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Wednesday, 15 March 2017 15:31

Sweet Sainte Rose 2015

Sweet Sainte Rose 2015


We are extremely excited to introduce a new product to the Sainte Rose range!  This is the first time we have released a sweet wine and we’re delighted with it!  Made from late harvested Roussanne grapes, which were beginning to show signs of botrytis, this single varietal sweetie is one of a kind!  We picked the grapes in October 2015 and having started primary fermentation, the juice was transferred to one year old barrels to finish fermentation and age for 12 months.  Because of the concentration and high sugar content of the grapes, the wine finished fermentation at 15.5%, thus is classified as Vin de France and bottled in 50cl bottles.  It has a beautiful burnished gold colour with a soft almond and delicate honeysuckle nose.  Delicious orchard fruit flavours emerge on the palate with excellent acidity and a prolonged finish.  Serve off chilled with cheese!


This wine will be available to the trade from Simpsons Wine Imports in the UK and direct to the consumer from the Sainte Rose website www.sainterose.com very soon, retailing at £12.99 per bottle.


sweet roussanne 2015 small

Published in Wine talks
Thursday, 26 November 2015 09:59

Autumn 2015 News!



First 2015 Vintage bottled

Harvest 2015 was long and tiring, but ultimately very successful and we have been delighted with the quality of the wines as they begin to age in their respective barrels or tanks.  No such ageing is necessary for our hugely successful, fresh and vibrant rosé wines, the grapes for which were picked way back in August!  The first of our 2015 Rosés are already bottled, are on their way to their respective clients and will be available before Christmas in the UK!  Gone are the days when Rosé is saved for the summer, these are deliciously drinkable and a perfect, festive pink aperitif!


Exclusive Naked Wines UK Super Premium 2014 Syrah Released

We’re delighted to announce the release of the Cuvée Spéciale MMXIV, which was showcased at the Naked Wines Christmas tastings a week ago.  2014 was such an exceptional year for reds at Sainte Rose, particularly the rhone red varieties, that we though if there was any year we could make a super premium red it was then! Our grafted Syrah block yielded particularly concentrated, quality fruit and it was from this that we created this special cuvée, which is a statuesque, powerful and deeply flavoured single varietal Syrah matured in new and one year old french oak.  


2016 Investments

In any good business, reinvestment in infrastructure and equipment is fundamental to ongoing success so following our 14th harvest at Sainte Rose, we are planning significant investment in both the vineyards and the winery.  Replacement of the pump and filter for our bore hole is top of the list for viticultural items along with the extension of our drip irrigation system into the Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards.  We are also going to replace our 3 row Hardy foliar sprayer in order to treat the vines more efficiently and effectively.  In the winery the top of the list is a brand new 100hl Bucher Vaslin press, which is double the size of our current press and will make processing the volume of grapes that we are now producing so much easier and efficient.  A new extended refrigeration system is equally important along with a must chiller and flotation pump.  

Published in Wine talks
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 14:00

May Madness, 2015!

May Madness, 2015!


May is always a busy month at Sainte Rose and this year has been no exception!  In the vineyards the vines are growing at an exceptional rate, the canopy filling out to create a pale green fringe along the rows.  The trellising wires need to be raised to keep up with the rate of growth and the shoots at the foot of the vine need to be removed so that all the energy goes up the trunk to the tiny beginnings of the bunches of grapes that are forming at the fruit wire.  The weeds are also growing apace so inter-row mowing and inter-vine ploughing is required so that the weeds don’t compete with the vines for soil nutrients.


In the winery, we have been blending and bottling more wine from the 2014 and some of the barrel-aged wines from 2013.  With the start of summer there is huge demand for our 2014 Rosé and our entry level single varietal 2014 Chardonnay and Merlot are now available.  Our 2013 Le Pinacle Syrah/Viognier, which has been ageing for 18 months in French and American oak barrels has now been bottled but we will allow it to bottle-age for a few months before it is released.


It has also been a busy month with trade visitors to the Domaine including our Agent from the United States and the Sommelier & Sales Manager from Vinmonopolet in Denmark.  As a result of these visits there is more wine heading Stateside and our first ever order going to Denmark this week.  We are particularly pleased to see the start of our partnership with Vinmonopolet in Denmark who are listing 5 wines from our range.


Sainte Rose has been on the road too, with presentations to Majestic Wine store staff in Leeds, Manchester and London, presentations to Naked Wines sales staff in Norwich and 3 busy days at the London International Wine Fair at Olympia.


Phew, we could do with a holiday now, but have another bottling planned this month and a week touring cities in the UK for consumer tastings with Naked Wines, so never a dull moment!

Published in Wine talks
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:18

Vintage 2014 Begins!

Earliest ever harvest!


