On Monday we headed off to Sancerre and Pouilly to catch up on the harvest there. On the way we dropped in on Chantal Wilk and Jean Tatin of Domaine des Ballandors in Quincy. Jean was delighted with the harvest and certainly walking through the vineyards, watching the picking machine make its way up and down the rows, the grapes looked perfect. Chantal and Jean started picking on Friday 26th September and they expect to finish at the end of this week.
“It’s like 2006, which was a very good year,” enthused Jean, “The Sauvignon is coming in between 13%-14% similar to 2006, which had a level of ripeness that hadn’t been seen in Quincy since 1959! It was September, which has made the difference. Even though the temperatures have not been high during the good spell of weather it’s the wind from the north that has concentrated the sugars and acidity.”
He was as enthusiastic about 2008 as Jean Tatin. “I’m very happy with 2008,” he said. “We started picking last Thursday.” We tasted 2008 juice from several tanks, starting with the Petit Bourgeois – their vin de pays made from juice they buy in from producers in the Cher Valley, who have to operate under strict quality controls but who are paid well over the going rate. The juice is impressively good – pure and with considerable richness. It’s the same with the rest of the juice we taste. “We picked some of the Pinot on Saturday – between 12.55% and 12.8%. We are between a quarter and a third of the way through the harvest.”
That evening we had dinner with Jean-Marie in the new restaurant at La Côte des Monts Damnés, which has been enlarged to include a 12-room hotel and bistro. It is run by Jean-Marc and Karine Bourgeois, Jean-Marie’s son and daughter in law. We also stayed there overnight in a very comfortable room. The hotel and restaurant are definitely recommended.