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Harvest finishes but the work doesn't!

It feels like we are now hurtling into autumn! We always notice a sudden change in the vineyards once the equinox has passed - it's like the earth leans a little bit more towards the winter. The leaves are starting to change colour and all of the grapes are now in.

We have just about completed the harvest of our vineyards in both Château Auzines and Château Cazal Viel, which is always a cause for celebration. Although the above picture was taken after the 2019 harvest, it's often a truth that to find Laurent or to get some information, I have to trek through the vines to find him. I tell myself that if I bring him a glass of wine, he might be more inclined to take a little break!

The end of picking does not signify the end of harvest because all of the work transfers into the winery. The whites are in tank - fermentation is largely finished - they are now resting on lees for a few weeks, before bottling begins of the fresh styles like Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino. The Syrah and Grenache grapes have also been harvested, including our Lieux-dits like Bardou and Larmes des Fées. This is the last of the single sites to be harvested, where the old vines (50-60 years) mature much more slowly - these older vines often only produce one bunch per vine of rich, concentrated juice.

Larmes des Fées will come into its own as a wine in the coming months, as winter takes hold. It's a perfect pairing to autumnal dishes like game or marinated, roasted meats. Despite its concentration, Larmes des Fées Syrah has a lightness of touch and the fruit is elegant, aromatic and pure. The backdrop of garrigue and herbal notes adds complexity and lovely savoury notes.

Although i'm over 22 years living in the Languedoc, i'm not as acclimatised as some believe. I much prefer the autumn and winter months, where the mornings are cool and fresh and the longer nights mean that the daytime temperatures are rarely too intense. I look forward to the odd really cold day in winter, especially at Domaine les Auzines where we've occasionally had snow, and I can bring out all of my Irish woollen jumpers and scarves!

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