allo allo – pics from the 2012 harvest

It’s Thursday and our turn poker night at our house.  The guys were insepcting the labels for a new wine of Benji’s that’s about to be bottled and then got stuck into drinking some others.

poker tonight
Inspecting Vincent’s labels for a new Benji wine coming soon, ‘Boulevard Napoleon’.  (and a thank you to monsieur p for your hand modelling work)

I was so excited, Benji put a great bottle of white in the freezer and I left them (wringing my hands in anticipation) in the kitchen as they sat down to play.  Half-an-hour later I reminded Benji about his bottle chilling and he held one up and said ‘Oh this one? It’s finished’.  My mouth dropped.  The scoundrels!

Comtes Lafon
Comtes Lafon MEURSAULT-GOUTTE D’OR 2009 Chardonnay

Time to come to the computer and vent some steam.

(I should admit I got to bring a twentieth of a glass of chardonnay with me – so generous of you fellas)

I’d been meaning to put up some long-overdue photos anyway.

So for you,  here’s a round-up of the 2012 grape harvest in our little area, the village of La Liviniere, in the Minervois region.  In our village alone, of approxiamtely 600 people, there are 16 vignerons (winemakers/vineyard owners producing their own brand) and about 150 viticulturalists processing their grapes with the local Cave Co-operative.

vineyards in Calamiac

It’s been a good harvest and people seem pretty happy about what they’ve picked – despite the kaleidoscope of weather.  Essentially, we had good rain, good sun, good wind and the vineyard owners and vignerons are happy to see their babies off the vines and in the tanks.

Gone for the moment the need to check on the weather patterns 24/7 and the worries of the wiles of Nature , it’s now time to work inside the cellars and nurture the juice.

While the viticulteurs take it easier, the vignerons need to keep up a a seven day working week.  It is now that crucial decisions, with their accompanying stress, need to be made regarding the precious juice and its management and development.

However, I can say that the general climate in our house is now pleasantly mild with fewer storms brewing on the front .

But not if the wine isn’t shared around.

calamiac harvest time
calamiac, harvest time
lunchtime break in the village
man, dog, harvester
morning rain in Calamiac
raining one afternoon…
sun over vines
…sunny the next
morning talk at harvester
morning chat by the harvester

lilas on the terrace

calamiac rainbow

lilas rainbow

the neighbouring vigneron's pickers
the neighbouring vigneron’s pickers
the alternative
…the alternative
lilas watching the harvester
watching the harvester from the house, early morning

harvester at home with clothes line

dry stone wall and vines

early morning calamiac
early morning, calamiac

sun over our vines

clouds and vines

what the poker men drank…

no, he didn't win!?!!
up for grabs, but he didn't win!??!!!!

So no, he didn’t win.  Big shame as I was doing the food shopping the next day.  Ah, the trails of a housewife…

They got through a few bottles between them though!  Please note, that all comments on the wines however, are mine!  Even if I wasn’t playing, the wife does get to try the vino!

Here’s the damage:

Chateau Maris Rose 2010

Chateau Maris Rose 2010
There's no label, but this is the left-overs of this delicious Chateau Maris Rose 2010, made from 100% Cinsault (a grape that grows very well in our region, the Langedoc Roussillon). This grape variety is the fourth most planted in France!

Macon-Peronne en Chassigny 2008

Macon-Peronne en Chassigny 2008
Macon-Peronne en Chassigny 2008: nice to try this Burgandy, but I thought it was a bit flat. Sorry guys!

Chateau Maris ‘Continuite de Nature’ 2008

chateau maris carignan 2008
Chateau Maris 'Continuite de Nature' 2008: yes, you've seen this one before. One of our absolute faves at the moment and tasting well everytime.

Chateau Villerambert Julien Minervois Rouge 2004

Chateau Villerambert Julien 2004 Minervois
Chateau Villerambert Julien 2004 Minervois: a very old family winery dating back a few generations, in Caunes-Minervois, one of the most picturesque villages around here, known also very well for its 'Caunes marble' - a rich, deep pink/ochre colour streaked with white. I think this is a syrah/ grenache blend and was enjoyable but the wood a little too strong.

Chateau Maris ‘Las Combes’ 2009

Chateau Maris 'Las Combes' 2009
Chateau Maris 'Las Combes' 2009: one of Benji's again... a great, 100% old vine grenache (yes, the grenache, but under a different guise). Gorgeous nose and fragrant.

Benjamin Darnault AOP Languedoc 2010

Benjamin Darnault AOP Languedoc 2010
Benjamin Darnault AOP Languedoc 2010: a wine from the Naked range. A delicious organic 'big' red from St Chinian. One of my favourite apellations.

There you have it.  If it sounds like I’m biased towards Benji’s reds, it’s correct!  But please be aware that I am very open-minded when it comes to tasting all the wines.  It just happens that I tend to enjoy his.  Fortunate that!