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Tagged articles : Burgundy

Vine de-budding in Burgundy


The Gourmet Odyssey Discovery Experience Day last Saturday at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay, started with a cool breeze and a hot cup of coffee!  We were there to learn about the first stage in wine-making; what goes on in the vineyard, and notably de-budding which was the work of the moment.

Jean-François, the owner of this charming winery began by explaining the history of his family, the winery and how they had converted to being organic some ten years ago already now.

Meet the winemaker at the winery in Burgundy France

Outside in the garden overlooking the surrounding vineyards, we learnt about the local geology and terroir, and how that has determined the different appellations over time.

We then made our way into the Clos des Cornières vineyard below, where we introduced ourselves to our adopted vines and took a few photos!

Jean-François explained the vegetative life-cycle of the vines, from pruning to harvest, talking about the different work involved such as arcing the branches, de-budding, removing some of the leaves, and the organic treatments used.

Vine-tending course in Santenay, Burgundy, France

At the moment, the wine-growers are being kept busy in the vineyard with de-budding, which consists in removing the unwanted shoots from the vines. These are sometimes shoots that grow below the head of the vine, will not produce any fruit, and will unnecessarily use up the plant’s energy.  Sometimes you get two or even three shoots growing from the same node, which will mean more grapes, but of a lesser quality as they will be less concentrated in sugar. The winemaker will choose a maximum number of grape bunches per vine, and will remove shoots to ensure that this limit isn’t surpassed, thus controlling the potential of the future yield.

After being shown how to de-bud the vines, we had a go ourselves, and we quickly learnt that a seemingly easy task requires more reflexion that you would think. 

Wine-tasting in Burgundy as a wine gift box

We then made our way back to the courtyard for a typical Burgundy aperitif. We tasted the Santenay Saint-Jean white wine, accompanied by the delicious gougères!

The traditional local cuisine followed with a Beef Bourguignon, and during the course of lunch, we tasted a Burgundy 2014, a Santenay Clos des Cornières 2013, and a Santenay Premier Cru Comme 2011.

After lunch, we enjoyed a walk in the vineyard to see the Beaurepaire plot that had recently been replanted. From this vantage point, we admired the magnificent views of the village and vineyards of Santenay. Jean-François explained the work involved in replanting vineyard and the patience required to wait for three years before harvesting the first grapes, and at least 7 years before harvesting more qualitative grapes. The choice of replanting is made for the long-term future of the winery and is something that the next generation will benefit from.

Vineyard tour and winery visit in Burgundy, France

We finished the day with a quick tour in the cellar to see where the wines ferment and age. We look forward to coming back for the harvest!

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Attaching the vines to the training wires


We spent last Saturday at Domaine Chapelle in the picturesque Burgundy village of Santenay. We were there to learn about the winegrower’s work in the vineyard and to help attach the vines to the training wires.

The day started in the warmth of the winery where we listened to Simon, the son of the owner and who will one day succeed Jean-François, talk about the history of the family and introduce us to the classification system of Burgundy wines.

In the vineyard there has already been lots of work done to prune all of the vines, and with the arrival of spring, there is no let-up in the winegrower’s workload!  It’s time to get back out into the vineyard.

Adopt-a-vine experience in Burgundy, France

We make a quick stop to meet our adopted vines, and take a few photographs. We start to talk about organic winemaking, Domaine Chapelle having now been organically certified for several years. Simon explained the philosophy and principals applied in the vineyard. We also learnt of his desire to work biodynamically, and 5 hectares of the estate are already worked biodynamically to test the different method of working.

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Simon brought us up to speed on the work carried out in the vineyard so far for the 2017 vintage, notably the different pruning methods used. For the most part, 5 to 7 eyes are left on each of the branches and 2 eyes on the short spur. The longer branch will produce the fruit for the coming year, and the shorter spur will prepare the vine for next year’s pruning.

Oenology course at an organic winery in France

Now that the pruning has finished, the next stage is to bend the branches and attach them to the training wires. This helps to better spread out the foliage and in the coming months will also mean that the grapes are better spaced, limiting the risk of mould developing.
We each had a go at this delicate operation. It’s quite stressful because the vines make a cracking sound when the branches are bent.

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The April showers started to fall a little harder, so we then headed back to the shelter of the cellar for a nice Burgundy aperitif!

We tasted the Santenay Saint Jean white wine, accompanied by the famous Gougères, a delicious Burgundy speciality. We then tasted three different red wines during the meal which included an excellent beef bourguignon.

Vineyard and winery visit in Santenay, Burgundy

The sun was out again after lunch, so we headed back out into the vineyard to visit the Beaurepaire Premier Cru vineyard which had been replanted two years ago.  It enabled us to better understand how vines are selected and nurtured, and the work and time that it takes before the first full harvest can be reaped.  From our vantage pot, we admired the view of the surrounding vineyards and the village below.

