Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bottle store

My father is here for a couple of weeks to help with a few winery improvement projects. The main job is to convert the smaller of my two cellars into a bottle storage area. For ease of handling I’ll be storing bottles in forklift compatible cages. Step one is to pour a smooth concrete floor so that these cages can be moved around by a pallet truck…Here’s my father preparing the ground, and then the floor partially poured…

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Well the harvest is finished and the wines are now all fermented and safely resting down in the cave. It was really hard work this year… Hail in late July and then a wet August meant that grey rot was a big issue by harvest time. Thankfully we are well equipped with a sorting table and were blessed with a great harvest team (thank you all!) who put in the hours necessary to separate the good grapes from the bad. The net result is that grapes in the vats were perfect and we are well on the way to making good wines in a difficult year.
Picking started on Friday 22nd September and ended on Friday 29th with just the Sunday off to watch the rain. For the third year in a row the heavens opened the day after we finished picking. After sorting, the grapes were 100% de-stemmed and then gently carried to the vats by a conveyer belt. The aim was to get a large percentage of whole, uncrushed berries in the vats, as this enhances primary fruit aromas and minimises harsh tannins. Since the grapes were ripe and well sorted we just added 5g/hl of SO2 (the ubiquitous wine anti-oxidant) and cooled the must down to 15ºC. Truth be told I’m a little proud to have grown organic grapes which didn’t need any of the ‘assistance’ which modern enology can offer (such as additions of sugar, colour extraction enzymes, clarification enzymes, yeast, yeast nutrients, tannins etc). With nothing added our 2006 wines are all between 12.5 and 12.8% alcohol with perfect acidity (pH 3.2 to 3.3).
Ultimately I suspect 2006 will be seen as a good vintage for those who sorted well, but far short of the excellent quality of 2005. At the moment the 2006s are beautifully aromatic and well balanced, but less concentrated than the spectacular 2005s (which are still in barrels and tasting fabulous!). Of course vintage differences are part of what makes Burgundy so fascinating.