Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

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William Kelley
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Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#1 Post by William Kelley » May 21st, 2020, 9:17 am

We talk a lot about how minute variations in geology, exposition and mesoclimate influence wine character in Burgundy, but I think we tend to talk too little about the influence of vine genetics. I'm planning to post more about this in the future, but I was just organizing some photos and found some pretty good illustrations of how extreme the differences can be within Pinot Noir in the Côte d'Or.

Here are two photos of really high quality Pinot Noir selections growing in the Côte de Nuits. Note the small berries and open cluster architecture. It seems as if the really good selections also tend to go through verasion in a much more rapid, homogeneous way. Selections such as this are both comparatively difficult to destem and much more favorable to whole cluster vinification than the lower-quality selections that we will come to next.

ImagePinot Fin in Mazis-Chambertin by WilliamGFKelley, on Flickr

ImagePinot Fin in Clos de la Roche by WilliamGFKelley, on Flickr

Whereas here is a photo I took in Volnay Santenots in 2017, showing a much more productive Pinot Noir selection, with fatter berries and less open clusters. Obviously compact clusters such as this will be more susceptible to disease (due to poor aeration) and the fatter berries will have a higher juice-to-solids ratio. Typically skins will be thinner, too.

ImagePinot Noir in Volnay Santenots by WilliamGFKelley, on Flickr

Now on the one hand, you can tell a lot about the ensuing wines from looking at the grapes. Clearly, wines from the high quality selections will be more concentrated, and all things being equal (which they rarely are) more deeply pigmented, with more dry extract. Equally, it's important to emphasize that intelligent winemakers are able to produce very high quality, delicious wines from the fatter-berried, more productive selections of Pinot Noir: witness Engel's Vosne-Romanée Les Brûlées, which was so-called "Pinot Droit". It requires adaptation, though. Clearly, the raw materials are not the same.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#2 Post by Sean S y d n e y » May 21st, 2020, 9:41 am

Little to add other than "keep it up" - this stuff is utterly fascinating. My introduction to Pinot Fin was via Arnoux-Lachaux and I was taken aback at how concentrated and dense it was without showing any signs of extraction or jamminess.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#3 Post by JasperMorris » May 21st, 2020, 10:57 am

William, I don't know for sure, but there was more than one plot in the Engel Brulees and I don't think it was all pinot droit. Certainly Engerer & team at Eugenie immediately declassified some but kept the rest. Would be interested to know more

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#4 Post by William Kelley » May 21st, 2020, 12:40 pm

JasperMorris wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 10:57 am
William, I don't know for sure, but there was more than one plot in the Engel Brulees and I don't think it was all pinot droit. Certainly Engerer & team at Eugenie immediately declassified some but kept the rest. Would be interested to know more
Question is, did the wine improve when they started declassifying the Pinot Droit?
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#5 Post by Josh Grossman » May 21st, 2020, 1:36 pm

Interesting inquiry. So much goes in to making great wine. I'm also wondering what the difference would be if that Volnay Santenots plot dropped about half of the fruit when it was still green and only kept the nicest bunches and if the vine age changes the cluster development. I know yield goes down on old vines--but don't know exactly why. Let us know when you start a Kickstarter to buy land in Burgundy to do this scientific research. I'll go in at the half a case a year membership to start. Today I just learned Pinot Fin existed and now I want to try it? Yesterday I bought more Cédric Bouchard. Thanks for what you do.

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#6 Post by Wes Barton » May 21st, 2020, 5:11 pm

Josh Grossman wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 1:36 pm
Interesting inquiry. So much goes in to making great wine. I'm also wondering what the difference would be if that Volnay Santenots plot dropped about half of the fruit when it was still green and only kept the nicest bunches and if the vine age changes the cluster development. I know yield goes down on old vines--but don't know exactly why. Let us know when you start a Kickstarter to buy land in Burgundy to do this scientific research. I'll go in at the half a case a year membership to start. Today I just learned Pinot Fin existed and now I want to try it? Yesterday I bought more Cédric Bouchard. Thanks for what you do.
I know cases where it hasn't, such as the 1850s vines at Deaver. Hélène Mingot showed me some techniques to avoid that. I think it mostly comes down to ignorant pruning techniques. If you prune so the fluids continue through their existing channel, yields remain the same. If you keep redirecting through woody tissue, that constricts the flow and reduces yield. (Of course there are reasons the latter path is the norm, but they are addressable.)