We finished the day with a quick tour of the cellar where the wines are aged and stored. Our wine isn’t yet there, but we’ll be back in a year’s time to see how it is getting on during one of the Vinification Experience Days. But before then, we also have the Harvest Experience Days to pick the grapes!

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Learning about the winemaker’s work in the cellar


The 2017 Wine Experience Days got underway last weekend in Burgundy at Domaine Chapelle with a couple of great Vinification Experience Days with the clients of the 2016 vintage.  The aim of this wine course spent at the winery is to learn all about the work in the cellar and the choices that the winemaker takes to make the wine between the harvest and the time that it is ready for bottling.  As we were to learn, the winemaker’s job is far from finished once the grapes have been harvested.

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The days were split into different workshops.  After the introductions, one group followed Jean-François Chapelle into the fermentation hall.  Here he explained how the grapes are received during the harvest and then put into the vats.  We learnt about the fermentation process and how the winemakers closely monitor and control it to ensure that it takes place in the optimal conditions.  Jean-François explained the difference between the “vin de goutte” and the “vin de presse”, and the differences in making white and red wine.

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After the first fermentation has finished and the wine has been racked, the majority of the red wines at Domaine Chapelle, including the Clos des Cornières red wine chosen for the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience, are moved to the underground cellar to continue their ageing in the oak barrels.

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Amongst the barrels, Jean-François explained how the wine loses some of its acidity during the malo-lactic fermentation and let us in on the choices that he makes regarding the different types of barrel used.  To better understand the role that the barrels play in making wine, we tasted some wines directly from the barrel to compare the difference between new and old barrels. The same wine had been put into the barrels, so the only difference was the barrel.  It’s amazing to see how the aromas and taste vary.  The questions abounded, and we covered many topics from chaptalisation, the levels of sulphites added, and the different methods used to close the bottles.

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Upstairs, another workshop run by Yvette Chapelle prepared us to better taste wine by putting or senses to the test.  Using small bottles containing different aromas found in red wine, we had a go at trying to identify the individual smells.  Not as easy as you would at first think!

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We then tasted four different cups containing a saline, sweet, acidic and bitter solution to appreciate how they feel differently in the mouth.

After the morning’s full programme, we made the most of the glorious sunshine and enjoyed a glass of Santenay St Jean 2015 white wine in the courtyard whilst Jean-François answered more of our questions.

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Over lunch, we continued the wine tasting with some of the red Burgundy wines, starting with the Santenay Clos des Cornières 2012, followed by the Santenay La Comme premier cru 2014, and finishing with the Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot premier cru red wine.
We started the afternoon in the Clos des Cornières vineyard to visit our adopted vines.  They were revelling in the sunshine and were only too happy to have their photo taken with their adoptive owners!

Rent-a-vine gift in an organic French vineyard

Jean-François then explained the different geology of the surrounding vineyards and how that determines the AOC classification system of Burgundy and Santenay wines.  He pointed out the three distinct areas of our Clos des Cornières vineyard, knowledge we needed for the final wine tasting of the day.

Back in the courtyard, we tasted the three different wines from the Clos de Cornières vineyard that are vinified separately and are only blended together shortly before bottling.  This enabled us to see the difference that the age of a vine plays, and to get a sneak preview of the potential of the 2016 vintage.  The wines were at different stages of the malo-lactic fermentation process, so also enabled us to see how they change.

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And so the day drew to a close.  Many thanks to Jean-François and Yvette for sharing their passion for winemaking with us, and to all of the participants for making it such a great weekend!

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Congratualtions to the winners of the 2016 My Vine photo competition


Many thanks to all of the participants in the 2016 “My Vine” photo competition, and also thanks to all of those who liked, commented or shared the photos taken during the Gourmet Odyssey Experience Days at our partner vineyards.
Voting closed at 17:00 yesterday and we have two winners.  The first winner was chosen by the Gourmet Odyssey jury, and the second winner was for the photo that received the most likes on our Facebook page.

The choice for the jury prize was long debated, and it proved very difficult to single out just one photo from all of the finalists!

Congratulations go to Maxime Baudry, who has been awarded the Gourmet Odyssey jury prize, and to Benoit Gaultier, the winner of the public vote on our Facebook page:

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Wine gift box for Christmas, Birthday


Each winner will receive a magnum of wine from the winery where their adopted vines are located!

See you next year as the 2017 competition gets under way in February with the first Vinification and Discovery Experience Days!

 

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Pruning the vines in a Burgundy vineyard


Last Sunday, we welcomed some Gourmet Odyssey apprentice winemakers to Domaine Chapelle in the Burgundy village of Santenay for a Discovery Experience Day, dedicated to learning more about the work in the vineyard.
Vineyard experience, France, Burgundy

Following the introductions to the day, Jean-François, the owner and winemaker at Domaine Chapelle, took the lead, presenting the winery and its place amongst the Burgundy vineyards. We then all got booted up to immerse ourselves in the vineyard! We formed two groups, the first under the guidance of Simon, Jean-François’ son, started by learning how to prune the vines using the cordon de royat method.

