Thursday, 26 August 2010

After a long drive and lots of summer holiday traffic jams, I arrived in Maury late afternoon

As I entered the top end of the l'Agly valley, the hail damage in Saint Paul de Fenouillet was startlingly obvious. The vines were shredded and the shock had evidently stunted the vine growth.

On the straggly bunches that remained, the force of the hail left its mark with a split on the each berry. Hopefully this will heal and as long as there is no rain (highly unlikely in this climate), the berry will not swell and split open.

The damage has been officially estimated as 80% loss which is very bad news indeed. I drove up the back way to Lesquerde – another Cotes Du Roussillon Villages – where the losses have been declared up to 100% in certain vineyards! The news in Maury was significantly better and on the drive down to the village the vineyards looked in good shape.

I stopped at the Cave Co-op where yields are down due to the low rainfall but means the XV du President will be even more concentrated this year. I then met JC and had a long and hot tour of the Vent de Folie vineyards, all of which look great and only one northern hectare out of the 10ha will not be featuring in the 2010 blend due to hail.

The Tramontane north wind was blowing hard and apparently has been for 3 weeks so no spraying has been done. However the early hours of tomorrow is forecasted to give the grape growers a 4 hour ‘no wind’ window chance to get their vineyards protected.

JC kindly invited me to stay at his little beach apartment on the French Catalonian coast where we cooked up some monkfish cheeks and gambas on the planxa, absolutely delicious accompanied with beef tomatoes from pappy’s garden in Maury and a cold organic red Cotes du Ventoux!

The tour continues tomorrow………


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