Despite blog silence over recent months we’ve been keeping busy here at clos rocailleux. Of course looking after the vines is the big thing and a massive consumer of time. We did a rough calculation the other day of the number of times we touch our vines each season – pruning, tying down, bud rubbing, shoot thinning, tucking in, green harvesting etc etc. Our conservative estimate was 10 times per vine or a mind bo
We’ve had our first experience of every farmer’s nightmare, hail. On Sunday 21 July, seemingly out of nowhere, a vicious hail storm hit us with horizontal, hail laden, winds gusting up to 100 km per hour. As we watched from the safety of the house we could tell the damage to the vines would be severe and it was. All of our vines suffered some level of damage but one parcel, a hectare of syrah with a beautiful open
Just can’t resist a final note from this year’s “vendange”. After all it will be another 11 months before we experience all the energy and excitement of harvest time again. Last Friday we battled 90 km/hour winds to hand-pick a small crop of beautiful ripe Braucol grapes – the only red wine grapes we’ve hand harvested this year. We’re planning to make a “single vineyard” wine from these grapes and experiment a bit with this tr
For our first harvest things have gone remarkably well (so far, fingers still crossed). However, in wine making as is life, stuff happens. This year’s list of our harvest time “stuff” includes: – a storm hitting Andillac – a neighbouring vigneron was so concerned for us that he telephoned the evening before it was forecast to arrive and also called round in the morning to stress that we needed to
It’s practically the law that every good vineyard has to have a dog. There are even books dedicated to the winemaker’s best friend. There was only one candidate for us and we’re delighted Rory has joined the team!
Today we harvested our first grapes for red wine, a 1 hectare parcel of Syrah. The tasting and testing we’ve done on these grapes indicates that they’re beautifully ripe and should give a wine of about 13-13.5%. Our second parcel of Syrah is only about 500 meters away but has a less open sunny aspect and is some days away from picking – “terroir” again! About 6 tonnes of grapes were machine harve
The hand-harvesting for 2012 is done! Our rough tally is that it took 220 hours to fill 350 crates with grapes and produce 4000 litres of juice (soon to be our 2012 white Mauzac wine). Plus washing everything afterwards – there’s a lot of water involved in wine making! A lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. Today I met and picked grapes with a French former professional skate boarder who is now an artisan knit
High up the list of hand harvesting challenges is gathering a sufficiently large picking crew. This is made especially tricky as you can’t fix the harvest date far in advance and because bad weather can scupper the best laid plans without warning. Yesterday Jack decided that our first parcel of white grapes was ready to harvest and happily this morning we had a full team of willing helpers at the house at around 7:30 am
Up before dawn to watch the magnificent beast that is Andillac’s “machine à vendanger” pick our black Duras grapes. In the time it took for the sun to rise the machine was finished and Jack was driving 2.5 tonnes of grapes up the field to our winery. We’re making rosé with this part of the Duras crop so it was important to get the grapes quickly destemmed, through the press and into the tanks which c
OK – we and our very kind friends, including Sue and Jacqueline who’ve come to help with the harvest, have finished the winery, tested all the equipment, cleaned everything several times over, cooked the harvest lunches and still we’re waiting for the grapes to ripen. They’re looking good. They’re tasting good surely it must be time to pick soon. More tests today – fingers crossed for a green light.