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The second group started with Jean-François, learning how to fold the branch left from pruning using the guyot method, and attach it to the training wire. Jean-François also started to talk about the intricacies of working organically in the vineyard.

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We had a great moment in the vineyard. Everyone got stuck in and we all succeeded in becoming certified pruners!

The warmth of the winery beckoned, as did the time for a typical Burgundy aperitif. Jean-François served a Santenay white wine that went down very well, accompanied by some gougères, the traditional cheese shoe pastry appetiser. During the course of the meal, including a hearty beef bourguignon, we tasted three different wines, a Burgundy red, a Santenay “Clos des Cornières”, and a Santenay “Beaurepaire” Premier Cru.

At 14:30, we returned to the vineyard to introduce ourselves to our adopted vines. After a few quick photos, we climbed the track to the Beaurepaire vineyard, which was to be our next centre of attention.

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After a nice little stroll, punctuated by Jean-François’ commentary on the different soils and ways of working to till and weed them, we arrived in front of this little vine.

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We learnt all about the work necessary to get the vine to this stage, and of the consequences replanting a vineyard has on the production. The vines are green harvested for the first two years, so that the plant focuses on its structure and root development. The first harvest is not until the 3rd year, but the wine it produces will be demoted to a lower class appellation. It’s only after about 10 years that this young vine will start to express the potential of the terroir. It’s a reminder that a winemaker has to have vision to lay down the groundwork for the future generation and so maintain the quality of the estate.

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Back at the winery, Jean-François took us on a quick tour of the cellar and fermentation hall. We could see the different marks that each generation had made in the fermentation hall. Wooden casks introduced by the grandfather, concrete vats during Jean-François’ father’s time, and a host of new stainless steel vats designed to work with gravity that Jean-François had introduced in a quest to further improve the quality of his wines.

At the end of this great day, we had learnt much about the work of the winemaker and the care that must be taken in the vineyard to nurture the vines. Many thanks to all who participated

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Wine-Making Experience Day in Burgundy at Domaine Chapelle


The first of the Wine Experience Days for the new year got underway last weekend at Domaine Chapelle in the picturesque Burgundy village of Santenay. We were there with clients of the 2015 vintage for a couple of Vinification Experience Days.

Vineyard experience, Burgundy, France

The last in the series of the Gourmet Oydssey Wine Experience Days, the aim of this oenological session is to explain the important work and decisions that must be taken in the cellar to transform the grapes that were harvested last year into wine, and how to nurture the wines during the ageing process until they are ready for bottling.

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In order to explain the different aspects of the work, the day was divided into a series of workshops. To set the scene, Jean-François, the winemaker and owner of Domaine Chapelle, introduced us to the winery and gave us an overview of the Burgundy Appellation Contrôlée system by explaining the historical and geological events that led to the surrounding vineyards being classified as regional, village, premier cru or grand cru. In Burgundy, the terroir is the starting point for understanding the wines, but as Jean-François explained, the wine doesn’t make itself; it’s also the result of the climate, and the decisions that the winemaker takes in nurturing the vines and making the wine.

When tasting wines, the most difficult thing to do is to put words to the sensations that are stimulated. Yvette, Jean-François’ wife and partner in the winery, led us through a series of tests to help us better taste wine. First, we put our noses to good use to try and identify some of the aromas that can be found in the wines.

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The first series contained primary and secondary aromas. Fruity or floral, these aromas were principally due to the grape varietal and terroir. The second series of tertiary aromas were more marked, introducing us to the types of aromas that can be found in wines that have been aged in oak barrels.

Yvette had also organised a tasting session for us, not of wine, but of four different water based solutions. We had to spot the sugar, salt, acid and bitter tasting waters, and to identify the different zones in the mouth that each one affects. This exercise can be very useful when tasting and describing the different structures of wines.

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In the fermentation hall, Jean-François explained how the grapes are received and entered into the vats at harvest time. He then explained the work needed to monitor and control the fermentation process, plot by plot. There are lots of techniques that can be used to improve the quality of the wine, and Jean-François told us that the difficulty nowadays is deciding which ones to use and knowing when not to use one. His aim isn’t to produce wines that taste the same every year, but wines that are the best expression of the vintage in question and the potential of the terroir.

Once the first fermentation has finished, the red wines are then racked and put into barrels in the winery’s impressive underground cellar.

Wine making experience, Burgundy, France

Here, Jean-François talked about the ageing of the wine in barrels, and we tasted three different wines to better understand first-hand the different aromatic, gustative and structural characteristics that the barrels can bring to a wine.

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By the time we had finished in the cellar, it was already the end of the morning, so time for the aperitif! On Saturday, we enjoyed the sunshine and mild weather, and headed outside into the courtyard to taste the Santenay St Jean white wine, and to ask Jean-François some more questions.

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Over lunch, we continued the wine tasting with some of the winery’s red wines. To start with, the 2011 vintage of the wine chosen for the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience, the Clos des Cornières. We then compared it to a Santenay Premier Cru “Les Gravières” from the same year, before ending with an Aloxe Corton 2012.

