Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Finally arrived in Carcassonne late last night after battling through the rains of Toulouse

I soon felt at home as I was welcomed by the magnificently illuminated Cite de Carcassonne and a nice glass of spicy 2007 AOC Corbieres from Domaine Ledogar. Carignan is such a lovely wine when done well and I especially advise you to try some wines from this area.

I had a meeting first thing at Domaine Lalande with Andree Ferrandiz to re-taste some exciting new blends that we have been working on. My mate and the crazy domaine winemaker Richard “Aussie” Osborne was also supposed to be with us but couldn't make it because his car got stolen this morning along with his wallet, passport, house keys and wine samples. He said he only left the car for 2 minutes to buy a baguette – we later found out that he actually left the car with the door open and still running outside the Boulangerie!

After a quick check in the winery and a bonjour to all the cellar guys we got on with the tasting.

One of the wines included is a very exciting Marsanne/Sauvignon Blanc blend. I just love the Midi – so much to play with … it’s winemaker’s heaven! Look out also for our new Viognier as the 2009's are the best I have seen in my ten years in this region. Viognier is a difficult grape, it never does what you try to tell it to and certainly doesn't tell you what it wants to do!

The problem with Viognier is that the bunches – and even the individual berries in the bunch – tend to ripen erratically resulting in a mix of pea-hard berries and perfectly ripe ones. Therefore harvesting control is essential otherwise those unripe grapes will ruin the rest.

These strict harvesting practices are only generally carried out by the expensive Domaines but 2009 was so perfect that the Viognier ripened evenly. So one of my top tips for 2009 is certainly Viognier from the Midi!

Tasting and blending at Limoux this afternoon and then onto Maury tonight where I am having dinner with my great friend Daniel Laffitte of Mas Soulanes. He’s the main man when it comes to vintage Maury Vin Doux!


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