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Displaying items by tag: vintage 2011
Friday, 05 October 2012 12:58

Final 2012 Vintage Update!

Final Vintage 2012 Update!


So it is all over for another year!  All our grapes are safely in the winery, and just before the most significant rain that we have experienced since the spring!


Having picked Mourvedre for rosé we carried on and brought in our Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.   Both varieties had reached phenolic maturity earlier than previous years with wonderfully concentrated fruit flavours.  A few days later the 7 remaining rows of Mourvedre were picked for red wine and it was over.  That weekend we received 70mm of rain, which is about 12% of our annual rainfall!   We were hugely relieved not to have any more grapes in the vineyards!


The final varieties will be taken off their skins this week having enjoyed a slightly longer maceration time.   They have almost completed their primary and malolactic fermentation so will be literally finished by the end of next week.   It has been a good year, a big year for us and a successful vintage.  Thank you to those who have followed our vintage videos and blogs, we look forward to showing you the finished product in due course!

Published in Wine talks
Monday, 10 October 2011 10:02

End of Vintage 2011!

End of vintage 2011!


The excitement of the first few nights of the harvest seem like a long time ago!  It is now two months later and the team at Sainte Rose is feeling tired, but pleased with quite literally the fruits of our labour!  We have picked 12 different grape varieties from our 33 hectares of vines.  Most of the early white varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Muscat) have finished fermentation, they have been racked and are essentially ‘finished’ wine.  The later varieties (Marsanne and Roussanne) are finishing their fermentation in oak barrels where they will remain to age gently!  Likewise for the reds, the Merlot and Grenache are finished and the Syrah is finishing and aging in oak barrels.  The last red varieties (Mourvedre and Petit Verdot) came off their skins today and that really signals the end of the heavy harvest work.  The winemaking continues and when all is said and done we will have around 1300 hectolitres of wine in our winery.


We have had a good harvest.  The weather has been extremely kind, with warm, dry, clear days and cooler nights.  The grapes have therefore had ideal maturing conditions and came into the winery clean, ripe and juicy!  Yields as always have varied by variety but the quality throughout has been marvellous!


Ten years on and there are always lessons to be learned during the harvest and new techniques to try.  We have high hopes for the 2011 vintage, the first of which will be bottled during the month of November.  Hope you enjoy sampling it!

Published in Wine talks
Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:39

The Last Whites!

The Last Whites


Marsanne and Roussanne are the last two white grape varieties that we havest at Sainte Rose.  They originate from the Rhone valley, which has a similar climate to the Languedoc, thus they thrive in the warm, dry growing conditions that prevail in our area.  We choose to let these two varieties mature a bit longer so that sugar levels are a little higher.   The reason for this is that these are not fresh, light varieties, they are rich and luxurious, very well-suited to fermentation and aging in oak barrels.  This is the style of juice that we are looking for for our Barrel Selection/La Nuit Blanche Roussanne and Le Marin Blanc Marsanne/Roussanne blend.


These two varieties are very often blended because of their similar styles along with the other white Rhone variety Viognier.  At Sainte Rose as with all our other varieties, we vinify each variety separately, only embarking on final blends when the wines are finished.


This was the last of the overnight picking of whites.  There remains only two red varieties left to harvest before vintage 2011 comes to an end.

Published in Wine talks
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 12:48

2011 Sauvignon Blanc Harvest

Sauvignon Blanc 16th of August, 2011


Second in the picking order as usual is Sauvignon Blanc.  We pick it early to get the best possible varietal character in what is usually a cooler climate grape.  We’re looking for fresh, green, almost herbaceous flavours for the first pick.  Sweeter, fruit flavours come a little later, but we can’t leave it too long.   If you pick this variety too late it loses all interesting flavour, becoming flat and flabby!


The first two picks resulted in juice at around 10.4 on the refractometer, which will ferment to dry at just over 11% alcohol.  Next pick scheduled for Friday.  More then ………..


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Published in Wine talks
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 15:20

Picking While Beziers Parties!

Picking while Beziers parties!


For a lot of our neighbours, friends and aquaintences in this area the biggest party of the year is approaching.  It is the Feria in Beziers, a very Occitan/Spanish celebration that surrounds the Corrida or bull fights, which are staged in the ancient stone arena in the centre of the town.  Beziers shares this heritage with other southern French towns such as Nimes and Arles, where the Spanish influence is very strong.   Thursday 11th August is the start of the celebrations.


The team at Sainte Rose will however be celebrating quite a different event on Thursday evening.  While Beziers celebrates the first night of the Feria, partying all night, Sainte Rose will be picking their first grapes of the harvest 2011.  We’ll be up all night too, bringing the first lot of Chardonnay into the winery!  Rest assured however that we will raise a toast, around the press, to vintage 2011 and our compatriots at the Feria!


Chardonnay is often the first variety we pick, followed swiftly by Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat.  We do not however pick each variety all at once.  We take some fruit early for fresh flavours and good acidity, then a later pick for sweeter flavours and richness of mouthfeel, the idea being to have the full flavour spectrum of each variety in the winery at the end of the vintage.  The juice and subsequent wine will be blended at a much later stage depending on the style of wine we are producing.


Our decision to pick each variety is based on subjective and objective tests.  The subjective test is, quite simply tasting the berries on the vine.  Are they soft and do they have flavour or are they still hard and acidic?  The objective test is using a refractometer, which through refraction follows the ripeness of grapes by measuring must weight.  With the refractometer one can see the sugar content of a sample of berries and with that, one can estimate final alcohol percentage.


So as those partying in Beziers consume wine, we will be producing it and so begins our most important period of the year!

Published in Wine talks