What a week for the Domaine des Jeanne team! I was lucky enough to visit our vineyard in Oppède in the Luberon to check out our grapes and see what really happens during the wine harvest or as our family in France refer to it, the vendanges.
I was welcomed by the stunning late summer weather, creating the perfect light for some fabulous photos as seen here. After a tour of the blossoming vines, I dropped by our new winery or ‘la cave’ for a chat with our wine maker extraordinaire Alex. The new building took my breath away. Although some cosmetic finishing touches are needed to the exterior, this is one building that should not be judged by its cover! It has been fitted with state of the art equipment from Italy including a press, de-stemmer (érafloir), 4 different storage tanks (chapeaux flottant) and a half-barrel (demi-muid) for our second vintage rosé wine. That’s right – next year we will be providing 2 rosé wines, our signature and a cuvee all produced from vines grown completely free from pesticides and insecticides.
Pictures taken and tour complete, it was arranged for me to drop by the following morning early after the first picking of the grapes to witness the first press with our new gear for the 2014 vintage. This is a monumental occasion for our wine family as for the last 2 years, we have delegated the blending process to a trusted third party but this time the entire process is down to Alex and his team.
Our grapes are picked whilst it is still dark in the early morning so that the fruit retains all its flavour and natural juices which results in the very best wine.
When I arrived at la cave the next morning Alex, his Dad Jean Pierre and Uncle Jean Claude greeted me – it was a real family affair. The 3 men had just finished working the field and were ready for the first press of the ugni blanc grape for the cuvée rosé.
The grapes were gently transferred from the tractor-trailer to another truck that gradually released the fruit into the de-stemmer where the grapes were de-stemmed, de-seeded and sucked into the press. Alex explained to me one of the huge benefits of our press is the different levels of pressing. For rosé wine production, it is essential for the pressing to be gentle, slow and very delicate, almost like a caress. Our new machines ensure a very gradual pressing process that allows us to lock in the flavour into our wine. Finally the wine is pumped into the huge storage tanks to rest and ferment. A portion of the juice is siphoned off to the half-barrel for fermentation where it will pick up a distinct oak flavour that will give our rosé a spicy kick. Before this happened though, I was able to sample the first taste – a beautiful sweet juice with a crisp freshness that will result in a very exciting wine.
Our other grape varieties Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault were not yet ready for picking and so the team had to wait a few days for them to mature and reach their optimum quality.
We can’t wait now for the new wine to be ready. We have already doubled our quantities this year and continue to grow. Luckily, you can still order 2013 vintage bottles and magnums, please send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or order online here.