After lunch, we headed out into the vineyard to meet up with our adopted vines. It’s the start of a new year for the My Vine photo competition, and a variety of interesting poses were quickly adopted!

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Jean-François explained the different zones of the vineyard that are made up from three different ages of vines. This was useful information because back at the winery, we had a final wine tasting session prepared for us. The wine from each of the three zones is vinified and aged separately, and we had the opportunity to taste a different 2015 wines from each zone, to see the difference that the age of the vines plays in the taste of the wine, and also between the soils in the different areas. Even though the vines are from the same vineyard, within it, there are two different types of soil structure.

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So as the day drew to a close, we had learnt that the winemaker’s job is far from over once the harvest is in. Through the different tasting sessions we had also learnt that there are many factors that can influence the taste and structure of the wine. Fortunately our 2015 vintage is in good hands with Jean-François, Yvette and Yannick, but we still have a few more months to wait as the wine develops and matures!

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Training the vines at Domaine Chapelle


Last week-end couldn't have been better. The sun, warm weather and good cheer were all in attendance for the last two Discovery Experience Days of 2015 at Domaine Chapelle. We spent most of the day in the vineyard under the glorious Burgundy sun. These two days allowed us to discover the winery and to learn about the different work of the winemaker throughout the year.

Wine experience in Burgundy

To start the day, Jean-François Chapelle (Saturday) and Yannick Jacrot (Sunday), introduced us to the geology and geography of Burgundy, as well as the history of the winery. It's now over 100 years that this Burgundy winery has been in the hands of the Chapelle family! They also explained why they chose to make their wines organically, to respect the soil and the people who work it, as much as the pleasure of drinking a wine free from toxic products that can harm the health of the consumers! We then headed for the "Clos des Cornières" vineyard, which is located in front of the manor house. For most of us, it was the first contact with the Burgundy terroir and our adopted vines.

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Thanks to the good weather of the past few weeks, the vines are coming along famously. The grapes are already of a good size, and the bunches are plenty and in good health. If the summer passes without any hiccups, then the 2015 harvest should be of an excellent quality!

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Time to get down to some work... The work at the moment is to raise the training wires for the second time. Having finished the de-budding, which involved removing excess branches that the plant would otherwise have to nourish, we now have to air and give the vines as much space as possible to limit the spread of any potential disease, and to help the grapes mature. We trained a few rows of vines, being careful to separate the branches between each vine without breaking them. This is another of the manual tasks that has to be done throughout the winery's 18 hectares of vines.

Vineyard experience in Burgundy, France

Back at the winery, we made the most of the sunshine and took the aperitif outside. We tasted the Santenay Saint Jean 2013 white wine, accompanied by some gougères, a Burgundy savoury speciality. We continued the tasting of the Santenay red wines over lunch, finishing with a "Les Gravières" 2011 Premier Cru with the cheese.

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The afternoon started with a walk to the "Beaurepaire" vineyard, a Premier Cru plot of vines. This gave us the opportunity to discover a little more about the southern Côte de Beaune landscape and the local geology. This particular vineyard was replanted in spring, and the young vines are doing great. We learnt about the life cycle of a vine and were told that the vines won't give a full harvest for 5-7 years from now.

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When we returned from the walk, a glass of water was greatly appreciated before continuing the day with a visit of the fermentation halls and the cellar. The fermentation hall is where the grapes are received at harvest time, and where we also bottle the wines. The building has been added to over the generations. In the oldest part, the old wooden casks that hold some of the Premier Cru wines are to be found.

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The second part is a little more modern, and was built by the father of Jean-François who furnished it with concrete vats. The most recent part houses stainless steel vats, with a cooling system to regulate the temperature of each vat. We quickly learnt how the grapes will be worked during the harvest, and how the alcoholic fermentation will occur.
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We finished the day with a tour of the vaulted Burgundy cellar. The 2014 wines are still ageing there in the oak barrels, and it is also where the majority of the bottles are stored.

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Many thanks to Jean-François Yannick and Yvette for their availability and passionate explanations. And thanks also to all of the participants for a very enjoyable week-end at Domaine Chapelle. See you again soon for the harvest!

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De-budding in Burgundy at Domaine Chapelle


After the worry of a little rain on Friday evening, all our doubts disappeared on Saturday morning as the wind swept the last of the clouds away from the Burgundy sky.  We were at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay for a Discovery Experience Day to learn all about the work carried out in the vineyard by the winemaker to obtain the best possible grapes come harvest time.

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Following a brief presentation of the winery by Jean-François, the owner and winemaker, we headed out into the garden of the family manor, where Jean-François talked about the geography and geology of Burgundy.  He also explained why he had decided to embark on the organic approach to making wine.  For him, it is as much about taking pleasure from drinking a wine that is free from harmful products as it is about respecting the soil and protecting the health of the people who work at the winery.

