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Domaine de l'Arlot: The 2018 Vintage

Date of Published: 31st March 2020
Words from Geraldine Godot, Technical Director, l'Arlot

After an encouraging 2017, an intriguing 2018 vintage awaits us. Good moods are contagious and Burgundy is doing wonderfully well. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are worthy representatives of the region and I hope they will appeal to you. 

THE CHANGING SEASONS: 

After a very rainy winter and early spring, bud break arrived fast with the return of fine weather in mid-April. Water reserves were significant and the high temperatures led to extremely rapid growth. This heralded early development throughout the year. 

Flowering took place very quickly, starting on May 28th and ending on June 2nd. However, it occurred during a rainy two-week period and these poor conditions caused some blossom drop in the Hautes Côtes de Nuits area. 

Hot, dry weather settled in and halted the advance of mildew. Rain was scarce after June 13th, but growth continued at a steady pace. 
Premeaux-Prissey was struck by two large hailstorms without precedent on 3rd and 15th of July, followed by a hail-free storm on 20th, bringing a total of 180 mm of rainfall. The vines were heavily impacted and dramatic mudflows left their mark on the village and its people. After each stormy period, we worked on foot to manually revive and protect the vineyard as much as possible. 

The season ended serenely, with a sunny August that allowed the grapes to reach full maturity. The harvest lasted from September 1st to 7th, in excellent weather conditions. 

Due to the hail, all the grapes were sorted on the vibrating table, even the whites, in order to eliminate any that were dry or damaged. Particular care was taken to optimize a wonderful harvest. 

THE GRAPE HARVEST:  

Exceptionally heavy rains in July prevented any symptoms of drought and withering on the grapes. 

We started the harvest on September 1st in Vosne-Romanée. The Chardonnay were picked early in the morning to benefit from cooler temperatures. 
The grapes were in an advanced stage of maturity, and sorting was highly meticulous. 

VINIFICATION AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 

Vinification was ideal. The Pinot Noir gradually released its colours and tannins, and offers indisputable structure. The Chardonnay are very aromatic, the juices under the press were bursting with fruit. 

The wines are now in barrels and we can expect a very fine vintage. For the moment, softness, roundness and structure are the operative words! 

After pressing the whites and reds respectively, we had a surprise: despite the hailstorms in July that affected the vines in Premeaux-Prissey, yields are almost identical to 2017!  

We therefore have both quantity and quality. The estate has produced a very satisfactory 29 hectolitres per hectare in 2018. 

NEWS ABOUT THE 2017 VINTAGE: 

The 2017 vintage continues to gain structure and to mature. The style of the reds has intensified: tannins, colour and texture have been revealed. The whites have been racked off into vats, ready to be bottled in December. This vintage has come into its own with the maturing process, gaining flair and elegance.