gevrey village Aux Corvees
Gev Champ
Variations in ripening at Gevrey 1er Cru Champeaux
Gev StJ Damage
This will need sorting and a strict selection in 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
Gev StJ Ripe
Lovely fruit, also in Gevrey 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
Gev StJ Muddy
But a bit wet in Clos St. Jacques at the bottom of the slope with fewer stones
Gev Clos Pr
Lovely fruit in 1er Cru Clos des Varoilles
Gev Cherb damage
A bit of damage in 1er Cru Cherbaudes


Gev Perr Probs
Problems here in Gevrey 1er Cru Les Perriere, quite a bit of millerandage, but the adjacent vine at the top right of the photo looks fine.

Gevrey-Chambertin should deliver a fine quantity and quality of fruit in 2014 if the weather improves.  The next few weeks will determine the quality of the vintage, but there is plenty of fruit for producers to work with here.


I have always liked the wines of Morey.  To me they show an accentuated minerality, a flavor almost like the iron accents in blood, or the smell of mecurochrome that my mother would put on an abrasion when I skinned my knees or elbows.  I have been told that Morey has an inordinate amount of manganese in its soils, which might account for the high-toned, tart dark fruit flavors that I associate with Morey St. Denis.  Damage here was minimal, and the growers here should be happy if the clouds lift and the sun shines.

Morey Clos des Ormes (2)
Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Clos des Ormes
Morey PV 1
An amazing vine with some lovely fruit: Morey villages lieu-dit Pierre Vivant
Morey Luisants Chard (2)
Chardonnay in the heights of Morey: 1er Cru Monts Luisants
Morey Luisants PN
Some lovely Pinot Noir in 1er Cru Monts Luisants as well
Morey Ruch (2)
A good set here in Morey 1er Cru Les Ruchots
Morey Rue de Vergy
Morey villages lieu-dit en la Rue de Vergy above Clos de Tart: secondary crop above, culled fruit below. Experienced pickers only required!


As mentioned in a previous post, Musigny, at the knoll  of the hill just above Clos de Vougeot, was significantly impacted by hail.  Damage north of the village was quite limited except in the upper slopes nearBonnes Mares, but moving south towards 1ers Crus Les Amoureusesand Les Charmes more sustained damage appears.  I would estimate losses of 35% in some Chambolle vineyards.

CM Sentiers
A few millerandes, but a fine spread in Chambolle 1er Cru Les Sentiers
CM Cras
Lovely spacing in Chambolle 1er Cru Les Cras
CM Plantes (3)
A splendid vine in Chambolle 1er Cru Les Plantes
CM New Amour
Domaine Bertagna’s new plantation at top right of photo, newly built terraces of Chambolle 1er Cru Les Amoureuses above Monopole Clos de La Perriere
CM Amour
A bit of hail damage, and not much fruit on this Chambolle 1er Cru Les Amoureuses vine

Chambolle-Musigny has always been a favorite village for me.  Its elegance and suave flavors remind me of a darker style of Volnay, more sultry, like Lauren Bacall compared to Catherine Denueve.  Good results can be expected here if the weather will cooperate, though hail damage in the southern parcels was significant, reducing the crop by 25 to 35%.


Outside of their distinguished Grands Crus, there are not many parcels of vines in Vougeot or Flagey to talk about.  Vougeot has 3 hectares of vines classified as villages, and almost 12 hectares of 1ers Crus parcels to complement the 50 hectares of Clos de Vougeot.  The only non-Grand Cru property in Flagey-Echezeax is classified asAppellation Vosne-Romanee Protegee.  These parcels sustained some heavy damage from the hail, especially parcels higher on the slope, including the two Monopoles, Clos de La Perriere (Domaine Bertagna) and Clos Blanc de Vougeot (Boisset’s Domaine de la Vougeraie), where I estimate 40% of the crop was lost.  The Vougeot 1ers Crus Les Petits Vougeot and Les Cras were less affected, as were the smallvillages parcels.

