Articles from: July 2012

Wine Blog – Wine room update

I promised to let you know of our progress of the new wine room at Manoir de Gourin. Progress continues apace and tomorrow we will hopefully start the final chapter of the decoration of thr ceilings and beams. The picture give you some indicaiton of out progress. Cheers.

Wine Blog – A fast race in Le Puy Notre Dame

Every year on the last weekend of July we have a vintage grand prix in the local town Le Puy Notre Dame. So this weekend we experienced a great event with all the old cars, bikes etc racing around the town streets. Its all organised by the local wine owners. Of course. Cheers.

Wine Blog – Sulphites

An article in the paper mentions sulphites, which is an ingredient in most wines, where a champagne house forgot to put on its labels that the wine contains sulphites. Sulphite's prime purpose is to stop oxidisation of the wine in that it removes oxygen. There is natural sulphite in grapes and in natural processes it can be retained in the finished wine but in general companies like big champagne houses and big producers and negotiants have to add sulphites in larger quantities due to their mode of operation like buying in grapes and juice with little control of the farming practise or having to make allowance for the time lag of receiving grapes, pressing and starting fermentation.  Here in the Loire valley if you supply grapes to a sparkling wine house you are given bags of sulphite to add to the grapes in the trailer before delivery to stop oxidation. Thats why you should look at small natural winemakers. Forget these big industrial winemakers including the big champagne houses who make mass quantities that need added sulphites. Keep to a small natural winemaker who is able to properly control natural sulphite levels and therefore minimise added sulphites. They affect the taste and can be harmful to health in certain circumstances. In my personal experience Cremant or a sparkler from a small producer will almost certainly give you a better quality wine and at a better price. If you need examples log onto www.gfwine.co.uk. Cheers.

Wine Blog – A BBQ evening

We are quite blessed in the Loire valley, France as the variety of wines of white, pink and red go really well with a BBQ. The whites from the chenin blanc grape are dry and fresh so pair well with grilled shellfish. The pink if medium is a good match with spicier grills and if dry certainly with grilled pork chops. The light reds made from the cabernet franc grape predominantly are a match with grilled fish like sardines. Today our guests enjoyed a BBQ of chicken marinaded in lemon zest and marjaram so a white chenin dry from Saumur appellation is perfect, or indeed a dry pink Rose de Loire appellation, or a light Saumur rouge is just as good. These Loire valley wines are just perfect for a summer BBQ whatever your choice of food. Cheers.

Wine blog – A day of warmth

Yes a lovely warm day both in terms of the warmth of our guests and the weather. We spent a great afternoon in Saumur country in the centre of the Loire valley, France with some wonderful guests enjoying the sunshine and the super wines. Our host Brigitte Van Den Boom was most helpful and gracious to give us her time to show us the vineyard, the wineroom, the cellars and finally a glimpse of the the tasting room before being ushered into the reception room to give us all some elbow room to taste the ten wines made at the domaine. All well received and enjoyed. Brigitte is developing a more interactive display for guests in the cellars to understand the work involved in wine making. Not quite finished but well on the way. Well done Brigitte. Cheers.

Wine Blog – Harvest cometh

The weather has been hot and humid the last week and the farmers have been hard at work bringing in their crops of wheat and barley before the weather breaks. The latest is thunderstorms on Friday night. The warm dry weather has been a good break for the winemakers of the Loire valley after some very unseasonable weather. The vines have had to put up with all sorts over the last few months. Even our tomatoes which have been affected by blight are thankful for these dry days. Lets hope we have a proper summer that will bring some hope to the winemakers of the Loire valley. Cheers.

Wine Blog – A day to remember

A great day out on a non stop tour around Saumur in the Loire Valley. A useful hour is taken up at Manoir de Gourin with guests to give them a brief but thorough introduction to the wines of the Loire valley. We kicked off with a morning visit to our favourite and the best domaine in the whole Loire Valley Chateau de Chaintres with our favourite winemaker Richard Desouches. We lunched on the terrace overlooking the vineyard and did not want to move. Consequentely we were a little late for our tour of the sparkling caves at Gratien and Meyer. We have a very good host at the caves Armand who is so very helpful in arranging the cave visit and tasting and our guests are always so grateful for his welcome and warmth. Finally to the distillery in Saumur Combier. You must go its a real eyeopener and again Stephanie our host for the tour and tasting is so enthusiastic and natural. Please pop along its well worth the visit. Cheers.

Wine Blog – 2012 vintage update no2

We continue to monitor the progress of the vintage this year in the Loire valley, France. Last time I reported on the effect of the wet weather over May and June. It has continued over the first part of July and the prognosis continues to be a problem with mildew in the vines with the effect from the damp conditions. Spraying has been more regular and this has helped to keep the mildew at bay but there will be some effect on the development of the berries on the bunches. Overall there will be a reduction of quality and quantity and again like last year there will need to be careful pruning of the grapes before harvest so you will need to be careful in selecting your wine again this year. You need to know your winemaker and to be sure he/she takes great care of the vines.

The weather has become warmer and sunny over recent days and this should help but we need some good weather for the rest of the summer.

For sure there will be a reduction in production from the cold winter affecting the bud formation, and now the mildew. I have seen the effect on the berries. If you take care of your selection of the domaine and the winemaker then you will be buying a wine that has been made with great care. Let me know if you need help to select your wines this year. Cheers.

Wine Blog – A vineyard tour

An afternoon spent in the lovely Loire Valley of France touring the Saumur and Anjou vineyards. Our guests Kim and Kim all the way from Australia were blown over by the wine and hospitality of the Domaine de L'Enchantoir near the pretty village of Puy Notre Dame. Firstly an introduction of the wines of the Loire at Manoir de Gourin. The website gives you details of the different tours we do. www.loirewinetours.com. Pierre the winemaker took us into the vneyard to talk about the farming practise and then into the old wineroom where Pierre develops and nurtures the wonderful wines he produces at the domaine. He has won many awards for his wines. Pierre is developing his wines aged in old oak barrels and is now extending his red Puy Notre Dame appellation oaked range. He's a good winemaker and he spends a great deal of time on the ageing process. Why not try some. They are available in UK on www.gfwine.co.uk  Cheers.

Wine Blog – An alternative pruning method

 

In France the appellation rules dictate a pruning of the vines through the growing season so as to maintain an optimum area of leaves to allow the right amount of photosythethisis to the amount fo berries on the vine determined by the pruning of the vine plant during the winter. Here for example the vines are completely pruned to one long branch of seven buds and a shoot of two buds which determine the number of bunches of berries and therefore a good indication of the yield which is also set by the appellations.

The trouble  that the vine having been allowed to grow from these buds in the summer and in producing  the bunches of grapes from these buds is put under some doubt about its growth when it's vines are pruned and it then produces secondary buds and branches that takes both energy away from the berry development, produces secondary bunch development which also does likewise and thirdly produces leak formation at low level which inhibits the ripening of the berries. So why not allow the vine to grow naturally which would negate the above and produce a better berry at harvest when mature? To be continued on the nest blog. Cheers.

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