Archive for the ‘Beaujolais Harvest’ Category

Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau 2013, Château de Grandmont, Blacé

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Chris Piper reports from Beaujolais:

“Driving back through the vineyards this morning, you could smell the ferments in the air, blowing in on the breeze from the local cuvages. This has been an exciting and unusual vintage, in as much that it started at the very end of September and is unlikely to finish until 12th October. This is over three weeks’ later than in 2012 but the results have been extraordinarily encouraging because the three weeks before the harvest saw almost unbroken sunshine which helped to ripen the grapes to such a degree that our Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau was picked at a natural alcohol level of 12.2%, meaning that it was not necessary to use any sugar to boost the alcohol. Besides this, the acidity levels are such that there is a wonderful freshness to accompany a profound fruitiness. A long hang-time on the vines has also ensured that the pigments were very deeply coloured, giving the wines wonderful depth of   classic ’Gamay purple’. We have had one day of rain (when we had to stop picking) but otherwise, we managed to gather in our harvest without any worries of dilution.

The style of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau is going to be one of bold black fruit and raspberry flavours on the palate with distinctive floral bouquets. Already, the wines that we have pressed have a succulent, rich fruitiness that  literally explodes on the palate and lingers long after. We have purposefully made sure that their alcohol content stays as ’light’ as possible so that they are refreshing and exceptionally gouleyant (eminently drinkable). They will be bottled a fortnight before shipment, giving the wines enough time to properly settle and ‘form’ in the bottle. They will be amongst some of the most classic Beaujolais Nouveau of recent years and we can think of no better way of brightening up a chilly mid-November period, drinking them with warming late-autumn stews, roast lamb or a plate of charcuterie or cheese. These are hand-crafted wines of the highest calibre.”

Chris Piper makes the wines at Château de Grandmont & Château du Pavé (Brouilly) every year.

For Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau 2013 prices please email us here for further details : sales@christopherpiperwines.co.uk

 

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Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 Château de Grandmont

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

During the first week in September, I phoned Yannick de Vermont, who runs Château de Grandmont on a day-to-day basis and suggested that we delayed the picking until 19th September. The Ban des Vendanges in the Beaujolais region had been set for 7th September but when reviewing the  maturation stats for the region (and particularly in the Blacé area), it was blatantly clear that we could afford to wait for quite a bit longer, especially as the grapes were in fine health but were not  phenolically ripe (i.e. sugar levels in the stalks and pips were still too low). We were the last in the commune of Blacé to pick and I received quite a lot of leg-pulling for this, especially in our local café and bakers! Whether it was a result of simple good luck or not, those growers who picked later in the Beaujolais region have been able to make some richly coloured, concentrated, fruit-driven wines with some very pronounced red-fruit and floral aromas. The grapes at Grandmont were picked at a naturally high potential alcoholic degree of between 12% and 12.8%., which means that there was no need for chaptalisation (the adding of sugar to help boost alcoholic degree). The only downside with the 2012 vintage is the ridiculously small quantity that has been produced across the region as a whole. Early estimations are that the crop is between 30-40% below last year’s – mainly due to a cold flowering period in June, hailstorms that attacked the Beaujolais on no less than four occasions and cold and dull weather during the crucial bud-set.

The arrival of Beaujolais (Villages) Nouveau is an excellent excuse to hold a party and have a bit of fun in the dull and dismal opening weeks of winter. This is a seriously made wine for an entertaining evening, when our minds thoughts should go back to the warm summery months prior to the vintage!

Limited Availability : Beaujolais Nouveau 2012

 

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We’ve finished!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

 All the grapes have now been picked and we got the hectare of vines in Morgon Corcelette in the vat literally 12 hours before the rain started this morning! Our gamble to wait until the last minute just paid off. La Corcelette is relatively high in altitude and is late ripening, so the extra week was really necessary.

It seems very empty here now without the chatter of the harvesters in the courtyard. The girls who have been cooking for 25 harvesters have cleaned up and gone back to their own kitchens and normal life which means that the winery team have to fend for themselves. Still, today, we lunched at Chez Zombie in the village – great frogs legs!Tomorrow is my last day before I head back to Devon. There’s still plenty to do, notably a vast pile of admin which the French authorities specialise in.The wines really are rather good, but I will tell you more about them when I get back. Bon fin des vendanges!

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Last day of harvesting

Monday, September 20th, 2010

It’s all been put safely in the vats! We finished picking at Chateau de Grandmont yesterday afternoon under clear blue skies. The grapes that we picked for the three traditional vin de garde vats were near-perfect, without any signs of rot. Although the potential alcohol degree, at around 11.5°, is not as high as 2009, it is very acceptable and the wines will require very little chaptalisation (the addition of sugar) to boost them to 12.5°.The musts are tasting fresh and are very much red-fruit based. Yesterday, we  pressed  two vats for the Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau and they have a rich, intense purple colour and exciting fruit and floral aromas. They also have considerably more depth and succulence than we anticipated.

 At Chateau du Pavé, we are expecting to press the first vat tomorrow morning and have high expectations. Let’s hope they’re well-founded!

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Foot power!

Friday, September 17th, 2010

It’s back to the ‘old days’ again as I have decided to incorporate a bit of déléstage in to the fermentation this year. Basically, that means you empty your fermenting vat of all its liquid and get a couple of expendable people (in this case my daughter, Clare, and her boy friend, Josh) to get in to the vat with the remaining grapes and to spend half an hour crushing the ‘cap’ in their wellies. It sounds great fun to start with but gets a tad boring and tiring after a while! Still, they did a great job as this extracts colour and helps prolong the fermentation by releasing further sugar from within the grapes.

Tomorrow, we’re picking the remaining parcels at Chateau de Grandmont for our traditional Beaujolais-Villages vats. The weather is set well and the grapes are now mega-ripe. Let’s hope there’s enough acidity still.

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