Incredible weather, healthy grapes. The year to try our hands at Rosé.
It wasn’t worth it to call in a harvester for a small quantity (only 1000 liters…) so we opted for an old fashioned hand harvest. As we began snipping, the eldest of our team piped: “Haven’t done this in 30 years!”
Indeed. Except for wines with big budgets and very large teams, (Medoc, St. Emilion…) hand harvesting in the rest of the Bordeaux region has almost gone the way of folklore. Easy to understand why: labor intensive, costly, time consuming… and a little tough on your back and knees.
Anyway, we’re fools for dying traditions, so we rounded up a few neighbors with generous hearts and strong backs. The morning was a relay game in the Cabernet Francs, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots – selecting, cutting, schlepping to the little trailer hooked up to our car, pouring the grapes basket by basket into the little press in the winery and lots of fussing to keep the juice cold. (To prevent oxidation.)
A morning of laughter and winemaking talk with our expert neighbors, dotted by a few muscle-groans. We finished just as it grew hot, just before the point of high fatigue.
A break for an old fashioned hand-harvester lunch: roast pork with garlic, epeutre from Provence en vinaigrette, salad and cheese and cake… quaffed with La Tourbeille 2011. We said goodbye to our dear volunteers (who had their own grapes to focus on) and spent the rest of the day cleaning the winery and worrying about our cold system.
Miss pale pink Rosé is now in excellent condition for a wee one, and dozing patiently. Like most things maturing quietly in the dark, we won’t know much about her for weeks. That’s ok. We’ll be fretting about the Red harvest very soon.