Salt & Old Vines

By Richard W H Bray

A real taste of winemaking - true stories about a wine, the people who make it and the place it's made

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Vintage 2017 diary iv

We sat in the Irish bar in Argelès after the harvest party and nursed pints of Guinness. The boys played in the lounge section, drinking Orangina with a dollop of grenadine. Andy, Kirsten, Julien and I chatted about the party, about the drunk folks and the really drunk folks, and the few who overstayed their welcome. It was a good day, not without hitches, but overall a good day. The night was Irish beer and bad vietnamese food. 

The last of the fruit came in a week ago Monday. The Carignan for Red Socks and the Mas Cristine blend. It's well into its ferment now. There's a tank of it, and a couple of barrels as well. We pump the tank over twice a day and punch down the barrels by hand. About halfway through working the wine over the cap, the smell becomes wonderful. Fresh, ripe cherries with incredible floral notes. 

I was a little hungover the other morning. Laurent at the Sola makes a mean gin and tonic. Not quite Philippe at the Templiers level, but not far off. Somewhere between a triple and a quadruple. Washing that down with a few bottles of wine at dinner wasn't the best life choice, with a day of racking wines from one tank to another ahead. The crickets in the morning sounded much like the crickets in the evening, but felt louder. 

Yesterday, I put together the new blend for the Rivesaltes Ambré. I had to collect a thousand litres of wine from 32 different barrels with a 9 litre bucket and a hose. It worked, but it took pretty much all day. Some barrels I needed 40 litres from, some 30, and some 20. It's weird, using a bucket to move about something that will eventually be in a nice bottle with a label. But sometimes only the simplest of tools will work. I'm sure there are fancy wineries out there with hand-pumps that measure volume as you go, or some such neat trick, but round these parts, the bucket and siphon hose still reign supreme.

Today we press off our last two tanks of Grenache. I fly out on Sunday, which seems so soon.

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