Showing posts from 2012

Glass Half Full. 2012 Vintage.

Thinking back on the difficulties of  growing grapes in 2012 anybody sane would have just put the secateurs away, polished the tractor and opened a bottle of 2011 Rosé in memory of sunnier times and then sat in front of the telly for the whole "summer". All the way from late April to the end of September it has been like a stuck record - as long as the weather improves from now then all will be well but, it never did. Twice the work for half the crop. That just about sums up 2012 for us. But looking back we do have reason to be quite happy. The site has withstood all the ravages of the worst summer for 100 years and still produced 1.5 tons of clean ripe quality grapes that will make quality wine. This is remarkable considering some illustrious names have made nothing at all and others are up to 90% down. You can always tell that it's a low volume year when we drop off the crop at the winery. There are normally stressed people in various states of sleep deprivation from …

Why the price of wine will go up and up.

Things are changing in the world of volume wine trading which makes my job quite interesting at the moment. A series of factors have come into play that mean that wine as a whole is going to become a bit more of a luxury item for most people rather than the first thing that they thoughtlessly reach for from the fridge after a hard day at the office. This is not just down to high taxation although this plays a part. What used to happen was that if the price of something like Chilean Cabernet went up because a poor harvest or more likely foreign exchange movement, then buyers would just drop it and move onto whatever else was cheap which could be Spanish Tempranillo or California Merlot, it didn't matter.
  For years there has been over supply particularly from the European powerhouses of France, Italy and Spain. Growers have been desperate to get anybody to buy their grapes but also with the full knowledge that if nobody did then a friendly EU official would come along and take th…

Launch of the 2011 Wine

Jo Trendall at alliterative Lettuce and Lovage in Langport has just sent us the menu for our 2011 still wine  launch on June 6th. Can't wait it sounds wonderful and hopefully our wines will do the food justice in a great riverside setting. Apparently we are up to 15 people already so looks like it could be a sellout. We will also be serving our Two Tuns Shiraz which in someways is where it all started - buying grapes in the Riebeek valley in South Africa and making wine at the local cooperative with our friend Zakkie Bester. We really should revive this, at almost seven years old the wine is still developing. If you want to book then the details are at the bottom of the post.

I wonder if there will be a few surprised faces when they see that this years white wine is pink.

Smith and Evans Wine launch & tasting Evening
6th June 2012

Warm bread, cannelini bean and olive puree

To Start (rose)
Mackerel fillet, rhubarb compote, Israeli couscous, mint

Main Course (Shiraz)
Braised s…

Natural Wine

An often used cliché is that to become a great abstract artist you have to first learn to be a great figurative one. To mix clichés we are very much learning to walk before we can run both in the vineyard and the winery. Making wine from scratch is such a long process that you often rethink and change tack as you learn what you land is like, how the vines settle in and the effects of various winemaking techniques. The orthodox view is that you need to have massive control  over every step of  the process and that any deviation will cause disaster.An alternative  is a growing movement that is making minimal intervention wines. In the 1970's and 80's you would probably have a hit rate of 30-40% faulty wines and many of these new wines remind me of those days. I think that most of us just want to have something that we know is going to be tasty.

After harvest this year the sun continued to shine for a couple of weeks and some of the grapes that were too unripe at harvest matured …