The final day of my truncated vendanges this year was Friday September 9th. The Carignan of Rec D’Oulette, which I described in the last post, needed to be completed in the morning and this was to be followed by Carignan again, this time from Peilhan. The quality of the grapes there tends to be good without the absolute quality of the former. Jeff wanted some Carignan for blending and to add some fruit profile to those blends so we were going to be doing whole bunch semi-carbonic maceration. There was also a slight time pressure that afternoon as the Moroccan pickers were finishing that day as well as Tony, Marco, Boris and Manu. Consequently, we worked late finishing the parcel, sorting and cleaning by 7.45 that evening.
It is slower to sort like this as you are bent over the hatch into the cuve and have to go through each bunch picking them out one by one. The space is limited and muscles become sore quickly. Matteo and I did most of the sorting whilst the others went to help the Moroccans complete the picking. It was a case of déja vu as Matteo reminded me that we did the same job with the same parcel last year. The grapes fall directly into the cuve through the yellow chute and the large cuve was pretty full by the time we completed our work, a good example of vendanges 22 in that there was the quantity as well as quality. Jeff smiled despite the three weeks of worry and stress with more to come as the cellar work continues.
We celebrated with a lovely bottle of Val Frison Champagne and a 2013 Rouge Gorge L’Ubac too. And we said our farewells to most of the team, a pleasure to spend time with.
A few days later Jeff was keen to bottle a few hundred bottles of Bibonade, his PetNat made with almost fermented grapes from this year’s vintage. Some of the white juice I described in the last post such as Aramon Blanc and Olivette were fermenting very quickly so Jeff, Matteo, Flora and Gilles went to pick some Grenache Blanc, there is just one row in La Garrigue and it had been left in case it was needed for such a role. The juice was put into a basket press and added to slow the fermentation. Fortunately, Flora was able to take some photos too.
For now the work continues in the cellar, pressing, remontages, pigeages, running the juice from the must. There ought to be many good wines from 2022 and, happily, good supplies of them too. To complete the profile of vendanges I liked this photo of Flora Rey showing the pickers, especially Marco and Tony, walking off into the distance.