Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc

All dressed up



Happily the wines have plenty of places to go, from France to Australia, the United States, Japan and all around the world. As Christmas approaches the demand for wines reaches a peak and bottles from 2015 are prepared for sending off to those places. The process of putting on labels, capsules etc is known as habillage (dressing).

On Wednesday October 19th we dressed magnums of Classe and Sauvé De La Citerne as well as bottles of 5SO Simple, all from 2015. 5SO was first released in the Spring but  a second wave is now ready. All of these wines are sold out already, demand outstrips supply.

The bottles which were filled back in Spring are checked first to ensure there is no leakage from the corks, a handful do where a cork was not up to scratch. These bottles are known as couleuses. Every effort is made to ensure that the bottle should reach the consumer in premium condition.


Michel puts on the capsule which is tightened by the machine which then sticks on the labels

The labelling is done by means of a machine which seals the capsule and pastes the label and back label onto the bottle. For the magnums the seal was actually made with wax which requires more work and time. The wax also needs time to dry off before being packed in boxes.

After the single bottles have their capsules and labels added they are placed in their box with protective cardboard to keep them in good condition during transport. This is a fiddly job, it has taken me two years of trying to do it quickly but I have finally got there.

This is the sort of day which I never really considered when I arrived at Mas Coutelou. The vines yes, bottling yes but, as a typical wine drinker, I never really considered the 101 jobs which go into preparing the bottles for market. Meanwhile, Jeff is sorting through his orders and, unfortunately, having to turn down some orders as there simply is not enough wine to meet the requests which he receives. The wines are justifiably in demand, and if you are fortunate to be drinking one, have a thought for the work which goes into preparing the bottle and raise your glass to Jeff, Michel, Julien and everyone else who has helped to make it so good.

Author: amarch34

I'm a recently retired (early!) teacher from County Durham in North east England. I am going to be spending most of the next year in the Languedoc leaarning about wines, vineyards and the people who care for both.

3 thoughts on “All dressed up

  1. I saw another offer on Coutelou from Robersons about a week ago. I am well aware how popular Jeff’s wines have, and continue to, become and I also keep seeing cuvées in your pics that I’ve never seen before. Exactly how many bottlings are there (though I know they change from year to year)? I must read up and research. I’m probably unlikely to get down to the Languedoc in the near future, but it’s probably the only way to get a comprehensive overview…so long as I go when there is wine left to sell.

    Your Blog continues to show insights into the work which goes on, not just the big winemaking stuff. This is why I really think a book would be interesting. Over the past months, in particular, I’ve learnt a lot – and I don’t mind saying that I’m no novice. Thanks Alan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you David. I set out to describe for myself the things I learned in the vineyard and cellar as an aide-memoire really. I am delighted that others have found that interesting too.

    Cuvées: Vin Des Amis, Classe, 5SO, Flower Power, Sauvé De La Citerne, PM Rosé, Bibonade (pet nat often in white and rosé), Flambadou, La Vigne Haute, L’Oublié, 7 Rue De La Pompe, Peilhan Blanc (or different version of the white). Then there would be one off reds such as OPPVDQ, Paf, Copains, single variety wines etc. There was an orange wine for the first time in 2015. I’d say a dozen at least per year with a varying cast list though always the first 7 or 8 on that list. Then there’s wines made for specific restaurants etc. 🙂

    Roberson will be clearing their remaining stocks as they are no longer supplied. Leon Stolarski still has little bits left too.


  3. I picked up the last very few bottles of Classe and Sauve de la Citerne from Leon. Doing him a favour as I suspect he drinking them and his profits as well. I don’t think Leon imported any 2014.
    It seems like none of the 2015 will make it to the UK either. If it’s any comfort David there is hardly any available in the area (Pezenas for example).


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