Petrichor (n) the pleasant, earthy smell after rain.
& just like that, September has passed. With one big rain storm, we have welcomed in a new season as the vineyards turn, the temperatures chill down, and the winds sweep in from the Swiss mountains to the East. Living in a place surrounded by vineyards, you can truly see the change of the season by the colors of the leaves, and it have only just begun. The faint changes are everywhere – from greens to golds, golds to oranges, and oranges to reds. The temperatures have dropped, leading to chilly mornings and evenings as I’ve been bundling up each day for the cellar.
Currently, we have every fermentation pressed! This means no more punch downs and pump overs, we have removed all the wine from the skins and seeds and are working just with the wine, heating up the tanks to activate the yeast to consume any of the left over sugars.
For the first time at Briante, we are pressing fermented grapes from the Amphorae. We acquired a small scale basket press for the job and it worked like a charm.
Since my days have continued to be spent in the cellar, my free time in the evenings have been spent strolling through the local vineyards at golden hour – with Inox’s company of course.
I had my first weekend off – it was time to explore! I purchased a one way ticket up to Dijon to visit a friend, Clemence, who I had met the previous vintage when she interned in California. I boarding the train Saturday morning at 9am in the next neighboring village, Belleville. The train traveled north, through Macon, up through Beaune and landed in Dijon a quick hour later. The Dijon train station is quiet large, larger than the station I departed from, and I weaved through the tunnels, up a flight of stairs, and miraculously ran into Clemence as we were passing through the entrance at the same time. I had arrived and was grateful to see a familiar face! This was my first excursion by myself outside of Briante. Clemente and I drove back to her house, catching up on the lost year between seeing each other. In the evening we took the small train from her house into the center of Dijon. We jumped off at the park center. After wandering through and around the park, we made our way to an art museum where we slipped in for the last 20 minutes before closing. From there we made our way to a charming intersection between the theater and museum and a street of restaurants and shops and found a small table at a place called Trinadad.
The feeling of being in Dijon – walking through the cobblestone streets, seeing the liveliness of the city and people, with the colorful tiled roofs, and church steeples, it was an overwhelming feeling of finally being in France. I have made my home at Briante for the past few weeks, spending the majority of my time on the Estate with the focus on work. To be out, with Clemence, sitting at the little wooden table nestled up against the stone wall of the theater, people watching at golden hour, made it very surreal. It was a surge of energy and happiness and relief and of everything that I have dreamed about visiting these places. Reality finally had hit me that I had arrived in this beautiful place, I was here, and I have been here all along!
Clemence and I ordered two Kirs, a classic drink of white wine with a splash of cassis (red current). We bundled up in our scarves, retold stories of our times in California, triggering an impulse order of a round of Mojitos, the best decision of the day.
As the evening was cooling down, we strolled past the city hall, fountains dancing in the golden hour light and wandered our way through the beautiful narrow streets. We eventually hopped over several blocks to a small Irish pub to watch the France rugby game with friends.
The next morning, we made a big lunch with all the friends who joined us for the rugby game before. Classic soup from Beaune and pastry wrapped chicken with sweet potato, parsnip mashed potatoes. We finished off lunch with some Epoisses de Bourgogne with a fresh baguette. We left for the train station, this time to Beaune. Clemence and I drove through the back roads of Burgundy, windows down, weaving through the french countryside and the charming small towns. We made two stops, the first at Clos de Vougot and the second at the site of the Romanee Cotie vineyard block.
Much of this past week has been spent again in the cellar, vineyard and orchard. We have been harvesting the quince trees that line one of the vineyard blocks, and guess who tagged along…
Currently, I have been planning lots of plans. Plans on plans. Travel plans, plans to see cities, and old friends, and old friends in old cities. There is lots of exciting things to come. Tomorrow, we leave for Alsace.