Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Secret Is Out!

Jean-Marc’s (I have to admit) original idea finally became a reality yesterday when our long awaited ‘La Part Du Boucher’ was officially blended.

Both Jean-Marc and I have over the last couple of years been holding back a couple of the best barrels (without telling anyone!) from each of the Chai red wines and to age them longer, with the vision to eventually blend different batches together. The different barrels of the blend have all been declassified from their original appellation to table wine, allowing us to blend the ultimate wine!

‘La Part Du Boucher’ is the term used to describe when a French butcher cuts the best pieces of meat off first to keep for himself and we have done the same with the wine. Fortunately for our Chai customers we have bitten off more than we can chew and the wine will now be up for grabs!

Yesterday’s racking was quite challenging and completely unorthodox as the barrels to make the La Part du Boucher are hidden all over the Chai! Petit Denis and I were up and down the barrel scaffold and in and out of the barrel stacks, racking out 1 barrel here and another over there all day.

Petit Denis has a saying that when you work in a couple in the cellar like this one of you is either the grenouille (frog) or the écureuil (squirrel), because one person will have to do all the climbing whilst the other stays down on the cellar floor soaking wet! I was the grenouille but I just wonder who will get prime place on the label!

In the evening, the egg white fining trials I set up yesterday were ready to taste. Egg white is used on red wines in tiny doses normally around 1-4 eggs per barrel to soften and remove excess tannins. However, in order to get the perfect dose winemakers always conduct fining trials consisting of a control wine and then the fining agent (in this case egg white) added to small bottles – at doses ranging from the minimum up to the maximum.

The egg white is then left to settle out (as it would in the barrel) overnight and the following day, with a lot of patience and concentration, each sample is carefully tasted and the best wine chosen. It’s a good job we have a long tasting bench in the office!


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