Back to all articles
  • Guest contributor
Written by
  • Guest contributor
5 Jun 2014

Yohan Castaing sends this news round-up.

May is an extremely important month in France. Not just for the huge number of days off, but for the flowering in the vineyards. In Bordeaux, the Loire, Burgundy and Champagne, the world of wine scrutinises the weather with concern and hope. This crucial period was well described in Bordeaux 2014 - flowering underway by Gavin Quinney of Château Bauduc.

May is the time of meditation and contemplation. It is the beginning of spring, with sunshine and flowers in the garden. It is a perfect time to discuss vineyards.

Let's go to Burgundy for our first trip. Burgundy is a land of tradition, of small properties, of paysans. No one likes change. For this reason, sometimes, some news remains unnoticed.

In Comte Armand, Benjamin Leroux, the talented winemaker pictured above at a London tasting in 2009, decided to continue the story of his business. Jancis has reported on the success of Pascal Marchand, a former winemaker of Comte Armand, and Benjamin has the same vision and wants to follow in his footsteps. Leroux is developing his own small négociant business in Burgundy with Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune wines and a tiny holding of 3.5 hectares in Meursault premier cru Genevrières and in Bâtard-Montrachet. Leroux, 39, was the architect of a deep transformation at Comte Armand through organic certification and biodynamic farming. Comte Armand (a lawyer based in Paris) hired Paul Zinetti, 32, from Beaune, who knows the domaine very well. The goal of this young winemaker is apparently to gain the grand cru classification for the Epeneaux climat.

As reported here, Burgundy was removed from the UNESCO shortlist by the French government. However, the region decided to try one more time and it has the support of such iconic producers as Aubert de Villaine of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Actors, authors, journalists and many other anonymous supporters created a giant puzzle. This artwork is designed to define the enthusiasm of Burgundians for it to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status.

In the Châtillonnais region, some plots suffered frost damage. During the night of 3/4 May, temperatures dropped to -2 °C, causing some damage in the vineyard. With two difficult vintages and hail storms in 2012 and 2013, some vineyards will find it difficult to survive another tragedy.