Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The fabulous weather continues here in Bordeaux and everybody is busy picking

Even Mr Dan Hartley, our accountant, was in the thick of the action this morning carrying the 'hotte' (a grape hod) for Henry's picking team!

I will have to miss out on another 5 course harvest lunch as I am needed down in the Roussillon to re-taste all the red ferments. The sunny weather stayed put during the drive south but became steadily hotter and hotter until I arrived in Perpignan in 33 degree heat - not bad for the end of September!

Today I am mainly assessing the levels of tannin that has already been extracted into the partially fermented wine from the skins. The extraction is controlled by the length and frequency of the 'remontages'. Remontage is when the wine from the bottom of the vat is pumped back over the top of the vat, onto the floating skins that have been lifted to the surface by to bubbles from the ferment.

At this stage there is still a lot of residual sugar and this masks the tannins, making them almost invisible to the palate so the tasting can be tricky. However a good, experienced winemaker should be able to see behind the sugar. The winemakers judgement must be perfect or once the sugar is no longer there, the tannins will stick out a mile and the wine will be hugely out of balance.

Once all the cellar rats know the next work programme I aim to leave for Bordeaux at midday tomorrow.


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