I spent the morning of July 11th, 2007 in Volnay with Jean-Pierre Charlot, winemaker of Domaine Joseph Voillot, tasting through his line-up of 2006s. Jean-Pierre was siphoning his Volnay Champans from a barrel when a vineyard worker burst through the door. The man stretched his right hand forward and displayed a mangled leaf. Jean-Pierre’s sunny demeanor suddenly turned gloomy and an intense conversation ensued between them. Quickly, we piled into a van and zipped down towards the vineyards. Jean-Pierre and the worker examined several rows of vines that had been affected by some type of rot. Afterward, we returned to the domaine and resumed our tasting. The mood quickly shifted back to good hearted fun as we tasted, but, clearly, Jean-Pierre was concerned about the current vintage. Many visitors who passed through the region that summer heard nervous growers speak about the difficult conditions and the word began to spread that 2007 could be a disaster. Luckily for everyone involved that did not turn out to be the case.
The 2007 growing season was one that caused much stress among the growers. The summer was wet and there was a constant threat of mildew and rot. In addition to the wet conditions, hail pounded Charmes-Chambertin and Chablis. Careful sorting would prove crucial to eliminate any unhealthy berries, and most high quality estates saw a reduced crop. (up to 25% less than 2006). A welcomed sight arrived at the end of August when the sun began to shine and there was hope that the vinage would be salvaged. Several domaines in the Nuits started to pick at the end of August, but others took the risk and waited for the fruit to achieve greater ripeness. The producers that delayed picking were rewarded with a beautiful September. Reports started to surface during the summer of 2008 that the 2007 vintage was of good quality. Many journalists, expecting the worst, indeed wrote positive reports on the wines they tasted from barrel. The Cote de Nuits turned out to be stronger than the Cote de Beaune for vin rouge, but the whites hold the overall edge for the vintage. Most producers in the Cote de Beaune who waited to pick their Chardonnay grapes consider 2007 superior to 2006. The end result is a small yielding, high quality vintage for both reds and whites. The reds, with their soft tannins and ripe fruit, will be very enjoyable in their youth, but the mineral, high acid, whites will not peak for a numbers of years. 2007, once feared to be a disaster, turned out to be a very good vintage.