Friday, 22 October 2010
Thames Valley report, harvest time 2010
Having started so promisingly, the grape harvest in the Thames Valley has not turned out well according to insiders. Our Bacchus crop withered on the vine (powdery mildew). We regretted not having sprayed it so were relieved when we were told that the result would have been the same even if we had.
Our Triomphe d'Alsace however was as hale and hearty as ever (such an obliging grape). We have discovered that it makes wonderful grape juice so we juiced a small fraction of the reasonably large crop. It would have been larger had we picked a week earlier but the birds know a thing or two about ripeness and had helped themselves to about 20% of the crop.
Despite its resistance to weather and disease we are losing faith in Triomphe which is being described ever more frequently as going out of favour. Tasting even commercial examples we have to agree it really doesn't make very appealing wines. This year we have decided to try something completely different and have asked our winemaker to attempt to produce a 'blanc de noirs' or white wine from our red grapes. Our thinking is that to do so the juice has to be forced through a carbon filter which removes a lot of flavour. Now you're taking!
This winter we are going to do some work on the soil, plant as many new varieties as we can obtain from our esoteric list and see over the next few years which produce viable fruit. We may then make a 'field blend' while replacing the failures with the successful varieties. We promise to spray the Bacchus and if our 'blanc de noirs' doesn't work out, keep the Triomphe for juice which is popular with certain members of the family.
Another report will be posted in the new year when we get to taste our 'white' wine.