By Ryan Lim
on Oct 13, 2023
in Harvest Reports

Beaujolais Harvest Report 2023

As we embarked upon the year, we observed the continuation of the dry trend that had settled in during the autumn of 2022. Except for the southern Beaujolais, which received a considerable soaking in May, the Beaujolais crus experienced relatively little rain in the spring, and cooler conditions persisted until July.

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Mildew crept in, followed by heavy rainfall in July, and then came the hailstorms on the 9th and 11th of July, wreaking havoc in Fleurie and Morgon. Moulin-à-Vent and Chénas also felt the sting, but it was Fleurie and Morgon that bore the brunt of nature’s fury. If it hadn’t been for that July hail, we were on track for one of the most bountiful harvests in Beaujolais in recent years. Yann Bertrand suffered a devastating blow, losing more than 60% of his overall harvest, while Raphael Saint Cyr, in his Morgon parcel, took a staggering hit, losing close to 90% of his grapes. Bonnet-Cotton and Elisa Guérin, who were spared from the hail, enjoyed generous yields.

The weather remained relatively cool until around the 15th of August, when a heatwave descended just as the harvest was beginning, causing all the grapes to ripen simultaneously and setting the tempo for the region. Yann Bertrand and Paul-Henri Thillardon were among the first to start harvesting around August 30th. For most, the harvest extended over a period of 10 to 14 days.

Now, as we endeavor to categorize this enigmatic vintage, we find ourselves grappling for comparisons. If we could simply label 2021 as ‘wet and cool,’ and 2022 as ‘dry and hot,’ 2023 defies any such easy classifications. It was a vintage marked by its unpredictability, and as Jean-Louis Dutraive aptly put it, a vintage that danced to its own tune, keeping winemakers on their toes.

Take a look at below for the latest updates from all of PWC Beaujolais producers. As for favorite harvest dishes, we’ve chosen to keep them in French, as translating them into English equivalents simply wouldn’t do them justice. 

Saint Cyr : September 4th to September 20th 

News: Raphael used different colored baskets for picking to pre-sort hail and sun-damaged grapes. He also bottled the longer-aged Galoche Blanc from an old Alsatian foudre. As of now, all Saint Cyr wines will be produced without added sulfites, with the exception of Galoche Rouge and Rosé. 

Favorite Harvest Dish? Quenelle au jambon et crème fraîche 

Elisa Guerin : September 7th to September 14th 

News: The domaine now has a new cold room to cool off the grapes before starting a full carbonic maceration process. 

Favorite Harvest Dish? Hâchis Parmentier with the remaining of Pot au Feu from the night before 

Yann Bertrand : August 30th to September 7th 

News: An entirely new chai in Morgon ! One significant change is that Yann now has thermoregulated stainless steel tanks, as opposed to the older chai’s 80-hectoliter concrete tanks. 

Heartbroken by Yann’s devastating hail loss, Thibault Pfifferling assisted Yann in sourcing grapes from Tavel. During my visit, I found Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah from three distinct terroirs all pressed together after 9 days of carbonic maceration. 

Favorite Harvest Dish? Braisé de carotte 

Bonnet-Cotton : September 4th to September 14th 

News: In 2022, Bonnet-Cotton acquired a hectare of Muscaris, Souvignier Gris and Voltis, which has been certified organic for over 30 years. Their new cuvée, the Piscine Olympique, which blends Gamay with hybrids, is now bottled and available. The 2022 vintage consists of 50% Muscaris and 50% Gamay. Souvignier Gris has been added to the blend for the 2023 vintage. 

Favorite Harvest Dish? Carbonade Flamande 

Thibault Charnay : September 7th to September 20th 

News: A new chai of his own! Out growing his title as the ‘Gamay provider,’ selling grapes to Saint Cyr, Justin Dutraive, Nicolas Jacob, Jules Métras, and others, Thibault welcomed his grapes to his own chai this year. In addition to continuing with his Beaujolais Rouge, Thibault is eager to vinify more cuvées in his new chai. 

Favorite Harvest Dish?  Gâteau de foies de volaille 

Domaine de la Grand’Cour : September 1st – September 12th 

News: Ophélie has been overseeing the winery since 2020, and after spending a year in New Zealand, the youngest of the Dutraives, Lucas, officially joined Ophélie at the domaine. Going forward, Ophélie and Lucas will be the custodians of Domaine de la Grand’Cour, while Justin Dutraive will continue to craft his independent wines. All four Dutraives—Ophélie, Justin, Lucas, and Jean-Louis—are part of ‘Famille Dutraive’ wines. 

Additionally, they have welcomed new equipment, including a press, a sorting table, and 600L barrels. 

Favorite Harvest Dish? Pot au Feu 

Justin Dutraive : September 1st – September 12th 

News: A new chai in Régnié! Along with a brand new location independent from his family, Justin also acquired 1.4 hectares of Régnié ‘Les Perrats’ in 2023. 

Aude, Charles, et Paul-Henri Thillardon  : September 1st – September 11th 

News: Paul-Henri welcomed his son Georges in July of this year. 

Favorite Harvest Dish? Salade de Betterave cru, cold courgette soup  

By Ryan Lim (Edited by Vicki Denig)