After a long, dry summer Harvest 2016 is underway here at Domaine Boutinot, Cairanne. It’s a busy time so here are just a few pictures from the past few days……
In Cairanne berries on our Syrah vines are ripening and entering the véraison stage, when the grapes’ skins turn from green to purple and the texture changes from hard to soft as the berries ripen. As we tend to the vines during this crucial stage we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on what’s happened so far in the vineyard during the 2014 vintage.
Our Cairanne cellar houses 23 demi-muids (large 600 litre barrels) which we use more and more to achieve finesse and balance to our wines during maturation. So important are these large barrels to the subtle oak discernible in our final wine that we wanted to trace their creation from forest to cellar. So we ventured into the deep, dark wood to find out more…..
Ever since 2009 when our winemaker Eric Monnin first stood in Boutinot Rhône’s highest plots – La Pauline and Les Six Terrasses – he knew that there was a chance to make truly magical wine. That dream is now a reality with the release of ‘Les Six’, Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2011 – a unique blend of six varieties rather than the commonplace two (Grenache Noir and Syrah). This is the story of ‘Les Six’…
Outside our cellar the almond tree has burst into flower; the bees are buzzing and the air is noisy with the excitement brought by the Spring equinox. In the vineyard all is quiet though and we must wait a little longer for our vines to bud and flower. As we wait, we savour the fruits of our most recent harvest – olive oil from the ancient tree in Saint Andéol.
Generally we don’t subscribe to the ‘out with the old; in with the new’ mantra. Vieilles vignes (old vines), well tended and low yielding are generally a source of pride among vineyard owners and we are no exception. Yet sometimes we have to make the decision to clear a plot, dig up the vines and start anew – the vignerons equivalent of de-cluttering if you will. This was the case recently in our beautiful Saint Andéol vineyard…
A Happy New Year to you all from Cairanne; we hope you had a good break and savoured some wines of the Southern Rhône over the holiday season. While it’s tradition on some parts of the world to greet the New Year with a hearty rendition of Auld Lang Syne – the meaning of which we understand to be ‘good times long past’ we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on a few of our own ‘good times past’ of 2012.
That’s it! Our harvest is over – in the vineyards at least. All our vines have been picked, all by hand of course, finishing in style with our oldest Grenache Noir from Saint Andéol, some of which date back to the immediate post-war year of 1946. But that’s not the end, nor the beginning of the end – it’s just the end of the beginning. The hard work continues in the cellar every day. All our fermenters are full, so the long days continue to stretch from dawn to dusk monitoring every step of the fermentation as nature takes its course, aided only by our regular remontages and manual pigeages.
October’s here, the harvest is still in full swing and we’re still standing! After a cold night the weather today is again warm and sunny and our team of pickers went high up the slopes of La Montée du Ventabren to harvest old vine Grenache. Back at La Ruche (Cairanne) our cellar is gradually filling up and grapes are slowly turning into wine in our open top tronconiques (wooden fermentation vessels). Today the fermentation in tronconique 10, filled with incredible 53 year old Grenache Noir, came to its natural end and the tank has been racked, filling the cellar with enticing cherry and spice aromas.
The Boutinot Rhône harvest 2012 begins….at last! So far the weather has been perfect (sunny clear days with a good mistral blowing) and now it’s full steam ahead in the vineyard and the cellar. Days are busy and long but satisfying….no time for a long post so here are some images from the past week. A full 2012 vintage report will follow soon.