Vougeot 1er Cru Monopole Clos de La Perriere showing damage & millerandage


Unfortunately, Vosne-Romanee, the village where, according to Thomas Jefferson, “there are no ordinary wines”, was substantially impacted by the hail, and I have written of the damage to the Grands Crus in a previous post.  Yet other vines in Vosne-Romanee were also badly damaged, particularly northern, upper parcels of the 1ers Crus Les Suchots and Les Beaux Monts.  Again, fruit on the southern side of the vines was more damaged, but a fair bit of fine fruit clusters remain to be harvested.

VR Such
Damaged clusters were removed in this parcel of Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Suchots
VR BM South
Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts south side of vine
Same parcel from the opposite, northern side with less damage

Further south, and down the slope adjacent to and below La Tache,things appear fairly good, with an abundant crop ripening nicely.

VR Mal
Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Les Malconsorts in fine form
VR CdReas (3)
A very fine result in Vosne 1er Cru Monopole Clos des Reas (Domaine Michel Gros)
VR CdReas
Uneven ripening, millerandes, but no hail damage in Clos des Reas

Moving further south into Vosne-Romanee villages appellations, at the Nuits St. Georges border about 10 to 15% losses in vines seems to have been the average.  Again, the fruit clusters on the south sides of the rows of vines were most affected by the hail.

VR aReas South
South side hail damage in Vosne-Romanee village parcel, here at Aux Reas
VR a Reas
Much more attractive (and riper) fruit on the north side, again Aux Reas

Occasionally in the Cote d’Or one still comes across vineyards like the one pictured below, showing the effects of using herbicide treatments on several rows of vines.  While I recognize that Les Bourguignons are fiercely proud, independent people, with huge, compassionate hearts, I simply do not understand how one’s neighbors can tolerate the continued use of poison in these treasured vines.  This is an abominable cruelty to agriculture.

VR Desherbes
Herbicide poisons in use to kill grass, weeds, and who knows what (or who) else in these vines


The town of Nuits St. Georges and the village of Premeaux-Prissey, which is entitled to the appellation of Nuits St. Georges, constitute one of the largest vineyard appellations in the entire Cote d’Or, with over 178 hectares of villages and 147 hectares of 1ers Crus shared between them.  There are no Grands Crus in Nuits St. Georges, but there are a lot of excellent wines produced here.  As throughout most of the Cote, the finest terroirs are mid-slope, where they enjoy excellent exposure to the sun, great drainage, and a superb mixture of calcaire stones and rich, nutrient and mineral-laden soils.

Hail was not an insignificant factor in the Nuits St. Georges appellations, but I would estimate only spotty losses of 5 to 10%.  Where there was damage, it was again on the south side of vines, with the northern sides showing abundant and fine fruit clusters. Millerandage seems to have been fairly significant, with quite a few older vines showing substantial shot berries in their bunches.

NSG Vill
Uneven ripening and a few millerandes, here in Nuits villages Au Bas de Combe
NSG Boud (2)
Nuits 1er Cru Boudots, two vines with differing ripening schedules
NSG Dam (3)
A lovely vine with superb fruit in Nuits 1er Cru Les Damodes
NSG Murg
A very fine crop in Nuits 1er Cru Les Murgers
NSG Pruliers
Abundance in Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers
NSG Roncieres (2)
Lovely old vines fruit in Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Ronciere
NSG Porets
Quite a bit of damage in 1er Cru Clos du Porrets St. Georges just south of Ronciere


Two closely intertwined vines showing millerandes, a bit of hail damage, and secondary growth (at the top right side of photo) in 1er Cru Les St. Georges
A much better set in this part of 1er Cru Les St. Georges, nearly uniform ripening
Some lovely white grapes in the upper parcel of Nuits Monopole 1er Cru Clos des Forets St. Georges (Domaine de L’Arlot).  Are these Chardonnay or their delightful Pinot Beurrot?
NSG Arg North
A fine result on the north side of 1er Cru Clos des Argillieres, a ways to go to ripen
NSG Arguil
Not so fine, with some damage, on this southern side of Clos des Argillieres


