Friday, 23 July 2010

Just Like A Viognier

Woke up to the second day of rain here in Castillon but it’s needed right now as there is a tiny hint of water stress starting to show in the leaves of the vineyards.

Anyhow I am off down to the Midi today to Narbonne to prepare another new wine the Les Anges de Malassan. This is the 100% Viognier I made from the incredible 2009 vintage and for me definitely the star grape of the 09' Midi vintage.

It was raining from the first and quite a cold 16ºC all the way down until I passed Carcassonne which I call the ‘Gateway to the Midi’. Once through the door it’s a different world; it’s like going into Narnia! On the other side it was bright sunshine and a very warm 27ºC and I was dying there of thirst! I made my way to the small bottling plant in Sallèles-d'Aude a small village north of Narbonne which is split in two by the Canal du Midi.

The wine I transported here a couple of weeks ago has been carefully guarded by Jerome the cellar master who's been waiting for my final instructions for the bottling. I spent a good couple of hours tasting and briefing Jerome with what we winemakers call the 'final polishing' and bottling procedures.

It’s a very important time and all the hard work since last September harvest now hangs on this! The wine just tastes like a Viognier and just tastes like the terroir - but also tastes so good now! I have to now make sure the wine has the correct sulphur levels, CO2 levels for freshness, temperature, turbidity, balance and most importantly the actual physical movement of the wine where avoiding air contact is vital during the bottling.

So many wines are ruined at this stage due to oxidation, but with careful preparation I will perfectly preserve the wine until it that bottle is opened and fills the customer’s glass so they too can witness first hand what I have since last September.

After a long day it’s back to my hotel in town and a light bite to eat, happy that we are ready to go go go with the bottling first thing tomorrow!


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