These are the jaw bones of a boar which I found at the Pradel vineyard, you can see the fang on one of them. I do not understand how they got there.
We were 45% down on the 2020 harvest because of the frost in March. Frost effects younger vines more than older ones because they have bud break earlier and are more advanced in the growth and therefore risk a greater loss. Also they do not have the same reserves that older vines have as they are still developing and reserves are in the trunk and roots of the plant. Therefore they do not come back as well as an older vine. You are allowed to compensate for the older vineyards with grapes from the younger ones to a limited degree.
Older vines do not produce as much as younger vines and in older vineyards we have lost some vines which again means that you get a lower yield from an older vineyard. At the moment we are replacing missing vines, in the past we were not able to do it for two reasons: cost and time.
During the wine crisis 2003-13 we could not afford to replace vines. After that we started replacing with noble varieties vineyards that we did not consider it worthwhile to convert to wire: Cinsault.
During the crisis we could not afford to employ someone to help us with the pruning and we spent a fair amount of time establishing the new vineyards. Also I was spending a lot of time in the UK.
Age of Vineyards Contracted to the Cooperative
67% over 27 years.
34% over 45 years.
1% 91 years.
11% 60-70 years.
12% 50-60 years.
20% 45-50 years.
34% 27-31 years.
10% 10-16 years.
11% 5-8 years.
I planted 55% of the surface area and others that are not contracted.
The Syrah at Font du Clos which is classified at Cotes du Rhone Village has a surface of 0.742 of a hectare we are allowed to produce 3,042.2 litres we got 1,451.6 which is 48%. The amount of time and money that I have invested in that vineyard is considerable, for example one year we worked 6 days a week for a period of 4 weeks training the vines.
This is a ladybird hibernating in a bracket at Font du Clos, slightly out of focus. they select places where they will get the sun, this is east facing.
A couple of weeks ago I saw two deer there, that is not good news since I had damage on a replacement that was too high for a rabbit so I thought that a hare was responsible.
They were grazing on land that has not been planted yet and that I could not plough because of the conditions of the H.V.E. scheme.
The electronic relevage stopped working on my tractor in June, relevage is the lifting of the two arms at the back of a tractor that you use to carry equipment: sprays, ploughs, etc. When I bought the tractor it was the first Renault model that had it I did not know that at the time and I would not have been keen because it is not the first time it has failed. The advantage with electronic is that it is very precise. On the first occasion I replaced it with a knew one 1,000€, on the second occasion I had a reconditioned one 800€ (part exchange you have to give them your old one) and this time I bought a reconditioned one that was 900€ but I had to wait. I could get a new one straight away at 1,900€ but I decided to wait. It did not come till mid August by then I was preparing for the harvest so it was not the priority.
The date on the one I had was 2003, the replacement was 1999 it could have been my original !
After the harvest I ploughed the vineyards, the soil had been compressed by the passage of the harvesting machine getting the vineyards clean during this period is good as they stay clean over the winter and when it rains the water does not run off. I finally fitted the unit and it did not work this October/November, the sensors needed to be replaced, the original one may not have been faulty... Instead I used an old plough that I have on an older tractor.
At this time of the year I am normally thinking about pre-pruning but because of the frost I was not that keen to start early. The later you prune the later you get bud break. Also I had other work.
I finally got it working mid-January I needed it to carry one of the pre-pruner machines that I had, total cost about 1,500€.
On the first morning of the harvest someone who was harvesting next to me had a machine breakdown at 6am, the mechanic did not arrive until 9am. As a result I had an audience for 3 hours, compliments on how well my machine was working ! The motherboard had gone down on his machine it costs 6,000€ for a new one, he did not get a new one but a second hand one.
When the relevage stopped working I still had a third of my vineyards to plough and once you get past June it gets harder to plough as the soil becomes compact with the heat. So I welded some scrap metal that I had on an old plough, it made the plough 1.75 meters wide and the vines are planted at 2 metres. So I planned to go through very slowly, the problem with some of the older vines is that they are at least 25cm wide at the base where the graft is. This is why I left some play where the plough is attached to the tractor. When the outer edge touched a vine it pushed the plough away. When it was not the edge but halfway in it pulled the tractor to the vine and then I had problems getting away from it.
There was a small strip left with weeds has this plough is not has efficient has the more recent one.
The parts that go into the ground are call socs you can see two different types on the photo above, the one on the left is one made of composite materiel they do not wear, the traditional ones towards the center only last for about one passage through all of our vineyards. The new ones cost a lot more but their resistance make them worth it.
Assemblage Deux 2015
This is the only red wine that I have left in France that is available now in the UK we occasionally have a bottle, it requires airing: open the bottle at least several hours before drinking, the best option is to decant it, you do not need a decanter you can just pour it into another bottle or saucepan and then back in, even better if you have another empty wine bottle that has been rinsed when finished poor half of the wine in it and leave it for 24 hours without stoppers.
It is 6 years old but still has plenty of ageing potential 60% Mourvedre and 40% Syrah, the Syrah has been barrel aged. When a wine is in a barrel it matures more quickly, air (oxygen))passes through the wood and carbon dioxide escapes. The carbon dioxide is produced during the fermentation process. It is important to have a fairly high concentration of carbon dioxide in white and rose wines because it gives the sensation of freshness to the wine but in a red it gives some sharpness that you do not want, especially if there is tannin present. It also restricts the take up of oxygen, red needs a small amount of oxygen to develop.
The Mourvedre had been stored in a stainless steel vat before it was bottled and I tend to try to keep high levels of carbon dioxide so I use less so2.
There are three of our wines here:
On the right Les Lones Syrah 2020 which has just been in stainless steel, we are tasting it to test what the Co2 is like on nose and mouth, we want it to drop before we bottle. I also have equipment to test the level.
The middle two bottles are Assemblage Deux 2015 which we plan to have with a meal.
On the left is Les Amariniers Mourvedre 2019 which has been in a barrel for nearly a year now.
Where they have been stored the temperature rarely goes above 5C this is why I have placed them above our fireplace for more than 24hrs to warm them up and expose them to air and allow any Co2 to escape. With the Mourvedre I want to taste to see what the So2 level is like on nose and mouth.
Before using the barrels you sterilize them by burning sulfur sticks inside them which impregnates sulfur in the wood then to the wine when you fill the barrel.
I am also curious to compare them.
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