NSG Clos Arlot
The marvelously tilted, roller coaster ride of Nuits 1er Cru Monopole Clos Arlot (Domaine de L’Arlot)
NSG Marech
Nuits 1er Cru Monopole Clos de la Marechale (Domaine J-F Mugnier), beneath the rock piles from the quarry above

I could not get inside to view the vineyards in two of my favorite Nuits St Georges (Premeaux) 1ers Crus Monopoles, the Clos Arlot of Domaine de L’Arlot, and the Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Clos de la Marechale, which I have enjoyed since Faiveley controlled its production.  These adjacent sites in Premeaux-Prissey  express two different sides of Pinot Noir.  I always enjoy the rich dark red fruits and smooth, satisfyingly silky style of Clos de la Marechale, while the more brooding, mineral,  sauvage black fruits of Clos Arlot are fantastic with lamb or game.


Today the villages of Comblanchien and Corgoloin may be more well known for their marble stone, quarried from some of the Cote d’Or’s hardest limestone rock, but I predict that there will soon be some newly popular producers, lieux dits, and wines from these attractive vineyards around the major rock industry of Burgundy.

With prices for all Burgundy escalating, it may soon be impossible to offer a Cote de Nuits village wine by the glass in many top restaurants.  However, the Appellation Cote de Nuits-Villages Protegeewines from Comblanchien and Corgoloin can fill that void for high quality Pinot Noir at a reasonable tariff.  I, for one, am excited to see the appearance of a few lieux-dits names on the labels of some of these villages’ better producers.  Jean-Marc Millot’s Aux Fauques, from Comblanchien, and the Domaine d’Ardhuy’s CorgoloinMonopole Clos des Langres, are two examples of Cote de Nuits-Villages at its best.

Comblanchien (2)
An excellent crop in the Comblanchien Cote de Nuits-Villages site Aux Fauques
Corgo Ardhuy
Old vines with fine fruit in Corgoloin Monopole Clos des Langres
Comblanchien Monument
A sad memorial at the church of Comblanchien: the war was nearly finished here when retreating Germans shot eight suspected collaborators and burned 52 houses in the village.

Last Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of one of many atrocities committed by German SS troops as they retreated from the Allies’ advance and inevitable liberation of France.  The memorial at Comblanchien marks that sad night.

Comblanchien and Corgoloin have a long history of viticulture as well.  The Clos des Langres of Corgoloin was planted in the 9th century by monks from the Abbey of Cluny, and remained the property of the Diocese and Bishops of Langres until appropriated by Revolutionary forces at the end of the 18th century.

While the Cotes de Nuits-Villages wines from these villages (as well as those from Fixin and Brochon with the same appellation) may be headed up in price with all the rest of Burgundy’s wines, they still represent an excellent value for the world’s most distinctive Pinot Noir.


While this village’s wine production is dominated by its Grands Crus Corton and Corton Charlemagne, there are still nearly 90 hectares ofvillages appellation vines in Aloxe and 37 hectares of 1ers Crusspread between Aloxe and Ladoix.  Hail damage was minimal here, especially as many of the vines are in the lower slope areas of the Corton hill.

Aloxe Corton 1er Cru Les Fournieres
Aloxe Mills
Millerandage in Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru


If the sun returns to Burgundy, Aloxe-Corton will be a good source of quality wines in 2014.  There are top producers such as Domaine Antonin Guyon, Domaine Tollot-Beaut, and Domaine Chandon de Briailles bringing very fine wines to market at reasonable prices compared to other villages across the Cote d’Or.  While some wines from the village have a reputation for lightness, these producers’ wines show medium depth of soft cherry fruit, bright acidity, tightly wound minerality, and smoky, bacon-fat aromas that I thoroughly enjoy.


