Friday, 28 August 2009

New Toys!

Brand new stainless steel ferment vats arrived this morning and to a winemaker, it's like getting a new ferrarri!

The vats have all the bells and whistles - plenty of things for me to play with. Only one problem though, they don’t fit through the door! Luckily Jean-marie, who has worked for Lejeune vat makers for 35 years, is on hand to guide them into place using a crane and a special forklift.


Everybody’s here!

The harvest buzz is in full swing with everybody here at the moment. Tony, Barbera, Mora, Ben, Henry, Kaye, Alfie the dog, Jean-marc, Luca (Jean-marc’s son) Libby, Chris, Mike, Aussie Lakey, even Eddie the Theale shop manager appeared! And what better than to catch up over a cold beer at the new bar restaurant round the corner from La Clariere, in the village of St Genes.


Thursday, 27 August 2009

No sooner has the Chai been emptied, the new barrels arrive.

The first to arrive are from good old Marc Le Grand, swiftly followed by world famous coopers Taransaud. I quickly unwrap the barrels to get a glimpse of that clean, white oak. I get my nose into the barrel for a draught of Jamaican ginger cake toasty oak … I can’t wait to fill them with new wine!


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The word on the grapevine is that the 2009 harvest is approximately 10 days in advance

Next week, the first Chardonnay from the Midi will be picked. Right on cue this morning was one my favourite feelings - which winemakers get only once a year - the first fresh, crisp morning with the mist rising up from the warm river. Harvest really is not far away!


Bottling, Bottling, Bottling!

After the noise of clinking bottles being driven into my brain all week, it is a great feeling to finally see the wines, as we winemakers say, ‘safely put to bed!’ Last Friday began with the first bottling, the new Syrah de Folie 2008, followed by the Le Prestige Cotes du Rhone 2007, Hermitage 2007, Pauillac 2007, St. Estephe 2007 and lastly, the Cahors 2007.

The whole week was capped superbly with Tony and Barbara’s paella party and they very kindly invited my family who are visiting this week to join us.

The Chai is now virtually empty apart from a few secret projects tucked away amongst the barrel stacks. Vintage preparation is in full swing with winemaker John Lakey arriving and new barrels being delivered.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Back to work and straight into the vineyard

It is now the period in the growing season called ‘Veraison’ which is the transition from berry growth to berry ripening.

It is a very important time as many other changes in the berry development also occur at this point. The fruit acidity decreases, sugars are accumulated and the volume of water entering the berry is significantly reduced causing the berry to ripen and change from being acidic to sweet, with fruity aromas. Fingers crossed for calm weather and not too much heat or rain!