Thursday, 23 September 2010

It’s great to be back in Castillon, with the fever of vintage in the air.

They seem to come round quicker ever year, or maybe it’s just that people are still talking about last year and how great it was.

On that subject dad flew over for the weekend and together we racked the 09 Verniotte out of barrel and blended it all into a tank. The aromas of strawberry ice cream filled the cellar, I really have never smelt or seen a Castillon like this.

The wine is so dark purple in colour that if you spilt a bit on top of the barrels it stains it. You can’t get rid of it like usual, no matter how much sulphur I use it won’t budge. So my nice clean barrels I’ve had all year now look like they’ve been kept in a slaughter house.

But what might you ask does 2010 look like? Well one thing is for sure, there ain’t very much! Bad flowering in June has meant a very low crop this year and on top of that it has been extremely dry over the summer and so the berries are very small with little juice.

All this means that the fruit is extremely ripe and concentrated, sugar levels that I have never seen before. But no-one has picked because the acid is also high and everyone is also waiting for phenolic ripeness. Growers seem to be much better informed around here now as 5 years ago everyone would have started picking by now. Also there is rain predicted for Friday, and I think everyone is hoping some of it will get into the fruit to give a bit more juice, but we shall see!!

On Friday we are going to pick a very small amount of La Clariere, the young vines that have been really stressed in the heat and are very tired and want to be picked. But I don’t think the main picking will start until the middle of next week.

I reckon we will start Verniotte on Wednesday! The vines are healthy, if a little thirsty, but 2010 is looking superb and I can’t complain, except about volume, so I’m definitely a farmer now!


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