Although the weather was fine over the flowering period of the vines, there were frequent, blustery winds. These impaired pollination and reduced the “set” so that there was a small crop. The rest of the season, however, was excellent and we were able to harvest beautifully ripened grapes. The naturally small crop has given this wine good concentration.
The Vineyard and vines
The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil on north facing terraces. Being in the most sheltered and warmest part of our vineyard they receive extra heat and we removed the leaves from around the bunches early in the summer to accentuate this effect. Some of the blocks are over a quarter of a century old and are on their own roots.
The Harvest and Winemaking
We use the traditional methods which are employed to make Bordeaux’s celebrated red wine, Claret. After picking in mid-May the grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained from the tanks and sprayed back over the surface of the cap of floating grape skins to keep it moist and healthy. After fermentation ceased the tanks were sealed and the grape remnants allowed to steep or macerate in the newly formed wine for several weeks, the exact period being judged by daily tasting. The wine was then drained and put into French oak barriques. In the summer after harvest it underwent natural spontaneous malo-lactic, or secondary, fermentation. It was in these barriques for 2 years, during which time it underwent several rackings, enabling it to clarify naturally. The various batches were then blended according to taste (50% merlot, 40% malbec, 5% cabernet franc and 5% cabernet sauvignon) before bottling.
On release, the wine has a deep, ruby hue. There is a dense core of fruit with hints of purple plums, blackberries, black cherries, cassis, liquorice and spice in the bouquet and flavour. It is chunky and muscular in the palate with a frame-work of well-ripened, fine-grained tannins which flow through the wine and help draw out the lingering after-taste.
Wine in moderation is a natural health food