Jean-François then showed us the "Clos des Cornières" vineyard, where our adopted vines are to be found.  He took the opportunity to explain the differences between the Burgundy regional, village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru appellations.  We then met our adopted vines for the first time.  A very emotional moment!

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We knew that sooner or later, it would be time for us to roll up our sleeves and do some work...  We're getting into the de-budding season.  After pruning, a very important stage in determining the future development of the vines and for reducing the quantity of grapes that each vine produces, de-budding is another key step.  You mustn't leave too many branches and leaves to feed, or you run the risk of not obtaining mature enough grapes.  We removed some of the buds on the vines to better appreciate the complexity and scale of this titanic job.

Back at the winery, we made the most of the lovely April sun, and enjoyed our aperitif outside.  We started the wine tasting with a Santenay 2013 white wine, accompanied by some gougères, and then continued the tasting over lunch of a Burgundy Pinot Noir 2011, a Santenay Clos de Cornières 2011 and a Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru 2010 with cheese.

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In the afternoon, we took a stroll to the Beaurepaire plot of Santenay Premier Cru vines.  The walk allowed us to appreciate the landscape of the southern côte de Beaune, and to learn a little more about the local geology.  The vineyard has just been replanted, and so we found out about a vine's life-cycle of a vine.  Yannick Jacrot, the winery's Technical Director, explained how the vines are planted and the vineyard prepared.

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The day finished with a brief visit of the fermentation hall and cellar where the barrels of wine are ageing and the bottles of wine are stocked.

Organic winery tour near Beaune, France

Many thanks to Jean-François and Yannick for their passionate explanations, and to all of the Gourmet Odyssey clients for your good cheer.

Other articles relating to the work in the vineyard

A review of the work in the vineyard for the 2015 vintage

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A lovely day in the Burgundy vineyard


It was a beautiful sunny day last Sunday in Burgundy, and we had the good fortune to be at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay for a Discovery Experience Day. This hands-on wine day introduces us to the winery, and teaches us about all of the work carried out by the winemaker in the vineyard to produce the best possible grapes come harvest time.

Wine experience in Burgundy at Domaine Chapelle

After an introduction to the winery and the region by Jean-François Chapelle, the owner of the estate, we walked to the Clos des Cornières vineyard where our adopted vines are located.

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Jean-François showed us the vineyard and pointed out the different geological strata that can be found around the winery and in the Côte de Beaune. This helps us to better understand the appellation system in the region of Burgundy generic, Village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines. We then took a few minutes to meet our adopted vines for the first time, a very emotional moment for the new parents!

Vineyard experience in Burgundy, France

It was then time to get down to some work. We're nearing the end of the pruning season, which is one of the most important phases in the development of the vines. You have to prune well to reduce the quantity of grapes produced by each vine, and so improve the concentration of sugar in each grape bunch. We learnt how to prune using the Cordon de Royat method and had a go on some vines which had been pre-pruned by a tractor to cut down some of the wood.

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The vineyard on the other side of the road is planted with Chardonnay, and the Guyot Simple method is used to prune. Here there is no pre-pruning done, so once we had cut the branches, you need to pull them from the training wires as the tendrils have wound around them.

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Back at the winery, we made the most of the sunshine and started the wine tasting in the courtyard with a Santenay 2013 white wine, accompanied by some gougères. The tasting continued during lunch with a Burgundy Pinot Noir 2011, a Santenay "Clos des Cornières" 2011 and a Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru Morgeot 2010.

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After lunch, we went for a walk to one of the Santenay Premier Cru vineyards, the Beaurepaire. This gave us the chance to discover some of the different views of the Côte de Beaune and to learn more about the local geology.

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The day ended with a quick tour of the vaulted cellar to see where the wines are ageing in barrels and where the bottles are stocked until ready for labelling. Many thanks to Jean-François for his passionate explanations, and to all of our dear clients.

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Vinificiation and ageing of wine in Burgundy


We couldn't have asked for better weather for the latest Vinification Experience Day at Domaine Chapelle. The aim of the day was to learn more about the process of making and ageing wine, from harvest time until the wine is ready for bottling.
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After a welcome coffee, the day started with a workshop in tasting wines, led by Yvette Chapelle. This session starts with an exercise to identify the different aromas that can be found in wine.

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We put our sense of smell to the test, first with the primary aromas of fruit and flowers, and then we tried to name a series of tertiary aromas that can be found in wines that have been aged in oak.

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The wine tasting session finished with a gustative test to identify the differences between sweet, saline, acidic and bitter solutions.

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Jean-François Chapelle took us on a tour of the fermentation hall and the cellar. In the fermentation hall he explained how the wines ferment and worked in the period immediately following the harvest.

Wine making experience in Burgundy

In the cellar, we then learnt how the wines change when aged in different types of oak barrel. We tasted some wines direct from the barrel to see firsthand the differences in some of the 2014 wines that are currently ageing. Then it was time for the aperitif. A Santenay 2013 village white wine, accompanied by some gougères before sitting down to enjoy lunch.

