Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Great to be back!

Yes it’s been a while since my last entry I know. But moving back to the UK just before xmas was no easy thing! But I have just made my first visit back to France since we came home. It was really great to be back, even though it was -6 degrees when I arrived.

The reason for the trip was to finish the job with regards to the 2009. Basically I had left the wine in tank to start it’s malolactic fermentation. This requires heat to raise the temp of the wine to around 25 degrees so the little bacteria can work in a nice environment. Some years it sails through others it is a pain in the buttocks! 2009 was a pain!

Because of the very hot season the bacteria find it harder to get going, even if we inoculate. So it’s taken until now to finish. But now this means time for 2008 and 2009 to house swap. 2008 comes out of barrel and 2009 goes in. We pump out the 2008 into tank minus the sediment, steam cleaning the barrels, sterilizing them, letting them dry and then refilling them with the various components of 2009. Any barrels older than 2007 are discarded and replaced with brand new French oak from my favourite cooperages.

Doing this to 60 barrels on my own takes quite some time, but I really enjoy it, tasting 2008 as it finishes its ageing and tucking up 2009 to begin it’s journey. I just stick Neil Young on the ipod (I’m a big fan!) and I’m in my own little world. Yes I’m not living here permanently anymore, but it just makes coming back that more special. I have planned to do a least one visit a month but have also put another offer in for 4 more hectares of vineyard, which if accepted could see me out here even more.

Fingers crossed!

The 2008 Verniotte is planned for bottling just after Easter, we are just putting the final touches to the new label. I really hope you like it when you see it!

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