I've handled Pinot Noir from quite a few sites over the years. A friend recently started sourcing from an excellent site, where he's allotted equal parts of 4 clones. The 943 is just amazing! Tiny clusters, tiny berry, gorgeous aromatics and flavors, and great concentration. The first obvious thought handling that fruit, smelling during punch downs, tasting barrel samples, is wanting more. Get a bigger allocation, find another source, getting some more planted/grafted somewhere. Then in blending trials it's got a little too much in some ways, and is incomplete in others. The grower's proportions seem about right. Some clones can stand alone to make a great wine, others can play a crucial role in making a great wine.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#7 Post by Howard Cooper » May 21st, 2020, 5:17 pm

Do growers plant Pinot Droit anymore. I think of that as being planted by the parents and grandparents of current growers and not as much planted today (at least in better appellations) but could be very much wrong. If I am correct, does it make sense to rip out 30-50 year old vines that are Pinot Droit to plant new vines that are Pinot Fin. In other words, what is the relative importance of vine age vs. clone?
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#8 Post by Howard Cooper » May 21st, 2020, 5:19 pm

Josh Grossman wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 1:36 pm
Interesting inquiry. So much goes in to making great wine. I'm also wondering what the difference would be if that Volnay Santenots plot dropped about half of the fruit when it was still green and only kept the nicest bunches and if the vine age changes the cluster development. I know yield goes down on old vines--but don't know exactly why. Let us know when you start a Kickstarter to buy land in Burgundy to do this scientific research. I'll go in at the half a case a year membership to start. Today I just learned Pinot Fin existed and now I want to try it? Yesterday I bought more Cédric Bouchard. Thanks for what you do.
If you keep buying wine every time William posts, will you be able to afford the Kickstarter participation? William could become hazardous to our wealth. [cheers.gif] champagne.gif
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#9 Post by William Kelley » May 21st, 2020, 5:20 pm

Josh Grossman wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 1:36 pm
I'm also wondering what the difference would be if that Volnay Santenots plot dropped about half of the fruit when it was still green and only kept the nicest bunches and if the vine age changes the cluster development.
One problematic consequence of a green harvest could be even fatter, more inflated berries in the remaining clusters. Better, perhaps, to plant a cover crop and try to diminish vigor? I would take smaller berries over fewer clusters any day. But, not easy to know what to do when you are dealt a hand like that. And this is one of the problems in Burgundy: if the father or grandfather, back in the days when quantity was more interesting than quality, planted vine material like this in the regional and communal appellations, to say nothing of premiers crus, do you rip up and replant or simply carry on?
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#10 Post by William Kelley » May 21st, 2020, 5:26 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:17 pm
Do growers plant Pinot Droit anymore.
In California and Oregon, it is called "Pommard clone" pileon

I think there are absolutely still people planting clones (more so than selections) chosen for volume rather than quality these days. It would be nice to imagine otherwise, but that would be naive when one considers how many wines sell for quite decent prices on the basis of their appellation alone.

Equally, more and more of the top growers are working with high quality selections, and some "massale" selections have been cleaned up and propagated by nurseries. For example, Pépinières Hebinger in Alsace has a fine massale selection from the Clos des Epeneaux in Pommard in stock. It will be exciting to see the fruit of all this two decades from now.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#11 Post by Craig Williams » May 21st, 2020, 5:40 pm

William Kelley wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:26 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:17 pm
Do growers plant Pinot Droit anymore.
In California and Oregon, it is called "Pommard clone" pileon

I think there are absolutely still people planting clones (more so than selections) chosen for volume rather than quality these days. It would be nice to imagine otherwise, but that would be naive when one considers how many wines sell for quite decent prices on the basis of their appellation alone.

