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Thus the wines can better express the qualities and particularities of their terroirs. The soils in Puligny-Montrachet are calcareous clay with different percentages of clay and limestone, according to the locations. The soil also includes trace elements: traces of iron, magnesium, boron that assure nourishment to the roots that make a difference to each vine.
In the cellars, the same philosophy of respect presides over the entire vinification process and follows the purest Burgundian tradition: long and natural fermentations in oak barrels in the first year and in stainless steel the second winter. Fermentations are solely from indigenous yeasts. A light bâtonnage (stirring of the lees) is practiced between the end of alcoholic fermentation and beginning of malolactic fermentation. Bottling takes place in the springtime of the second year.
Vintage 2004 / Autumn 2003 was mild, while January was very damp.
February had mixed temperatures, but was sunny and dry (a record since 1945).
Spring started on March 14 with very warm, dry weather (22-24° around the 17th), giving rise to fears of a second consecutive scorching hot summer. Return to normal at end-March. The vines resumed their usual growth at the beginning of April. A cool, damp spell followed.
In mid-April, growth in vegetation was two weeks behind that of 2003 (a very early year) and a few days behind that of normal years.
Vegetal development was slow at end-April and the beginning of May, with cool temperatures - especially at night - but with no frost.
Warm weather returned around mid-May, setting off an explosion in vegetal growth. At end-May growth was still behind that of 2003, but was advanced compared with 2001-2002.
The first flowers were observed on June 8. In Puligny flowering peaked on June 15, ending around June 20-22. The grape bunches grew quickly after a very good fruit set. July was very cool, especially at night. The start of the véraison (grape colour change) was observed at end-July (a normal date). The month of August was very rainy for 20 days. Fortunately, September was beautifully dry and sunny, perfectly fulfilling its mandate as the month dedicated to quality in Burgundy 's wines. Ripening continued in regular fashion. Chardonnay ripened more slowly than Pinot Noir, requiring a few extra days before being harvested.
Harvesting took place in Puligny from September 25 to October 3. It was a very ripe, abundant harvest with an excellent sugar/acidity balance.