News Archive 2008
26/11/08 - New Wines ReleasedAt the end of November we bottled a number of new wines plus the remainder of the Three Peaks, which has been out of stock since July. The new wines are :
One Block White 2007 - A drier, more savoury version of One Block Muscat which is better with food.
One Block Red 2007 - This is still mainly Grenache, like the 2006, but nearly 75% of the wine was matured in used oak barrels, making it smoother, rounder and more complex than last year.
La Terre Promise 2007 - Named after a Bruce Springsteen song, this dry white is pure Macabeu fermented and aged in oak. It's a complex wine with a lot of character. Only 700 bottles made.
Motus 2006 - This wine is made from 5 barrels of Mourvedre that I stored for 24 months before bottling. Many wine lovers regard it as the best wine I've made.
16/11/08 - The "Back to My Roots" TourFor a week I "zipped up my boots" like Odyssey and went on a tour of wine dinners and tastings in a few of my old haunts around England.
Starting in Wynchcombe, where Lydia used to go to playgroup, I did a wine pairing with an extremely well presented 5 course meal at the Wesley House Hotel and Restaurant. I would thoroughly recommend this establishment. It ticks all the boxes. Great atmosphere, great food and friendly but efficient service. Not to mention a recently improved wine list! Thanks to Robert McNulty of Stanton Wines.
Second date was an evening at the Officers Mess in Stafford barracks. I've not actually been there before but I was an officer in the TA for 4 years and it brought back happy memories of army life. Thanks to Liz Gledhill of Oldacre Wines.
Next on to the town I grew up in - Barnsley. Perhaps viewed as the archetypal grim northern town, birthplace of Dicky Bird and Michael Parkinson. What people probably never see is the warmth and honesty of its people - if you really want to know what people think of your wine, do a tasting in Barnsley! And let's not forget the beautiful surrounding countryside. Thanks to June Turner of The Grapevine.
Finally came a trip to Nottingham, where I lived in the late 80s, and a Wine Circle tasting in one of my all-time favourite pubs. The Lincolnshire Poacher. Unfortunately I didn't get chance to indulge in a few pints from their draught selection. But I did meet some serious wine lovers who I hope to keep in contact with for years to come. A great evening with like-minded people. Thanks to Leon Stolarski.
6/11/08 - The German TripJon spend a tiring but enjoyable 3 days in Germany, meeting customers and giving tastings at Rindchen's annual wine fair. We got a really good response from the visitors, quite a few of whom had already bought and become fans of our wines. What people really appreciated was that they could buy an interesting wine, with lots of character, for under €10. Not an easy thing to find.
I think that the Germans found the idea of a crazy Englishman making wine in the deep south of France quite entertaining! For me it was a great opportunity to see how this innovative wine merchant works, to meet fellow producers and to taste wines that I would not normally see - German, Austrian and Italian - Prost!
Wines Selected for the Guide Hachette 2009The Three Peaks and Le Secret have been selected for inclusion in France's most prestigious Wine Guide. The Tahi has beaten expectations and been awarded Two Stars. We are very pleased to have this recognition for our very first vintage. Here is the translated text...
A Cotes du Roussillon which speaks English, Celtic and Maori! It is run by a new-comer, a New Zealand winemaker and oenologist who set up in Trouillas in 2006. Treloar is a celtic name. The logo of the domaine is inspired by Moari motifs, in homage to the owners ancestry.
A good first-entry in the Guide with three oak-aged cuvées blended from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre in different proportions. Lively, liquorice and spicy, LE SECRET 2006 (8 to 11 €) is based mainly on Syrah recommended; THREE PEAKS 2006 (8 to 11 €), fruity and smoky, powerfully built on rounded tannins, also incorporates to its advantage Mourvedre and Grenache also recommended.
The tasting panel most preferred the TAHI 2006 (15 to 23€), the jewel of the estate, (50% syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache). A deep garnet in colour, this 2006 releases aromas of preserved fruit over a base of spice. An ample, tasty, elegantly peppered and toasted wine with presence. Not at all lacking in fruit (ripe red berries). Harmonious and long on the palate, it is already clearly asserting itself but will age well Two Stars.
30/9/08 - Harvest Report2008 has been an interesting year viticulturally. Spring started early after a dry winter. However, in late spring and early summer we had frequent rains which stocked up the ground water for the summer but also affected flowering and fruit-set, meaning that we had fewer grapes on the vines, especially Syrah and Grenache. The wet weather increased the risk of downy mildew but we were able to prevent this from affecting the bunches. On the plus-side it reduced the populations of Eudemis, the grape-berry moth which causes a lot of damage in the region. Oidium was more widespread than usual and for the first time in my experience, it affected the Syrah.
Summer had hot and cool spells which, along with the dry conditions, made harvest date prediction difficult. Normally I choose picking date by the pH rather than sugar content and I found that the acidity in many varieties fell quite quickly. Being small is a bonus when it comes to timing the picking exactly and we were able to harvest the fruit with good acid and sugar balance.
This year we bought a further 2 hectares of old vineyards, adding Carignan blanc, Carignan noir, Grenache gris to our list of varieties as well as the oldest Syrah in the village and more Grenache noir from the 1950s.
Because of the oidium, we carried out a pre-harvest "tirage", cutting off all the bunches that had been affected by the mould. This meant that the pickers had to spend less time selecting during the "real" harvest. The result was that all the grapes going into the vats were in perfect condition - the prerequisite for making great wine.
Yields were definitely down, even on last year's low volumes, resulting in yields between 24 and 29 hl/ha, compared to the appellation limit of 55. However, the quality of the wines at this stage is very promising. The dry Muscat smells and tastes fabulous and all the reds are showing beautiful tannic structure with good fruit concentration. This year I'm making two new wines - a barrel fermented white from Grenache gris, Carignan blanc and Macabeu, and an old-vine Carignan which I shall experiment aging in new and old barrels as well as in stainless steel. It's more work but we love it!