Almost 3 weeks earlier than last year, on the 31st of July, we started picking Chardonnay for our Sparkling base wine! This is the earliest we have ever started picking grapes in the south of France and we have been the talk of the town! None of our neighbours could believe that the grapes were ripe at this early stage. As many of you will know, we need to pick the grapes at about 10 or 10.5 degrees of potential alcohol for the sparkling base as it then goes through a secondary fermentation in the bottle, usually gaining another percentage in alcohol and will then receive a dosage upon disgorgement. The final wine will end up at around 12.5 % alcohol, which is the ideal for a sparkling wine.


We started picking in our 20 year old block of Chardonnay, where the fruit was clean and concentrated. The yields were slightly lower than average on this less vigorous, more mature block, due to the dry conditions that we have experienced this year. We were also picking from our new block of Chardonnay, which we planted in 2012. This block has grown very vigorously from the start and in spite of the dry conditions in 2014 the yields for its first year of production were very healthy. It will be interesting comparing the juice and subsequent wine that each block has produced.


The temperatures soared over the following week and on the 7th of August we decided to start picking more Chardonnay from both blocks, this time for still wine. This was also 3 weeks earlier than last year! We also harvested our small block of Muscat Petit Graines in front of the Chateau at Sainte Rose, whose intense aromas in the harvesting bin and receival area always makes for a memorable vintage moment! We harvested over two days and then again four days later, ensuring that we have a full flavour spectrum from the two blocks of Chardonnay which we will cross blend in due course.


So as you can imagine we are relieved to have two of our six white varieties already safe in the winery and will be starting to pick Sauvignon Blanc later this week. Watch this space for a subsequent vintage update next week!

Published in Wine talks
Monday, 23 September 2013 15:28

End of the '13 White Grape Harvest

End of the 2013 White Grape Harvest


All six of our white grape varieties have now been harvested and their juice is safely in tanks in the winery.  The early varieties such as the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are almost finished primary fermentation, whilst the latest varieties that were picked over the weekend, the Marsanne and Roussanne, have been cold stabilised, racked and will gently begin their fermentation over the next couple of days.  It has been a very intense white harvest due to the late start, with more overnight picking in quick succession than in previous years.  Happily apart from one very wet weekend, which halted the harvesting, the weather has been stable we have been able to pick at the optimum time for each variety.


Along with the whites we have also been harvesting reds for rosé, which has added to the intensity of the past couple of weeks.  We treat these red grapes as if they were white, separating the juice from the skins immediately to ensure that there is not too much extraction of colour or tannins.  This morning was the final pick of Mourvedre for rosé and the grapes came in looking clean, fresh and full of flavour.


Later this week we will turn our focus to red grapes for our red cuvées.  We already have two large tanks of Syrah in the winery, which are gently pumped over on a daily basis to extract colour and tannins from the skins and which, after pressing will complete fermentation and age in oak barrels.  This week we will be picking Grenache and Merlot.


So a large part of the harvesting is behind us and although there is still a lot of work to be done to complete the creation of our 2013 wines, the riskiest part and constant weather watching is nearly over.  Hurrah!



Published in Wine talks
Saturday, 14 September 2013 08:01

2013 Harvest Update

2013 Harvest Update


The late-starting 2013 harvest has now picked up speed and is proving to be as full-on as we expected it to be.  The first Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes for still wine were picked on 29/30/31st of August, the latest start date ever for still wine!  In that first tranche we also picked our small block of Muscat, which came in with its usual intense aromatics – proving once again a little goes a long way!


As usual, we don't pick all of the same variety at once.  Our goal is to obtain a flavour spectrum from our fruit, so we take some deliberately early for vibrant varietal characteristics and acidity and then later picks for more luxurious texture and sugar content.  So that being said a little under one week later we harvested a second tranche of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.


At that stage we were forced to pause due to torrential rain (65mm), which meant that there was a risk of dilution as the vines absorbed the water and quite frankly we couldn't take a tractor or harvester into the vineyards!


As of yesterday morning we were able to start again, when we were taking the first harvest from our new block of Roussanne and Viognier, whose yields were remarkably healthy for their first year.  This is most likely due to the wet spring we had this year, which has meant no hydric stress across the vineyards.  We were also starting to pick some early reds for Rosé and will be continuing with this over the next couple of days in addition to harvesting some Merlot for red wine.


The early mornings don't get any easier, but it is good to already have a third of our grapes off the vines and the juice safely in the winery.  The fruit is clean and we're delighted with the quality so far, which makes it all worthwhile!

Published in Wine talks
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
Tuesday, 02 April 2013 14:49

Updates in the Winery!

Updates in the Winery!


With all growth comes further investment and at Sainte Rose we have significant plans for improvements in our winery prior to the 2013 vintage.  Having grown significantly in 2012, processing more fruit in our winery than ever before, we have to make some changes and improvements in order to handle these larger volumes.  This is a very positive step for Sainte Rose, but an expensive one, especially in the current economic climate.  There are European grants available for a portion of this work however even if our dossier is accepted, nothing would be payable prior to the work starting!


