Monday, July 25, 2011

The Call Of The Vines

the cave and vines of Vieux Chevrol, Neac, France
Here is where I will be for the next week or so. Away from computers, television...I will have a radio. This evening, I take a train to Libourne and then a short drive to Chateau Vieux Chevrol which is in Neac. This is the Lalande Pomerol area, we are on the border of the Pomerol and St. Emilion regions. If you are at all knowledgable about the Bordeaux wine region, Vieux Chevrol is a short bike ride from the famous Petrus vineyards.
I have been working with Vieux Chevrol for the last 9 years. The cultivation is totally dependent on the conditions each year. To insure the integrity and unique character of the wines, they are subject to very strict rules, no fertilization and no watering. The personality of the particular wine is derived from the composition of the soil it is grown on. The sugar content of the grapes is determined by the rainfall and the amount of sun each season.
Then it becomes a matter of technique. Mixing of varieties, aging time in barrels, the amount of oak tannin derived from the barrel process. Vieux Chevrol is a very natural product. Part of the technique is the tradition of cultivation. The operations are all done by hand, and I am proud to say that I am one of the hands. 
I was there in May for l'empamphrage, to trim the vines. Usually if it is necessary, around the 14th of July, there is a second operation called the Vendange Verte, the green harvest. The excess bunches of green immature grapes are cut away and the foliage is trimmed to insure good light and air circulation.
This year, because of the early spring, a heat wave and drought like weather, it was unsure if the Vendange Verte would be necessary...Then I got an email asking if I could start tomorrow morning!
I don't think that any of the other folks I normally work with were able to do this at such short notice, so it will be a small crew for 21 hectares of vines. I think I will be gone for almost 2 weeks. 
I hope I can take pictures. I hope the rest of the world stays relatively calm while I am gone.
A bientot, mes amies......
my world for the next 2 weeks


Laci the Chinese Crested said...

Buvez le bon vin!

I was thinking about you this weekend when we drank a "claret".

squatlo said...

Some people have all the damn luck...

microdot said...

Interestingly enough, I drank some great was durring a taste test for the 2009 Vieux Chevrol bottling.
We had the wine in bottles, then straight from the bottom of the tanks. It was so interesting to taste the difference. The unbottled wine was much softer and fruitier. I think though the 2009 will be a great investiment. My impression of the grapes for 2011 is very good. The drought seems to have created a condition with great quantity of very early maturing high sugar content fruit.
I alos might get a chance to dress up in period costume for next years re enactement of the Battle oc Castillion, which was the last battle of the 100 years war and the birth of modern artillery tactics.