For years this village has literally lived in the shadows of the hill of Corton’s illustrious Grands Crus, yet judging by the presence of white and red offerings in the wine bars of Beaune and the surrounding region, Pernand-Vergelesses is in for a time of renewed appreciation.  With one 1er Cru, Sous Fretille, virtually identical in geography and geology to Corton Charlemagne, and other vineyards being the first and the last to grab sun from the sky just adjacent to Savigny, I believe that Pernand-Vergelesses will soon be a brighter star in the Burgundy firmament.

Pernand Sous Fret
Looking down from atop Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Fretilles with the village below
Pernand (2)
Not without some damage in Pernand
Some lovely Pernand Chardonnay
Pernand Ile Verg Red
Fine Pinot Noir in Pernand 1er Cru Ile de Vergelesses

As a salesperson I used to refer to Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc as “baby Corton-Chuck”.  The reds can also be delightful bargains, though it seems most of the Pernand offered today is white.  Look for the 1ers Crus of Ile de Vergelesses or Vergelesses, as well as the Sous Fretille.


It was only last year that Savigny was devasted by hail in July 2013, and the results are empty cellars for some producers from this lovely village.  One producer of Savigny-les-Beaune that I have known for over 25 years told me that they made no 1ers Crus in 2013.  If she is lucky, there will be a fine crop in 2014 to harvest.

Savigny sits in the mouth of a broad valley cut by the River Rhoin.  After the village, the valley opens to the east with some superb vineyards on both the northern and southern sides of the Rhoin.  The broad, open valley is perfectly exposed, and its 1ers Crus are the first and the last to receive the day’s sunshine.  The soils vary from quite stony to a mixture of clay and soil, argilo-calcaire, the essentialterroir of great Burgundy wines.  Aux Guettes, Clous, Serpentieres, Gravains, Les Lavieres, Fournaux, Champs Chevrey, Narbantonsand others all present excellent rapport prix-qualite.

Savigny Goudelettes
Wonderful Savigny fruit from village lieu-dit Les Goudelettes
Savigny Verg
Savigny 1er Cru Vergelesses, above the Pernand 1er Cru Ile de Vergelesses
Savigny Lav
Lovely fruit set in Savigny 1er Cru Les Lavieres
Savigny Guettes (2)
Should be a very fine result in Savigny 1er Cru Clos des Guettes
Savigny Briailles
The beautiful Chateau of Chandon de Briailles, with gardens by Lenotre, who also designed the gardens of Versailles
Savigny Washing & River
Adjacent to the Chateau, Savigny’s lavoir, or communal wash house, with the Rhoin River flowing through.






Hail damage and millerandage were fairly slight in 2014 in Savigny-les-Beaune.  Yet still, the average for winemakers there is to have made approximately two normal vintages in quantity over the last four years.  Understandably prices will rise, as the lack of wine throughout Burgundy is exerting enormous pressures on price.  But those growers who exercise restraint will find themselves with increasing market share.  The wines of Savigny-les-Beaune still represent value for this buyer’s money.


This village on the outskirts of Beaune has always been an excellent source for Cote de Beaune-Villages and the village appellation ofChorey-les-Beaune.  Most growers there are producing quality wines at very moderate prices, often not much more than Bourgogne Rouge.  Most of its 154 hectares sit on the eastern side of the former Route Nationale 74, which has been the traditional separation of wheat from chaff in Burgundy.  However, these wines are generally charming: full of Burgundy Pinot Noir flavors and delightfully easy to drink.  My current house quaffing wine is Chorey-les-Beaune from the friendly cousins at Domaine Tollot Beaut.  Delicious!

Chorey (2)
Fine stuff in Chorey-les-Beaune lieu dit Les Beaumonts
This photo was taken at 8:22pm on August 18th, 2014. Chorey-les-Beaune is still bathed in sunlight just before sunset. Looking closely, one can see the hot air balloon to the south above the village: a magnificent way to survey the vineyards if the wind is from the south.

