We've moved our vineyard and wine diary to this site: Le Couvent Wine BlogWhy not bookmark it?
We're in the process of becoming registered as private winemakers (cave particuliere) which, amongst a ton of other things, involves a trip to the Customs Office. The chap who deals with us is a jolly bully and sends us away with homework on a regular basis. The most recent task was to measure every parcel of land, noting each grape variety to see how they compare with his records. They have us down as having three varieties in two large plots, where, in fact, we have six varieties [...]
Such excitement today when we arrived at the vineyard in glorious sunshine and being told that we were to be split into two teams and each gang would build a dry stone seat in different areas to fully appreciate the views. Our team's seat was to be positioned looking over a natural area of garrigue with an amazing view across to Caux.
When we told people we would be helping on a vineyard for a week almost without exception their immediate response was 'what treading grapes?'. Given the time of year we knew that wouldn't be the case. We expected to weed and hoe, trim and tidy; little did we anticipate we would actually be be excavating steps or having a crash course in dry stone seat building.
This week has been an incredible experience. Lizzie and Ali have been w [...]
With hands still shaking from 2 hours on the bushwhacker this morning, I can hardly write this blog!
It was an early start as we were only doing a half day today as most of the team were a bit shattered from the day before. Dark clouds and rain met us as we came down to breakfast and there was some discussion whether it was a good idea to go up to the vineyard . Lizzie suggeste [...]
Okay, today is Tuesday 2nd March and it is beautiful weather here in Roujan. Everyone arrives for our delicious breakfast, prepared by Andrew and Sarah. Then it is all hands to the wheel to get us up to the vineyard.
We arrive with our energy at the ready and start by each planting a Eucalyptus tree and putting our name on it. The plan is to have an avenue of these wonderful trees to walk under.
It's cold today. English weather. No wind to speak of, just heavy, dull, grey cold. Not a grand day to be pruning but we're panicking a bit now as to how we can finish in time, so needs must.
Lizzie is trying out some power-assisted secateurs she bought last year. They're a bit scary, though nothing like as scary as the ones the pros use which slice through metal, vines and fingers willy-nilly. The great thing about them though is that they leav [...]
Ali's promised to write a blog (she's the word-wizard) about the harvest that took place at the end of August. Come back in a day or two for the full story.
We've taken you through all our trials and tribulations over the last year, right up to a couple of weeks ago when our tiny quantity of wine had a stuck fermentation. But the addition of lies (pronounced lees) from Hans' finished wine kick-started ours, and within less than two weeks our malolactic fermentation was completed. We received the long-awaited -mail from the oenologue, then we had to take in a second sample for verification. My heart was racing as I opened her e-mail [...]
You'll remember that we have made some wine from what remained after last year's tornado and hail storm the night before the harvest. The wine has been sitting in a tank in my brother's cave since last September, happily going through its alcoholic fermentation, then resolutely refusing to finish the malolactic fermentation.
We had the wine tested by the oenologue about five times during the past few weeks and it just hasn't budged. It can't be bottled until it [...]
Ali & I had a great evening eating delicious tapas in the vineyards of Domaine Bourdic . Hans & Christa, the winemakers there, are our good friends and I asked them about our 'stuck' malolactic fermentation. Hans has a solution. He's going to give us some lies from his wine which has just finished its 'malo'. This should contain enough of the necessary bacteria to get ours moving. He too has some slow wines so that's restored my confidence a bit. I thought it w [...]
The temperatures at Chateau Malaudos are stifling at the moment. The vines aren't at their best either, having taken the most awful battering during last September's hail-filled tornado. I think they look weakened and they really have very little fruit hanging. We've also suffered a bit from oidium thanks to hot and wet weather during the Spring. So we're sort of cutting our losses this year. It's likely we'll have precious few grapes to take to the Cave Co-operative; [...]
I've written before about the kindness of other winemakers and just how supportive they've been. Just the other day I received this e-mail, out of the blue, from our lovely friend Peter Core who makes delicious biodynamic wine at Mas Gabriel .
I hope all is well. Just a quick note to say that performance bio keep warning about high risk for mildew, which we treat with copper. We have only seen a couple of taches so far but I think it would be [...]
I've been blithering on about the spraying for weeks now, but it's our biggest headache at this time of the year. Worse still, we chose this year to move to organic treatments, so timing is even more critical.
We should be treating every ten days in the current weather conditions, but therein lies the problem. There is barely a day when there isn't too much rain, or wind, or heat, or the threat of any of those three. So, in theory one needs a still, cool, dry part of the da [...]