Tuesday, 30 August 2011

It's fast and furious in the Midi ...

... and apparently in Bordeaux too!

We have been watching the Pinot Noir very closely over the weekend and noticed some slight ‘shanking’ in the vineyard. This is where the berry starts to lose berry weight and fall to the ground and at this exact moment it is perfect for harvesting. If not picked immediately the results could be disastrous with loss in juice volume, fruit flavour becoming over ripe and potential alcohol levels too high.

So with no time to waste, the harvesting machines were called on and we were soon in the vineyard harvesting the first block last night. This particular sloping vineyard and the vintage weather this year has led to the north, south, east and west ripening differently so the winemaking decisions must be adapted to each area harvested. I worked on the processing and presses with another New Zealander also called James thorough the night.

The colour from the west side of the vineyard was leaching colour from skins into juice so quickly that we made a quick decision to do some short skin maceration (the sign of perfect maturity) and pressed off for a Clairet-style cold ferment without the skins to get maximum red berry freshness and low tannin which will be a useful blending tool later on for palate suppleness.

Our James then called early morning from Bordeaux saying perfect maturity in the Sauvignon vineyards and forecasting rain in Entre Deux Mers! I left Maitena to survey the Pinot Noir and I was soon back on the road up to Bordeaux to give James a hand to bring the first juice of 2011 into the Chai before the rain.

Sorry no photo as blackberry was covered in grape juice!


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