First of all we need more useable tank space.  For most people this means more stainless steel, however we are running out of places to put stainless steel tanks.  What we do have are 3 rows of huge concrete tanks that up until now we have not needed to use.  Most of these tanks are currently far too big for us to use for vinification as we prefer to vinify in small lots and keep all the grape varieties separate until such time as we want to blend.  They are also unlined and impossible to keep clean.  These concrete tanks however can be split into smaller sizes, lined with epoxy resin and have new stainless steel doors, valves and chimneys installed so that they can be kept as spotlessly clean as steel tanks.  We have already done this to 2 other large concrete tanks in the main section of the winery, creating 4 tanks out of 2 so it is a process we have already benefitted from.  In this latest project we will be dividing another one of these large tanks into two, plus re-lining and renovating two of the larger tanks to use as winter storage for wine that is finished and awaiting bottling.


Secondly we will be increasing the amount of stainless steel in the winery but not in tank form!  We are installing large fixed stainless steel pipes that will be used when de-cuving red vinification tanks during the vintage, which will be much more secure than the current huge flexible hoses that we use.  It will also be safer as the flexible hoses weigh a ton and become incredibly unwieldy to manoeuvre around the winery, especially when full of berries!


Safety is also at the heart of the third improvement in the winery as we will be installing additional catwalks, safety barriers and steps that are intended to reduce any potential physical risks in the winery.  This is especially important during the busy vintage period, when tensions are high.


Work begins shortly – photos will follow!

Published in Wine talks
Monday, 18 March 2013 09:55

Spring Update!

Spring Update


March certainly came in like a lion, albeit a rather soggy, wet one, this year!  It has been the wettest period that we've had in months, not in terms of volume of water but rather in consistent small falls of rain.  This wet spell was followed by four days of 20 degree Celsius daytime temperatures, which meant that everything began to grow!   And then, as the rest of the country was hit by snow, the cold north wind started up again, just ensure that the trees and flowers don't get too far ahead of themselves and believe that summer has arrived!


Pruning is finished and the cuttings have been mulched to ensure plenty of organic matter is retained in the soil.  It is time to plough and mow to keep the weeds and inter-row grass in check.  Attention in the vineyard has also been on the new Chardonnay vines that were planted last year.  It is time to put the first level of trellising, (i.e. posts and fruit wire), into this vineyard, which is a very labour intensive task and one that requires dry conditions, so we have had to put that off until we get a drier period of weather.


In the winery some the early 2012 wines are being blended and we are building up to a two-day bottling of the red, white and rose Coquille d'Oc range at the beginning of April.  We have also taken the oak-aged Pinacle Syrah 2011 out of barrels to be bottled at the same time.  It is early days yet for this style of wine but it is ready to spend some time in bottle, which will allow the oak to integrate and the tannins to mellow.


So all very busy at Sainte Rose as we anticipate the first vine bud burst and the official start of the growing season 2013.

Published in Wine talks
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 10:29

2012 / 2013 Pruning

Pruning 2013

So pruning has already started in the old Chardonnay block at Sainte Rose.  This is earlier than usual due to a very cold November and early December, which has meant that the vines moved into their period of dormancy quicker.  The Chardonnay is always our starting point as these vines are the earliest to bud in the spring, the earliest to ripen and the first to be harvested.  They are pruned in the Guyot style, which leaves one long branch that is trained back onto the fruit wire from which the new growth will sprout in 2013.  This is the only block pruned in this style and has remained thus purely as it would have shocked the vines too much to change the style when we bought the Domaine in 2002.  All the other varieties are pruned in the ‘Cordon Royat’ style, which has a branch on either side of the main trunk of the vine, thus forming a very balanced growing shape and form.


This first block to be pruned is labelled the 'old' Chardonnay as we planted 4 more hectares of Chardonnay earlier this year!  That 'new' block of Chardonnay will also have to be pruned but it will be done last as it will not be producing a crop in 2013.  Pruning new vines is a very different task to pruning established vines and it is very important as this first prune will create the main trunk of the vine that will be trained up to the fruiting wire and be the basis for the production of fruit.  If left unpruned these vines would grow into bushes!


Ultimately the pruning process is made up of three ‘passes’ through the vineyards.  The first pass is to cut all the new growth from the past year’s growth cycle.  The second pass is to then pull all this wood off the trellising, leaving it in the centre of the rows between the vines to be broken up and to allow the organic matter to reintegrate into the soil.  Finally the third pass is to reattach the one or two remaining branches (as described above) to the fruit wire.  It is a lengthy process, especially when there are now 32 hectares at Sainte Rose now in production!  See you in the Spring!

Published in Wine talks
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