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We headed out into the sunshine after lunch, and made our way to the Clos des Cornières vineyard, where our adopted vines are to be found. Jean-François taught us a few more things about the local geology and the vines in general.

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We finished the day back at the winery with a final tasting of the 2014 Clos de Cornières wine which is currently ageing in oak barrels in the cellar. The vineyard is made up of three distinct zones with three different ages of vines which are referred to as the Park, Young and Old. We tasted each of these wines separately, as the final wine will be made up of a blend of the three. Many thanks to the team at Domaine Chapelle for their warm welcome, and to our clients for their good cheer.

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Wine-making Experience Day at Domaine Chapelle in Burgundy


The snow and wind also turned up for the Vinification Experience Days on the first weekend of February, but fortunately the programme was to spend most of the day inside. The aim of the Vinification Experience Days is to learn about the process of fermenting and ageing wine from the time of harvest up until the time when the wine is finally ready to be bottled

And so after a nice warm coffee, the day started with a workshop led by Yvette Chapelle to develop the senses used when tasting wine, notably our sense of smell in identifying the aromas that can be found in wine.

Wine experience gifts in Burgundy

We first tried to name some of the primary fruity and floral aromas that are characteristic of different grape varietals, and then we had a go at identifying some of the tertiary aromas such as grilled almonds and toast that are indications of a wine that has been aged in oak barrels. We then participated in a second test to recognise sweet, saline, bitter and acidic tastes. This also enabled us to have a look at the machinery used in the room where the bottles are cleaned and the labels stuck onto the bottles. Jean-François Chapelle and Yannick Jacrot then took us into the fermentation hall to talk about the work carried out there during and immediately following the harvest.

Unique red wine gift in Burgundy, France

We then went down into the magnificent cellar; and tasted some of the 2014 wines direct from the barrels. This enabled us to compare different wines that are still in the ageing process, and to put our new found wine tasting skills to the test!

Vineyard experience in France

Back in the fermentation hall, we started to taste some of the finished wines from the estate. To start, a Santenay 2013 village white wine, accompanied by a few gougères, a local savoury delicacy. We then continued the wine tasting with some of the red wine wines during lunch.

Wine tasting gift in Burgundy

To kick off the afternoon activities, we took a short stroll to the Clos des Cornières vineyard, where our adopted vines are to be found. It also gave us the opportunity to learn learn a little more about the local geology and the different appellations of Burgundy, Regional, Village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru.

Adopt a vine in Burgundy

Despite the icy wind that blew over the Côte de Beaune on this particular weekend, we braved the elements to take a look at our vines and to note that they seem to be doing fine prior to being pruned in the coming weeks.

Personalised bottles of wine in Burgundy

The day finished with a tasting of the 2014 Clos des Cornières wines that are ageing in oak barrels, quietly lying in the cellar. The Clos de Cornières vineyard is made up of three distinct areas, which are refered to as the park, young and old, and we were able to taste the difference in each of the wines before they will be blended together closer to the time of bottling. Many thanks to Domaine Chapelle for their welcome and for enabling us to discover a little more about the art of making wine in Burgundy.

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The 2014 harvest gets under way in the Côte de Beaune


The sun was out for the Harvest Experience Days last weekend at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay. We were there for the first days of this year's harvest, and we got involved in each of the harvesting stages from picking the grapes to putting them in the vats.

 

Adopt a vine gift in France and follow the making of your own wine

 

The day started in the Clos des Cornières vineyard, the plot where the adopted vines of our apprentice winemakers are located. Before getting down to the serious business of the day, we took a few minutes to find our vines and mark the occasion with a few photos.

 

rent a vine in France. Wine experience gift

 

Jean-François Chapelle, the winemaker and owner of the winery, showed us how to harvest; which grapes to pick and which are better left behind due to rot or a lack of maturity. Armed with a pair of secateurs and a crate, we spread out, two people to each row, to start harvesting the grapes. The harvest is looking good, and the warm, sunny weather of the last couple of weeks has done the world of good to reduce the acidity and increase the sugar levels in the grapes.

 

Harvest Experience Day gift in Burgundy

 

Each pair picked to their own rhythm, and once the crate was full, they brought it back to end of the row to exchange it for a new one. Fortunately, the vines in the Clos de Cornières are more heavily laden than last year, so the crates quickly filled up!

 

Participate in the harvest in Burgundy, France

 

After the morning's work, we returned to the garden of the château for a well earned aperitif - a nice fresh Santenay Saint Jean white wine to refresh the palate!

 

Rent-a-vine and wine tasting gift in Santenay, Burgundy

 

We continued the wine tasting with some red wines from the estate over lunch, which was served in the harvester's refectory. We tasted a Santenay Clos des Cornières, Santenay Premier Cru Les Gravières, before finishing with an Aloxe Corton. After lunch, we continued in the steps of the grapes. First stop, the harvest reception hall. Here, the crates of picked grapes are unloaded from the vans, and then emptied one by one onto the sorting table to remove any unwanted grapes that went unnoticed in the vineyard. Yannick, the winery's Technical Director, showed us how to do this important work.