Equally, more and more of the top growers are working with high quality selections, and some "massale" selections have been cleaned up and propagated by nurseries. For example, Pépinières Hebinger in Alsace has a fine massale selection from the Clos des Epeneaux in Pommard in stock. It will be exciting to see the fruit of all this two decades from now.
There's a clone/selection known as "828" originally from Oregon, and now in CA, that is an upright Pinot. This is not the same clone as ENTAV 828. I don't think of the Pommard selection as upright... but others will surely comment.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#12 Post by Mattstolz » May 21st, 2020, 5:43 pm

William, thanks for posting on this. I think its an incredibly interesting topic that seems pretty difficult to discuss... especially in continuously massale planted vineyards. is it even possible to know all the pinot genetics in some of those vineyards?

Nicolas Meo was talking about how genetics is such a difference between Oregon and Burgundy. mostly in the fact that Oregon has pretty limited and clearly defined genetics and Burgundy is pretty varied and diverse

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#13 Post by William Kelley » May 21st, 2020, 5:50 pm

Craig Williams wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:40 pm
There's a clone/selection known as "828" originally from Oregon, and now in CA, that is an upright Pinot. This is not the same clone as ENTAV 828. I don't think of the Pommard selection as upright... but others will surely comment.
I was being a little provocative, because the clusters themselves look exactly the same in terms of fatter berries and more compact clusters, even if the shoots aren't necessarily upright (and I think that, in practice, the term is used quite loosely in Burgundy). But that would be true of a lot of vine material that has made it out to the USA, e.g.: https://fps.ucdavis.edu/fgrdetails.cfm?varietyid=1184

It would be very interesting if producers reading this would post their own photos of clusters of clonal Pinot Noir.
Last edited by William Kelley on May 21st, 2020, 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#14 Post by William Kelley » May 21st, 2020, 5:52 pm

Mattstolz wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:43 pm
William, thanks for posting on this. I think its an incredibly interesting topic that seems pretty difficult to discuss... especially in continuously massale planted vineyards. is it even possible to know all the pinot genetics in some of those vineyards?

Nicolas Meo was talking about how genetics is such a difference between Oregon and Burgundy. mostly in the fact that Oregon has pretty limited and clearly defined genetics and Burgundy is pretty varied and diverse
Indeed! But even if the answers aren't simple, I'm keen to draw attention to the importance of the topic. Sometims commentary on Burgundy's wines strikes me as analogous to people comparing Gala apples to Golden Delicious and, without any reference to the trees, attributing the differences to the bedrock.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#15 Post by Marcus Dean » May 21st, 2020, 6:26 pm

What part does root stock play in this William?, and could you cut back a Pinot Droit and graft another clone onto the existing root system.

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#16 Post by Craig Williams » May 21st, 2020, 6:54 pm

William Kelley wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:50 pm
Craig Williams wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:40 pm
There's a clone/selection known as "828" originally from Oregon, and now in CA, that is an upright Pinot. This is not the same clone as ENTAV 828. I don't think of the Pommard selection as upright... but others will surely comment.
I was being a little provocative, because the clusters themselves look exactly the same in terms of fatter berries and more compact clusters, even if the shoots aren't necessarily upright (and I think that, in practice, the term is used quite loosely in Burgundy). But that would be true of a lot of vine material that has made it out to the USA, e.g.: https://fps.ucdavis.edu/fgrdetails.cfm?varietyid=1184

It would be very interesting if producers reading this would post their own photos of clusters of clonal Pinot Noir.
For me, the droit selection/clone is distinctive in growth attributes; and is something I've noticed quite often in the vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin. While some do not consider it a qualitative choice, the upright selection here has compelling attributes in spite of its large cluster morphology. I don't have any pictures to post but perhaps later this season.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#17 Post by Josh Grossman » May 21st, 2020, 7:34 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:19 pm
Josh Grossman wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 1:36 pm
Interesting inquiry. So much goes in to making great wine. I'm also wondering what the difference would be if that Volnay Santenots plot dropped about half of the fruit when it was still green and only kept the nicest bunches and if the vine age changes the cluster development. I know yield goes down on old vines--but don't know exactly why. Let us know when you start a Kickstarter to buy land in Burgundy to do this scientific research. I'll go in at the half a case a year membership to start. Today I just learned Pinot Fin existed and now I want to try it? Yesterday I bought more Cédric Bouchard. Thanks for what you do.
If you keep buying wine every time William posts, will you be able to afford the Kickstarter participation? William could become hazardous to our wealth. [cheers.gif] champagne.gif
I still live by the old hackneyed maxim, "I spent most of my money on wine and women, and the rest was wasted." If William wanted to just pick me up extra bottles of whatever he was adding to his cellar, I'd do my best to make it work and am almost sure I'd be happy. Rather happy just living vicariously through William's and Fu's respective Instagrams though.

