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Displaying items by tag: Chardonnay
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 08:23

Chardonnay, Year 2!

Chardonnay, Year 2!


We are one year on from planting 4 hectares of Chardonnay and it is growing at an unprecedented rate!  So much so that we have neighbouring farmers stopping to admire it and question what we have done that has resulted in such astronomic growth!!!  The answer to that, quite frankly is the weather, combined with what is good soil and a fortuitous elevation and aspect.  After a long and relatively cold winter, we have had one of the wettest springs on record.  Our annual rainfall is around 600mm and this year we have received 300mm or half of that rainfall solely in the month of March!  Follow this with periods of warm, unadulterated sunshine and no surprise that all green vegetation is on a massive growth spurt!


The weather did however delay the next stage in the development of the new Chardonnay vineyard, which is the installation of the trellising system of posts and wires.  Planned for February and March, the ground has been so wet that the work has only just now finished in the month of May!  We choose to use the highest quality wooden posts from a Portuguese supplier called Carmo in our vineyards, which quite apart from their obvious strength and durability, also make for a very attractive trellising system.  At this stage we also install the fruit wire, which is the lowest of the trellis wires at which level the fruit will develop.  This is a fixed, metal wire that does not move.  The two higher level wires will be installed later and we choose to use a synthetic, nylon wire called 'Deltex' that is more flexible and can be raised and lowered to follow the dynamic growth of the vines.


We are now putting in bamboo stakes as support for each vine (all 17,000 of them!), to guide their growth going forward and then attaching the vines to the fruit wire.  Given the vigour of these vines, most of them are already higher than the wire!  So still a lot of work to be done, but we have the beginnings of what will be a magnificent vineyard!

Published in Wine talks
Thursday, 09 February 2012 13:26

Planting Chardonnay 2012!

Minus 4 and Planting Chardonnay!


On a bitterly cold Sunday morning, the planting team arrives at Sainte Rose, ready to plant 4 hectares of Chardonnay.  It is the coldest day of the winter so far, at minus 4 degrees Centigrade and no one looks very enthusiastic!  The sun is out however and once moving, the team makes excellent progress using their GPS-guided tractor to plant perfectly straight rows of young vines.  Happily it has not been cold enough over a sufficiently long period of time to freeze the soil.  The planting machine is also capable of giving the young plant 3 litres of water and to administer a small amount of herbicide around the foot of the vine to avoid early competition from weeds.  Given the temperature however, neither of the above was possible as the water would just freeze!  And as the temperature keeps dropping here, there are unlikely to be many weeds in the vineyards for quite a while!


We are planting more Chardonnay because it is such a useful and flexible grape variety.  Picked early and vinified in tanks it can be fresh, fruity and vivacious.  Picked later and barrel fermented or barrel aged and it will be expansive and luxuriant.  Chardonnay is a key ingredient in our very successful ‘Coquille d’Oc’ white wine, providing the structure and backbone in what is quite an unusual blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Muscat.  Chardonnay is also an important variety in ‘Le Vent du Nord’ providing vivacity and aromatics that lift the Roussanne with which it has been blended.  Finally in the very best years, we have made Le Pinacle, a barrel fermented and barrel aged Chardonnay, which in blind tasting has been mistaken for a wine from Chassagne Montrachet and other much more expensive and well-known Burgundian appellations.


Our established Chardonnay vineyard has a very different aspect to this new plantation, so we are looking forward to seeing what this new vineyard can produce.  Watch this space .....

Published in Wine talks
Friday, 12 August 2011 13:50

2011 Chardonnay Harvest

Chardonnay 12th of August, 2011


The first grape variety to ripen at Sainte Rose is always the Chardonnay.  As it was for our first vintage in 2002, so it was for this, our 10th harvest.


Maybe it is the terroir, maybe it is the aspect, maybe it is a combination of the two in conjunction with our wonderful sunny climate here in the south of France!  Regardless, as soon as the berries turn golden and assuming the weather is kind, the Chardonnay is first into the winery and the juice becomes the first fermentation of the year.


On the 11th and 12th of August, we picked about 23 tonnes of Chardonnay grapes, which after destemming and crushing turned into 180 hectolitres of juice.  This juice was cold settled over 3 days before being racked off the ‘gros lies’ (i.e. sediment).  It will now be inoculated with yeast and carefully managed through primary fermentation.


The start of the harvest is always an exciting time and the whole family as well as the whole team were present to see the first berries picked.  We even had our Machine harvester’s elderly father looking on (his 36th harvest!).  He came because he loves the smell of the berries and juice as they are picked and transferred into the winery, and he was anxious to be part of one of the first nights of picking in our area!



Published in Wine talks