 

Original gift for a wine lover. Harvest Experience present in France

 

At the end of the sorting table, the grape bunches pass through a de-stemming machine to separate the berries from the stalk. The grapes fall into a chute that carries them down into the fermentation hall where a trolley is waiting to transport them on the final leg of their journey up a conveyor belt and into the vat. Jean-François explained how the sugar in the grapes will ferment over the coming days to transform the grape juice into wine.

 

Get involved in the grape harvest in Burgundy

 

The day ended with a final tasting session to taste the grape juice that we had harvested from our vineyard. The next chance we will get to taste it will be during one of the Vinification Experience Days at the start of next year.

 

Learn how to be a winemaker with the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

 

Many thanks to Domaine Chapelle for letting us take a sneak peek behind the scenes during the busy harvest time, and to all of the participants for their good cheer and hard work!

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Last of the de-budding in the Burgundy vineyard


You need good grapes to make good wine.  That's what the participants of the Wine Discovery Experience Day learnt last weekend at Domaine Chapelle.  Jean-François, the winemaker and owner of the winery, and his Technical Director, Yannick, welcomed us for the day to share their passion for their profession.

wine gift pack

During the Discovery Experience Days, we learn all about the key stages in working in the vineyard to get the best possible grapes come harvest time.  And the best way to learn is by having a go yourself!  So, after an introduction to the winery, its wines, and the Burgundy terroir, Jean-François led us out into the vineyard.

adopt a vine

We took a few minutes to find our adopted vines before Yannick explained all of the work that has been carried out in the vineyard since pruning.  We are now finishing the de-budding phase in the pinot noir vineyard plots, which involves removing any superfluous buds or shoots.  And we have just started to train the chardonnay vines; which involves ensuring that the shoots grow between the training wires and then clipping the wires together to help the vines support the weight of the foliage and fruit.

vineyard experience

Having learnt the theory from Jean-François and Yannick, we got stuck in and had a go ourselves.  A little hesitant at first in front of the vines as we didn't want to cause them any damage, but we soon got the hang of it.
A few hours later we were back at the winery, ready to taste some wine!  We tasted a Santenay white wine, before tasting a Burgundy red, a Santenay Clos des Cornières and a Santenay Premier Cru Les Gravières.

wine lover gifts

To finish the day, Yannick and Jean-François took us down into the fermentation hall and cellar, where they introduced us to the technical side of making and ageing wine, something that we will develop further during the Vinification Experience Days.
To sum up the day in the words of Jean-François: the work in the vineyard before the harvest is essential, because even a good winemaker finds it difficult to make a good wine with poor quality grapes.

personalised bottles of wine

A good winemaker is therefore a good farmer, and after their hard work and enthusiasm in the vineyard, our apprentice winemakers would wholeheartedly agree!  Many thanks to our participants for a very enjoyable weekend!

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Vinification and Ageing of wines in Burgundy


Last Saturday and Sunday we were at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay to learn more about the vinification and ageing of wines during the Vinification Experience Day.

 

Wine Course Domaine Chapelle Burgundy

 

Following an introduction to the winery and the Chapelle family, we started with a workshop to hone our senses in preparation for the different wine tasting sessions to come. With the help of some small sample bottles, we had to try and identify the aromas that can be found in wine, either naturally from the fruit and terroir, or those that are introduced during the ageing of the wine in oak barrels. It's not always very easy to do!

 

Wine course aromas tasting

We then worked on our palate to recognise the different feeling that sugary, salty, acidic and bitter flavours have on our tongue when we taste wines.

 

Wine tasting Domaine Chapelle Burgundy

After the workshops, we went into the cuverie and cellar to learn more about the fermentation of the wine after the harvest, and their subsequent ageing. We tasted some wines straight from both new and old barrels to learn firsthand the different impact that they have on the wine.

 

Winemakers meal Burgundy Domaine Chapelle

During lunchtime we tasted a range of wines from the winery before heading back down into the cuverie for a last exercise in blending wine. Even if Burgundy is a region of single grape varietals, the wines are sometimes blended if different parts of the same vineyard plot are harvested and vinified separately. At Domaine Chapelle, this is the case with the Clos des Cornières vineyard where the adopted vines of Gourmet Odyssey clients are located. There are three distinct areas, with three different ages of vines. We tasted each of the wines separately, and then had a go at trying different blends to try and find the perfect mix!

 

Wine blending Burgundy Chapelle

We finished the day with a visit to the Clos des Cornières vineyard to meet the adopted vines, and to take a few pictures for the "My Vine" photo competition.

 

Vine adoption Burgundy Domaine Chapelle

Many thanks to all the participants for their good humour and to Jean-François and Yvette for the passionate explanations!

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Harvest Experience Days at Domaine Chapelle


We spent three excellent days last weekend at Domaine Chapelle for the Harvest Experience days.