This post and previous missives have covered the prospects for the 2014 harvest in the Cote d’Or in some detail, village by village, lieu-dit to Grands Crus from Santenay to the suburbs of Dijon.  If the sun continues to shine, the Cote d’Or should enjoy a fine harvest in 2014.  Some villages, notably northern Meursault, Volnay, Pommard, and Beaune, have been devastated by the hailstorms of June 28th, and will suffer greatly from a lack of wine at a period of worldwide increases in demand for wines of authenticity and terroir.  And there is no vineyard area on earth that more fully embodies the concept of terroir than the Cote d’Or.

I still believe that Matt Kramer said it best: ” Memorable wine is as much a map as a taste. It is why wine lovers in general, and Burgundy lovers more than anyone else, spend so much pleasurable effort exploring the distinctions between one vineyard and another. This is why a thirty-one mile strip of land, the Cote d’Or, has captivated wine drinkers for a millenium. Through its wines, one has the sensation of having found a terrestial crossroads, a place where man and plant and planet meet“.  (Emphasis mine, Matt Kramer, Making Sense of Burgundy, 1990).

What the weather brings in the next couple of weeks will only add to the complexity of understanding this incredible place.  I am happy if you enjoy my humble contributions, while I live my dreams in France.


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Diary of a Winebuyer

About Me: Thirty years ago, I graduated with a degree in political science from the College of Letters and Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Having grown up at the height of the Cold War, I still have vivid remembrances of being instructed to hide under our elementary school desk, covering our heads. The young, white, female teacher, training us without explanation, to face away from the windows. I suppose it is not all that surprising that I had a particular interest in the realpolitik of international relations. My fascination grew with the discovery that certain conditions almost uniformly exist where all revolutions ferment. Did this mean that the revolutions which had occurred in the first half century were revolutions which had been usurped by Marxists who were in the right place at the right time? Probably. A favorite professor was A. J. Gregor. This was a man who, while rakishly wearing a Gestapo-styled black leather motorcycle jacket, exuded expertise on fascism (which he looked the part) and Marxism. Improbably, he did it with a significant swagger. Then in my last semester, I had the blind luck to take a class on Asian Marxist revolution, and the professor, who just happened to be visiting that year while he worked on some unnamed project, was Chalmers Johnson. In retrospect, I should have known his name, as he was a luminary in the political science community but at that time, I did not. It was a remarkable opportunity to experience the ivory tower, but I seem to remember being anxious to get on with life. After college, I drifted through a few of jobs that were of interest to me. One of my former high school teachers said to me. "If I were in your shoes, I'd get a job as a flight attendant." So in order to be young while I could still afford to, I accepted a job serving chicken or beef at Pan American. With that airline losing money faster than it could sell its routes, I got a job doing cellar work at David Bruce Winery. This was the beginning of my wine career. All during this period, I wrote a still unpublished novel about homegrown terrorists the U.C. Berkeley campus, attempting to use some of what I learned in school, weaving in the Vietnamese political and military strategies of Dau Tranh as professor Johnson had lectured years before. Since the early 1990's, I have been involved in the wine industry, selling fine wine in both the retail and wholesale arenas. I have approached learning about wine, by always challenging myself to question how I know what I think I know? And in an effort to try to find answers I've turned, with varying degrees of success to wine books. Overall, I've not been happy with the quality of most wine writing, finding the authors either to lack any deep knowledge, or unable to move much past what I consider to be superficial information. I recognize that wine writers have to monetize their work, but I believe this has dramatically held back our knowledge and understanding of wine. I have set out to add to our industry's base of knowledge where I can. My first series, 'The Terroir of Burgundy' (which I should probably re-edit and complete some kind of conclusion, but I got involved in this project), can be viewed here. I currently work as a sales and marketing manager for a Burgundy and Bordeaux importer based in Atherton, California.

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