Thursday, 12 November 2009

Although Bordeaux 2009 has drawn to a close, I haven't wasted time in starting with the next project.

As I have said we are moving back to the UK in December as my wife Kaye is to start work again. We are also going to start a little vineyard project of our own, and jump on the successful UK sparkling bandwagon!

For research we took a small trip to Champagne to see an old friend of mine Thierry Lesne. I worked with Thierry in my very first vintage in the Ard├Ęche in 1998, where I learnt how to hunt wild bore and hate Pastis!

We simply went to see how things work, extract as much info as possible, and see what I was getting myself into. It was quite obvious from the start that it is very different from anything I have done before. Some things are the same, for instance the expression of terroir, more so than in any other wine.

Because everyone makes their wine in exactly the same way (they have too!), the defining factors are where the fruit comes from, and how they are blended together. We tried many base wines, and I think lost most of the enamel off my teeth because of the acidity. The differences are incredibly subtle, and the art of blending will probably be the hardest part. I was completely fascinated by it all and am really relishing the chance to make something completely different.

Although one thing I have learnt is that you cannot simply take one production method from one country and export it to another.

Everywhere is different, and each site is specific. Meaning because we are starting from scratch there is no model to follow like over here in France, no rules to govern how we grow the fruit, just lots of questions!! It will be a fascinating adventure and I hope to let you know how it goes!

Visit laithwaites.co.uk

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