June 26, 2008
At last summer is here. In Burgundy everyone seems to be out working the vines; in bikini tops in Meursault and Montrachet and in yoke and harness here in Chambertin!
A Comtoise draught horse pulls a plough through the vineyard
June 10, 2008
The insubstantial (but far from inconsequential) flowers of my little vine have appeared and the tiny fruits are now set. All being well the grapes will ripen over the next three months barring late frost, drought, rot, hail, wind… Few commercially grown grapevines have a playful kitten and a greedy black Labrador to contend with as mine does; so one-hundred days from now, will there be any fruit left to pick?
Later this month I’ll be travelling to Burgundy to continue my research; from the Côte d’Or with its famously expensive red and white wines down to Mâcon to taste its golden chardonnays… and finding some very special places to stay along the way.
June 3, 2008
Half a mile from Clos de l’Epinay the TGV from Paris hurtles through a mile-long tunnel built under the limestone plateau of the Vouvray vignoble. All is tranquil though at this walled clos, one of many in the appellation. Luc Dumange cultivates 16 hectares of chenin blanc, known here as blanc de Touraine or pineau de la Loire; his vines are tended following the guidelines for sustainable agriculture. Luc took over from his father in 2000 and produces a range of wine styles: dry, mediun dry, sweet, and some truly delicious sparkling wine. Natural viticulture and rigorous selection are complemented by modern methods: the winery is equipped with new stainless steel, thermo-regulated vats. Make sure you try the sparkling mousseux wines that come in three guises: dry, medium dry and rosé. An ideal aperitif wine – the Tradition has a perfumed, fresh aroma of citrus and apple. The Tête de Cuvée is more concentrated with a foamy mousse and a deep finish more suited to fine fish dishes cooked in the Loire’s version of a classic Champagne sauce.
Clos de l’Epinay, Vouvray.