The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
For the team at Domaine Thomson, it’s fair to say that April has been a truly Jekyll and Hyde month.
For us, the good Dr Jekyll was represented by a terrific vintage in autumnal Central Otago.
It’s great to have our fruit from vintage 2021 off the vines and Simon, Craig and the rest of vineyard team are now putting the vines to bed for the winter. Some organic composts and biodynamic treatments will hopefully see us off to a good start in the kiwi spring.
But then there is the case of the more troublesome Mr Hyde. This, for us, comes in the form of heavy frosts in France.
It’s too soon to say how severe the damage is but sadly, it’s not a pretty picture. Oddly, some of the worst affected vines appear to be further south, in normally warmer areas such as Cornas and Cote Rotie (see image below).
In our neck of the woods, Burgundy (la Bourgogne), the hammer blows of frost have been brutal and uneven. Chablis appears to have been hard hit. There, it appears temperatures fell as low as -7 degrees. From the image below, you’ll see that Chablis lies a little further to the north west of the Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune and Cote Chalonaise.
The Domaine Thomson French vines sit in this region, including Gevrey-Chambertin, Saint Aubin and Mercurey. We don’t yet know the extent of damage to our own vines in these areas and we must sit and wait. Our vineyard colleagues and friends Gerard Quivy and Armand Heitz (see https://domainethomsonwines.com/our-people/) are keeping us posted and we’ll keep clients and friends of Domaine Thomson fully up date as we learn more.
This month is a reminder that nature still rules. While the good Dr Jekyll has been with us in Central Otago, we hope that Mr Hyde will quickly be banished from Burgundy and that we’ll see a superb – though potentially smaller – vintage from our French fines in the European autumn. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the vignerons in France who have a tough month ahead in assessing vine damage.
Further frost reports to follow but in the meantime, the best thing we can all do (as always) is to drink well and keep happy!