Thursday 31 January 2019

Grubbing up Bacchus, 2018

Earlier in 2018 we dug up our 26 year old Triomphe D'Alsace vines. They had proved obliging in producing grapes through thick and thin. No treatments necessary. Pruning or no pruning, it was more or less all the same to them. Nice grape juice. Nice vinegar. Terrible wine, whether long maceration, short maceration, wood aged, made as a Rose. Forget it.

What finally did for Triomphe was that we were not the only ones to be unable to make a good wine from this old-fashioned product (Millardet et Graset101-14 OP X Knipperle: a Vitis Riparia x Vitis Rupestris hybrid).

The other variety we planted together with the Triomphe all those years ago was Bacchus. This is an altogether more successful breed of grape - (Sylvaner x Riesling) + Mueller-Thurgau - and is much favoured in the UK and Germany.

The problem with Bacchus is that it is hardly at all resistant and even in a perfect year such as 2018 we had to spray with a cocktail of chemicals 10 times. In a humid year that may have been 13 or more. This is time-consuming, back-breaking and expensive, So we decided this would be the last year for our Bacchus, especially since we have discovered an exciting replacement: Soreli. As described earlier in this blog, Soreli is derived from Friulano (formerly Tocai Friulano) by the VCR (Vivai Cooperativo Rauscedo) in Friuli Soreli is Friulian for Sun.

As also previously noted in Slotovino, there is no great knowledge of how to grub vines up in the UK since our vine-growing experience is relatively short. For the Triomphe we used a 2 - stage method. Stage 1: Arrachage - pulling out the vines with a rope and tractor. Stage 2: Stump (root) Grinding.

This time we simplified matters.

Our digger dug deeply with a wide bucket, hopefully taking the roots with it.

In the hands of a skilful operator such as our Tom here, this can be done without disturbing the trellis.

Tom made good each time. He will return in March to do the planting. This should be easy with the soil (heavy clay) having been disturbed to a decent depth previously.

That's what you call a root!
There were some surprises. Some of the roots were spectacular, and one

Root with stone
was just unbelievable,

This rood had come into contact with a stone and just bored through it. We had heard of vines growing in stony ground but we had never imagined a root might go through stone rather than around it.

This is the hole bored into the stone by the root

Barola $267

It isn't necessary to be so ignorant as to not know how to spell Barolo when you're buying a bottle of Sandrone's wine for $267 but it probably helps.

Tuesday 15 January 2019

In praise of the Wine Society's Moselle Pinot Noir

We love Pinot Noir d'Alsace but had never come across the Moselle appellation until now. No wonder because the Moselle vineyard has been decimated by border changes swinging from France to Germany and back, proximity to WW1 battlefields, industrialisation and the inevitable Phylloxera. Now most wines are white with Auxerrois and Mueller-Thurgau predominating.

So the Wine Society's Moselle ‘Les Hautes-Bassières' Pinot Noir, Château de Vaux 2016 seems to be a rarity. We are happy to report that it is outstanding and at £13.50, there's no point being without it we reckon.