Tasting in the grand surroundings of the dining room of the Chanson townhouse, Vincent Avenil told us they started the harvest on 6th September and finished on the 27th. It was an early vintage because flowering took place from 2nd June, two weeks before the norm. Summer was warm with some welcome rain, then conditions for the harvest were good and work on the sorting table wasn’t really needed. Finally after many years of climatic disasters they had a normal crop!
It is already a good few years since Bollinger took over Chanson Père et Fils in 1999 from the Marion family and rejuvenated one of Beaune’s most famous names. Established in 1750, part of their cellars still occupies one of the round defensive bastions that link Beaune's town walls. Vincent Avenel, managing director, openly admits that any of the big houses such as Chanson sat on their laurels in the 1990s on the back of easy sales and it was the rise of the smaller domaines that provided the wake-up call to get the best out of their vineyards. And what a vineyard holding it is with 45 ha of premier and grand cru vines including 25 ha of prime vineyards in the Beaune appellation. Their own harvesting of further vineyards under rental agreements almost doubles production. Jean-Pierre Confuron is now full-time technical director, and being himself from a smaller family estate in Nuits-St-Georges, has brought with him the necessary rigour of hard pruning, organic methods (whenever feasible) and the separate vinification of each individual plot. The resulting wines are consistently fine expressions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.