All week, the Gourmet Odyssey team anxiously monitored the weather forecast as Jean-Franois, the winemaker at Domaine Chapelle, was predicting rain for the weekend. In the end, the wet conditions didn't dampen the spirits, and we had a great group who were fully motivated to participate in the harvest. Those lucky enough to have chosen the Monday even saw some sunshine!

Wine Experience Gift in Burgundy, France 

Each morning we welcomed the adoptive owners of vines in the "Clos des Cornires" vineyard. After a coffee and a short introduction to the winery, we set off to the vineyard. With a few explanations from Jean-Franois and plenty of good humour, we set about harvesting the grapes.

Harvest Experience Gift in Burgundy, France 

We then followed the grapes to the reception hall to sort the grapes and track their journey into the vats.

Original wine gift for wine lovers. Get involved in the harvest in Burgundy 

Whilst some got stuck in around the sorting table, secateurs in hand, under the instruction of Yannick, the Technical Director, others watched the grapes climb the conveyor belt and fall into the vat. Jean-Franois talked us through the first stages of fermentation and how the grape juice will gradually transform into wine.

Wine course gift at the winery in Burgundy. Learn about the fermentation process 

After a busy morning, it was time to taste some of the estate's wines, accompanied by one of the local specialties, gougres, before sitting down to lunch in the harvesters' refectory. The conversation, food and wine flowed, and it was difficult to get going again afterwards!

Wine tasting gift in Burgundy. 

The days finished with a visit of the cellar, an impressive labyrinth of barrels and bottles.

Wine tour of the cellar in Burgundy. Original wine gift for wine enthusiasts 

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Wine Discovery Experience Day at Domaine Chapelle


Last Saturday, we spent the day with Yvette, Jean-François and Yannick at Domaine Chapelle in Santenay.  Under a shy sun, but nevertheless present, we had come to learn more about the work in the vineyard and how wine is made during the Wine Discovery Experience Day.

Over a cup of coffee and a few croissants, Jean-François enlightened us about the notion of Appellations and the importance that the different terroirs in Burgundy play, the roots from which date back to the monks in the nearby village of Citeaux! After an introduction to the winery, and the evolution of the wine making over the past few generations, we made the most of the sun to learn more about the geology and its impact on the wine.

Gift adopt your own vines in Burbungy

From the garden in front of the chateau, you have a splendid view of the surrounding hills, and Jean-François pointed out the vineyards that are classified as Premier Cru, Village or for general Burgundy wine. The differences can seem rather theoretical and abstract, but when you can see the different plots in front of you, all is much clearer! After some additional explanations on the principal grape varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, that are grown in Burgundy, we headed to the winery building, accompanied by Yannick, the winery's Technical Director.

Gift adopt your own vines in Burgundy with Gourmet Odyssey

We followed the route that the grapes and then the wine take from the time of harvest, through the fermentation and ageing stages in making wine. A little teaser for those who are coming back for the Harvest and Vinification Experience Days!

Gift make your own wine in France with Gourmet Odyssey

Following the explanations of how the reception hall functions, we turned our attention to the barrels. Where do they come from? What wood is used to make them? What work is done before the bottling takes place? ...

We then ventured outside for the aperitif, and started to taste some of the white wines produced by Domaine Chapelle, the Santenay Saint-Jean and the Meursault. During the meal, we continued the tasting with some of the reds, including the Santenay Clos des Cornières and an Aloxe Corton. Some fine wines to accompany the Burgundy specialities that we savoured during the meal.

Gift tasting wines from Burbungy France and adopt your own vines

We spent the afternoon in the vineyard, first to visit our plot of adopted vines. Pruned and the soil recently tilled, the Clos des Cornières vineyard saw some of us take up some unusual positions and grimaces for those who were tempted to try and win a magnum of wine in the photo competition!

Gift visit a vineyard in France and make your own wine

The neighbouring vineyard is planted with Chardonnay, and we crossed the road to take a look. Surprise! The vines were not pruned in the same way. Each grape varietal has its own specificities, and as the ethos at Domaine Chapelle is to concentrate on the work in the vineyard and then to let the wine express itself as naturally as possibly in the cellar, each vineyard plot is worked individually to maximise the potential of the coming harvest.

Yannick showed us how to tidy up the branches and attach them to the training wires. Even at this stage, we are working to control the number of grapes that each vine will produce, and to try and help the future grapes to reach maturity at the same time. We were then each given the chance to have a go ourselves!

Adopt your own vines and make your own wine with Gourmet Odyssey in Burbungy

Domaine Chapelle is organically certified, so we also took the time to discover what exactly that entails. What products are used? In what doses? What is the difference from conventional farming methods? Yannick answered our questions, and told us about some of the difficulties that they have had to overcome.

Back at the winery, the day finally drew to a close. We loaded the cars up with wine, and said our goodbyes, at least, until the next time!

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Adopt a Vine in France and Let Them Follow the Making of Their Own Wine !

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