Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Rains Came Tumbling Down!

The day started bright and sunny but by 10am the most incredibly dark rain cloud had appeared down river towards Bordeaux. Once again the Chai was plunged into another glorious setting with bright sunshine up river in the east, a giant rainbow to the north and the ever closer black clouds to the west!

The dark clouds finally arrived at the Chai after meandering all the way up river from Bordeaux and the heavens opened. The Dordogne River seemed to fill up like a running bath but even when it rains here you don’t mind because it’s so spectacular whatever the weather!

Busy afternoon today as I am working on the final 2009 Grand Chai Bordeaux white and there are a lot of elements I can use to achieve the perfect balanced wine. I have many individual Sauvignon Blancs in the Chai, all originating from the diverse Entre Deux Mers region including Sauveterre in the south east, St Radegonde in the northern reaches and La Sauve in the south west.

During harvest each of these wines were divided up further into small batches and made differently with some in barrels and other parts in stainless steel. The barrels used range from 6 years old to brand new, for less or more oak flavour. Each batch has a varying amount of sediment and frequency of stirring to increase – or purposely avoid increasing – the body of the wine.

The same goes for the batches made in the stainless steel vats. There were varied amounts of sediment, ranges of fermentation temperatures, different yeasts … the list goes on! But the exciting thing is when the winemakers can at long last get a sample of all these different batches from the same wine, on the same table for the first time since they started together in the vineyard way back in September 2009 and blend away!


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