All joking aside, I admire what William does. Too often it seems that wine critics/reviewers practice a reinforcing hype loop that seems to make already exclusive wines more exclusive and stuffy. While there are many venerable large and/or iconic producers, it's in my nature to seek out the small vintners that, in a heuristic/Wendell Berry, 'Solving for Pattern' approach, are pushing boundaries and innovating, even if it's pushing against current trends; e.g. Jean-Pierre Boyer and Cédric Bouchard. In my opinion, more than a critic, it seems William is in the avant-garde of wine and then kindly shares that passion with us (even if the rest of the self titled avant-garde is chasing lactobacilli and brett filled orange wines).

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#18 Post by Dav1d S@wyer » May 21st, 2020, 7:57 pm

Would love to see Jim Anderson's thoughts on this topic.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#19 Post by Mattstolz » May 21st, 2020, 8:30 pm

William Kelley wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:52 pm
Mattstolz wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:43 pm
William, thanks for posting on this. I think its an incredibly interesting topic that seems pretty difficult to discuss... especially in continuously massale planted vineyards. is it even possible to know all the pinot genetics in some of those vineyards?

Nicolas Meo was talking about how genetics is such a difference between Oregon and Burgundy. mostly in the fact that Oregon has pretty limited and clearly defined genetics and Burgundy is pretty varied and diverse
Indeed! But even if the answers aren't simple, I'm keen to draw attention to the importance of the topic. Sometims commentary on Burgundy's wines strikes me as analogous to people comparing Gala apples to Golden Delicious and, without any reference to the trees, attributing the differences to the bedrock.
I would love to know more about some of the genetic differences across burgundy. this is such a cool topic!

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#20 Post by M. Meer » May 21st, 2020, 10:28 pm

Fun stuff. Tasting through Santa Barbara County left me pretty familiar with 115, 667, and 777 that I could tell if I was drinking something else like 828.

This was one of the helpful sites when I was reading up on clonal selection
http://www.princeofpinot.com/article/945/
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#21 Post by JasperMorris » May 21st, 2020, 11:09 pm

Marcus Dean wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 6:26 pm
What part does root stock play in this William?, and could you cut back a Pinot Droit and graft another clone onto the existing root system.
Yes you can, and indeed DRC have in Corton, while another well known grower is considering it for a recently acquired plot. But it only works if the vines are youngish, say up to 35 years old, otherwise the failure rate is likely to be too high

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#22 Post by Brian Gilp » May 22nd, 2020, 3:59 am

Like everything else, it’s hard to discuss vine genetics without regard for other factors. Before I planted a few Chardonnay vines for my wife, she asked a number of California growers/winemakers what to plant. Given the small number of vines I planted, A single clone was all that was feasible. Everyone she asked said clone 4 (Wente clone). I found out after planting my vines the Fred at Hermann Wiemer ripped out all the clone 4 as it just wasn’t performing. It’s too early to tell how it will fare for me in Maryland.

I also have some Mourvèdre that is the same clone but on different spacing and as expected there are differences in the grape clusters. The 3 x 3 vines have smaller cluster with smaller berries than the 5 x 6 vines. I don’t recall any significant difference in how tight or loose the bunches are so assume if any exists it is minor.

The picture from Volnay looks like it has a potassium deficiency. I wonder if this is intentional. In theory this should reduce vigor and yield.

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#23 Post by William Kelley » May 22nd, 2020, 4:33 am

M. Meer wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 10:28 pm
Fun stuff. Tasting through Santa Barbara County left me pretty familiar with 115, 667, and 777 that I could tell if I was drinking something else like 828.

