Showing posts from November, 2010

Right Place Wrong Wine

We caught up with our friends Bernie and June that we rediscovered on facebook the other weekend who we hadn't seen for more than 20 years , well if you must move to Africa then it's hardly surprising that you lose touch. It was a red wine evening and they brought some Wolf Blass Shiraz and Cab Shiraz. I opened a bottle of Domaine Chevalier 1996 which if you bought it today would cost around 5 times as much money as the two Wolf wines put together.
On an evening of shared memories of 1980's London clubs, squats and music, the Aussie wines were just great - quite sweet, rich, lots of fun. The expensive Bordeaux, a bit underwhelming and somehow out of place.

I have drunk the Chevalier a few times and really enjoy it - it has everything that I like about great claret because it's light dry wine without too much alcohol and has a smell that goes beyond fruit into nice cedary overtones. There's just no way that you would necessarily want to glug it that's all. It ma…

What will Aller Hill wine taste Like?

On Saturday we tasted our wine.
It's not difficult to describe the emotions that we were going through,  we were quite quiet in the car as we drove off the motorway. To be honest there was more trepidation than excitement.
Up until this point you really can't be absolutely certain what your land is going to produce. You know that in theory it is a great site and also that the grapes were ripe and balanced but every vineyard brings it's own distinctive charateristcs that come through in the wine. In Burgundy a Grand cru vineyard can be 200 yards away from a simple Villages plot that sells for a quarter of the price. Over the years (centuries) owners have been able to track in detail which site does best.
This was the time to see for the first time what, if anything, would stand out. We were tasting with Martin Fowke who has a better perspective than us as he has a hand in wines from 30-30 vineyards each year.

Making sparkling wine, most producers are aiming for very neutra…

What Happened Next - the Winery

If you saw Countryfile on the BBC two weeks ago they had a feature on English wine and filmed a vineyard owner delivering his grapes to Three Choirs Winery in Gloucestershire. Four weeks ago - that was me. Tasting the Juice, taking a hydrometer mesurement and generally trying to take it in despite more tired  than running the marathon.Three years work sitting in  9 plastic bins outside a winery in Gloucestershire on a cold wet Sunday morning. At least Martin the winemaker had the good grace to comment on how good the fruit  looked before carting them off on the forklift.

This is one of the Chardonnay bins being loaded into the crusher which also takes off the stems. Two days of nagging people to handle the grapes so that they don't get damaged undone in about 2 minutes and the result is -----

Ahem - yes, the gentle moving of the precious juice using nothing but the force of gravity
that delicately transports the crushed grapes.

I should be in marketing.

No, get it …

Aller Hill 2010 Vintage


Times are very strange at Higher Plot Farm. For example, this Sunday we got up late, read the papers, went for a great walk in the countryside and then cooked a late Sunday lunch before consuming as much period drama and Antique roadshow as is possible for two people. It seems like an eternity ago that we were spending every waking moment and even a few sleeping moments, worrying about ripeness and disease in the vines, transport of grapes, would we have enough pickers and enough Lassagne to feed them with.
In the end - everybody that worked that day was brilliant if for no other reason but putting up with two overtired stressed out vineyard owners. Photos were taken by our friend Bernie Brough.



The result of all this labour  - 2500 or so litres of excellent quality white wine that is now taking a rest after first fermentation. Today, I'll be doing a final spray in the vineyard and begins all over again. Winter pruning starts from the end of nex…