Monday, October 08, 2012

It's that time of the year...

Yes, it's that time of the year again, when the leaves turn orange, the birds fly south, and the grapes ripen on the vine.


Old-vine grapes being picked at Clos Bagatelle in St Chinian

Back in 2006 I worked the harvest in Burgundy, and let me tell you, it wasn't easy, and I was 6 years younger than now.  I had pains in places I didn't know existed, and some in places I wished I had never discovered.  That said, it was a magical experience that I'd happily do again if I were younger.  MUCH younger.  At this point in my life, I prefer to sit back and try to move these amazing wines, and let the pros handle harvest.  

Into the bin with you, my pretties

Well, harvest has been going on now for a while in the South of France, but my winemakers being busy and all, they are only now getting around to sending me pics and reports.

Anyone want some St Jean de Muscat grapes?  These are Christine Deleuze's brother's pickings, he'll make an amazing sweet wine from it

2012 has been a very difficult year in most of France, Spain and Italy.  Between lousy weather, heat waves, hail and problems with mildew and oidium in the fields (especially in Champagne, where a tornado actually touched down in the vineyards), my winemakers have been super busy.  Over the next few days and weeks I'll be posting harvest reports from our wineries (assuming the winemakers haven't passed out from exhaustion), with maybe a few pictures (again, assuming the winemakers remember what I keep asking them for!).  So stay tuned.

Here's the first report from Clos Bagatelle in St Chinian (full picture album is on our Facebook Fan page at - become a Fan!): the year started tough, with cool and wet weather followed by summer hear waves, but September was warm with cool nights, which kept the grapes fresh, maintaining the levels of acidity we've come to expect from Christine's wines.  As they say in France, September makes the wine, meaning that the entire year can be crappy, but if September is nice, then you'll have some good wines.  However, volumes are down by 20%, something I'm seeing across the board.  Still, quality and color are looking good, but we'll know more early next year.


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