This was one of the helpful sites when I was reading up on clonal selection
http://www.princeofpinot.com/article/945/
Yeah, when I used to review California wine I was quite alive to those differences, and it is more common for producers to tell you what you are tasting there than in Burgundy. Obviously, there is a lot of clonal Pinot Noir in Burgundy, too, but it is not foregrounded in the discourse in the way it is in California. In Burgundy, the conversation often focusses in on vine age.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#24 Post by William Kelley » May 22nd, 2020, 4:39 am

Brian Gilp wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:59 am
Everyone she asked said clone 4 (Wente clone).
It's even more complicated than that! There was a Wente selection, or family of selections, which came to Livermore from Burgundy and ended up at a variety of places including Stony Hill; and then a number of clonal selections derived from Wente material. If you want to take a deep dive into it this paper is very good on Chardonnay genetics in California: https://ucanr.edu/sites/intvit/files/24489.pdf especially p. 22 para 4.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#25 Post by William Kelley » May 22nd, 2020, 4:47 am

Dav1d S@wyer wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 7:57 pm
Would love to see Jim Anderson's thoughts on this topic.
Me too! And those of Kevin Harvey at Rhys, who has some very interesting vine genetics planted in his vineyards.

It is certainly interesting to pose the question how Burgundian selections of Pinot Noir (and there is plenty of Champenois, German and Swiss Pinot Noir in the USA, too) translate to California and Oregon. Firstly, is the highest quality material in Burgundy going to be the highest quality in CA or OR? And second, to what extent do the vines genetically adapt to where they are planted?
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#26 Post by William Kelley » May 22nd, 2020, 5:08 am

Josh Grossman wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 7:34 pm
it seems William is in the avant-garde of wine
Thanks for the kind words! Though I should warn you that my palate was recently described as "bourgeois" by a US importer. champagne.gif
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#27 Post by Dennis Borczon » May 22nd, 2020, 6:20 am

William Kelley wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:08 am
Josh Grossman wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 7:34 pm
it seems William is in the avant-garde of wine
Thanks for the kind words! Though I should warn you that my palate was recently described as "bourgeois" by a US importer. champagne.gif
Meaning you like what lots of people who understand wine tend to like? I thought that was your job. Maybe importers just bring in things a few esoteric odd consumers enjoy...

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#28 Post by Josh Grossman » May 22nd, 2020, 6:21 am

William Kelley wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:08 am
Josh Grossman wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 7:34 pm
it seems William is in the avant-garde of wine
Thanks for the kind words! Though I should warn you that my palate was recently described as "bourgeois" by a US importer. champagne.gif
Give that Pinot Fin to us Americans! We'll make it Round-up and 2,4-D ready and re-name it Pinot Freedom! I do now want to see William Kelley interview Andy Beckstoffer about best farming practices.

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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#29 Post by William Kelley » May 22nd, 2020, 7:25 am

Dennis Borczon wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 6:20 am
Meaning you like what lots of people who understand wine tend to like? I thought that was your job. Maybe importers just bring in things a few esoteric odd consumers enjoy...
Haha I think it was just intended to be pejorative, I haven't devoted too much mental energy to trying to unpack it.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#30 Post by Megan Joy » May 22nd, 2020, 9:26 am

William Kelley wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:47 am
It is certainly interesting to pose the question how Burgundian selections of Pinot Noir (and there is plenty of Champenois, German and Swiss Pinot Noir in the USA, too) translate to California and Oregon. Firstly, is the highest quality material in Burgundy going to be the highest quality in CA or OR? And second, to what extent do the vines genetically adapt to where they are planted?
In Oregon, where clonal material seems to be the bulk of the discussion, there really does not ever seem to be enough questioning of how the site and age affects the translation of the genetics. It is the opposite of your experience, the 2 year old Gala Apple tree is planted in a swamp and expected to perform as the 20 year old gnarled tree on the ridge of the hill. This is the common issue/complaint with an over-focus on clones, but even within a discussion of clones I also do not see anyone examining how rootstock affects cluster morphology and clonal expression. There were a number of rootstock studies done in the early 90s, and the initial results showed no difference, there is a block of Chardonnay at Temperance Hill though that was part of the trial. A few decades old now, there are clear and obvious differences in the cluster morphology (as distinct as your photos, or more so) in side by side rows with the same scion material and planting date, with the only difference being rootstock.... just one more factor in the mix.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#31 Post by R Roberts » May 22nd, 2020, 10:27 am

William Kelley wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:33 am
Yeah, when I used to review California wine I was quite alive to those differences, and it is more common for producers to tell you what you are tasting there than in Burgundy. Obviously, there is a lot of clonal Pinot Noir in Burgundy, too, but it is not foregrounded in the discourse in the way it is in California. In Burgundy, the conversation often focusses in on vine age.
Sell what you have? France having older vines maybe of unknown genetic material, whereas California has younger vines of known genetic material? Just a thought.

