First of all, apologies for a two week silence. Blame technical problems with a new computer …….
Wine growing friends came to dinner, I originally wrote 'last night', but with the technical hiccup, it was in fact 17th September. I had an assortment of Syrah from New Zealand’s Gimblett Gravels that I thought would be fun to try with some Languedociens. Actually that is not a very accurate description of the group, as they included an Australian, an American and a Dutch woman, as well as some French, who are not especially languedocien, even if they make wine just up the road. And you can guess the inevitable topic of conversation. How’s the vintage going?
Karen and Manu arrived first. They were demob happy as they had finished picking that morning. And all was looking good, both for quantity and quality. But Karen still had another week to go at St. Jean de Bébian. And she had got to bottle on Monday, wine for her Russian boss’s son’s wedding next month. I’ve never ever bottled during vintage before….. Next to arrive was Catherine. I am ‘vers le fin du milieu’ towards the end of the middle, for she has vines in both Faugères and the Haute Vallée de l’Orb, with a mixture of grape varieties which makes for quite a drawn out harvest. And she was very excited as she has bought a tronconique oak vat for her Pinot Noir.
Then Lidewej appeared – she agreed with Catherine, she was also 'vers le fin du milieu’. She had picked all her white and pink grapes, and then had needed to keep her team of pickers waiting until the red grapes were fully ripe. It was going well, but hard work. Tom, our American friend, is doing a stage with Didier Barral – he had begun work at 7 a.m. that morning, and Didier had let him out of the cellar at 8 p.m. The others agreed that Didier was a hard task master ….. And Amélie has a small plot of Carignan in Montpeyroux. Carignan is a late ripener and that would not be ready to pick until next week, but it was looking good.
The general consensus was optimistic – of course it’s too early to say, but the quality is good, and so is the quantity, which is a relief after the more meagre harvest of last year. And the wines have an appealing freshness, again more so than last year. And as for the New Zealand Syrahs, 2008 Trinity Hill came out trumps.