The end-of-year festivities are approaching and while at home we are planning food and wines to share with family and friends, the work continues in a different way in our vineyards.
Winter in the vineyard
The vineyards are bare at this time of year and the land lies dormant. Winter is an important season for vines - the sap returns back into the roots and the plant rests before the growing season recommences. Now is a good time to replenish the soil and work on maximising the microbial life within. To this end, the sheep are being returned to roam around the vines, before it gets to cold. They munch on the weeds - a natural way to manage competitive grasses - and leave their manure, which becomes a natural compost to fertilise our vines. The vineyard team are overseeing this regenerative approach - minimising inputs and protecting plant and insect biodiversity to encourage optimum microbial life in our soils. We also minimise tilling in the vineyards, which means we reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, further increasing the soil's capacity to sequester carbon.
Winter in the winery
Our Albarino, un-oaked Solas Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc wines are being bottled and shipped, and it's just in time, as our 2022 vintage has long sold out! The top cuvées like La Verité Viognier and La Croix Chardonnay have been racked into mixed use barrels to continue their maturation and it'll be at least this time next year before they are bottled. The reds are also in barrel, or maturing on their lees in tank - for the top cuvées like Bardou and Larmes des Fées, the fermentations aren't long finished but on first assessment, they are vibrant and bright. The fruit quality of Syrah was really high this year, so we look forward to following their evolution in barrel.
Preparing for the festive season
We will hopefully get a few days skiing this year, after the holidays - it's a perfect time to take Laurent away from the vineyards, as there is a pause in nature and in the office for the festive period. Here's hoping for a good season of snow - last year the Alps suffered in January, with above-average temperatures - and snow was only on the higher pistes. Another worrying sign of global warming...
At home, we start leaning towards reds at this time of year, although a crisp, dry Alaina rosé is always our aperitif for welcoming friends and family to our home. We'll share some food and wine pairings with you over the next couple of weeks and some traditional French dishes that you might like to try!