Somewhat related, I've always found it interesting consumers of California wine put so much emphasis on single vineyard wines, disparaging blends from multiple vineyards, yet accept (or expect?) wines can be improved with blends as long as the fruit is from the same vineyard. If different clones performed vastly better at different sites, I suspect a producer would typically lose money by blending them together to make a superior product.
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Wes Barton
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#32 Post by Wes Barton » May 22nd, 2020, 10:46 am

Brian Gilp wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:59 am
Like everything else, it’s hard to discuss vine genetics without regard for other factors. Before I planted a few Chardonnay vines for my wife, she asked a number of California growers/winemakers what to plant. Given the small number of vines I planted, A single clone was all that was feasible. Everyone she asked said clone 4 (Wente clone). I found out after planting my vines the Fred at Hermann Wiemer ripped out all the clone 4 as it just wasn’t performing. It’s too early to tell how it will fare for me in Maryland.

I also have some Mourvèdre that is the same clone but on different spacing and as expected there are differences in the grape clusters. The 3 x 3 vines have smaller cluster with smaller berries than the 5 x 6 vines. I don’t recall any significant difference in how tight or loose the bunches are so assume if any exists it is minor.

The picture from Volnay looks like it has a potassium deficiency. I wonder if this is intentional. In theory this should reduce vigor and yield.
A friend did a lot of research in deciding what clones to plant at his place in the Santa Cruz Mountains, including asking advice from many of the top winemakers and growers. One point a few people stressed was some clones that performed very well at some sites were substandard at others. The difference as far as they could tell was elevation. (Yes, there are certainly other relevant factors, but that was their general observation.) A clone that makes incredible wine at one great site may get the wrong levels of inputs from another great site and perform terribly.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#33 Post by Brady Daniels » May 22nd, 2020, 2:33 pm

Thanks William. A very interesting topic!

I love that you post so much here, in addition to whatever is behind the walled-garden. The enthusiasm you show here has to have a positive effect on subscriptions, even if that isn’t your goal.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#34 Post by M. Meer » May 26th, 2020, 9:10 am

R Roberts wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 10:27 am

Sell what you have? France having older vines maybe of unknown genetic material, whereas California has younger vines of known genetic material? Just a thought.
Speaking as a consumer, I think it helped in the early 2000s with the Dijon clones, while wineries figured out which ones were standalone and which were better suited for blending. For wine drinkers, it gave the added benefit of being able to find wines they liked in similar vein across different producers. In regards to Burgundy, if I liked Morey-Saint-Denis, for example, I would buy wines across the commune, as they share some characteristics as a whole.

Wine is a business of selling history as much as it is fermented grape juice. The disclosure of genetics in part bought the local industry some time until things were more established.

It would be interesting to see the diversity amongst different plots in a large vineyard like Clos de Vougeot or Corton.
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Re: Pinot Noir vine genetics in Burgundy: some photos

#35 Post by billnanson » May 27th, 2020, 11:32 pm

William Kelley wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 12:40 pm
Question is, did the wine improve when they started declassifying the Pinot Droit?
Avoiding dogma, always the best question to ask - or even answer :)
William Kelley wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:20 pm
One problematic consequence of a green harvest could be even fatter, more inflated berries in the remaining clusters. Better, perhaps, to plant a cover crop and try to diminish vigor? I would take smaller berries over fewer clusters any day. But, not easy to know what to do when you are dealt a hand like that.
And that's the crux. That's why avid 'not green harvesters' such as Benjamin Leroux and DRC have needed to resort to green harvesting in some areas in recent vintages - mainly starting in 2017 - and they are certainly not in a minority...
Burgundy Report - online since 2002...

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