Carignan red and Grenache white were the surprise
successes of coaxing wines out of the gravillas.
Those wines, Lo Vièlh and L'Inattendu, have
been good enough that we sometimes ask ourselves
if the plantations were necessary.
We now work 6 hectares organically (that's bio),
with severe pruning to reduce yields and increase
maturity and concentration, lots of spring/summer
work on each plant, maximum waiting for maximum
ripeness in September and October, severe field
sorting at harvest to keep only the delicious grapes
and non-interventionist winemaking to hang on to
the flavors that came in the cellar door. 13 different
grape varietals go into 6 or 7 individual wines.
We even foot crush all the grapes, if anyone out
there needs something to do in October...
Almost 2010 and the Brown
U. Alumni Gift Guide just wrote about us, FYI
the wines can be found in NYC at Chambers St Wines,
in CA at www.klwines.com, in KY at Liquor Barn and
in the MidWest USA at JohnsIsland. See the Contacts
And thanks to the Commonwealth of
Kentucky for such a great homecoming in November
2009--how could the sky be any bluer?
news in ze presse about Lo Vièlh
Carignan, included in France's top wine
magazine's list (RVF 7/09) of the 100 best
Languedoc reds -- AND now the major wine
GUIDE (Bettane et Dessauve 2010) has named
L'Inattendu 07 among the top 7 Languedoc whites.
We are delighted. The 09 harvest has gone very smoothly
as well, after 3 months with one rainstorm each.
Great grapes, great picking team and a small enough
harvest that we actually have enough room move around
in the cellar.
If you want to hear John interviewed
on KY WFPL Homegrown, go to:
for Florida radio, go to the following
stream it directly here
come she will, and she's raining as the 2009 buds
start breaking a few weeks early. Pruning is done,
plowing has started, wine is rolling out the door
to some new places, and bottles are being filled
to replace the empties. The twin Toselli crawlers
have already crawled the whole (vast) domaine once
and soon a second time. It's good to have two--originally
a cheap (they're almost as old as I am) solution
to impending breakdown (or rollovers, see 2007),
but now as well a way NOT to have to change implements
back and forth. We're confirming our decisions to
use labor wherever we could get away with avoiding
capital expenditures.Stay small, stay slow, do Belief
Intensive Agriculture !
was a rollercoaster ride. But suddenly, after bringing
in our 10th harvest, we got a letter from each of
the 4 main french wine guides saying that in 2009
they had decided to write about us (and wouldn't
we like to buy a copy or 10...of course we would.)
Even nicer is that each guide seems to prefer a
different group of our 6 wines, so something good
must be going on across the board.
in the year, The Wine Report 2008 included us in
their list of the top 10 Languedoc domaines -- which
is just silly as there are at least 700 domaines,
but it made my mother very proud (and yes, I bought
a copy for her too)...
was a warm winter, a cool and very wet spring, late
bud break, lots of fungus pressure in the vines,
a dry cool summer with just barely enough rain,
a harvest starting 2 September and finishing 14
October (slow slow slow), and fermentations that
aren't in any hurry. The Carignan was beautiful.
2008 was born a new wine, pure Terret Gris 07, as
light and peppy as our Grenache white is luscious
and rich. Gravillas has a great new importer singing
the song of muscat in Poland and another preaching
the religion of Carignan in the Netherlands.
was the perfect storm harvest. Perfect grapes. Faster
pickers. More grapes (too many for our tanks, now
the tanks are double parked and 2 more barrels are
full of white--we're at our space limit). Fermentations
are finishing slowly (penance?) but tastings are
good. The whites are great. The reds very good.
The Muscat is, well, Muscat. All this wine means
we're going to need a couple more countries drinking
Gravillas. Who's it going to be in 2008?
changed in 2007? John rolled his caterpillar tractor
and survived; the tractor needed open heart surgery
but is back in service, if still bleeding slowly.
The weeds took advantage--we pulled more than normal
by hand. We're still working organic (now 4th year)
but we actually completed the certification paperwork.
Heavy mildew and oidium pressure early in the season
meant that our sulfur dusting had to be rigorous
and regular. We borrowed some "biodynamic"
tricks--using clay and algae powders to combat fungus
and reduce copper and sulfur. April was very hot
(we swam), May and June were like normal April except
for it didn't rain but once. It didn't rain in July
either and almost didn't in August. Very dry summer.
Fortunately, August was very cool (we didn't swim
!) and September gave just enough rain to bring
the grapes to ripe. Great acidity, not too much
alcohol. Super taste. Harvest start 27 August, finish
2006: We had a very wet, wet, mushy, slow, lunatic
harvest, with all the new whites coming in perfectly
before the humidity got too intense but with serious
work required to bring in perfect and very ripe
red grapes after a couple hundred millimeters of
rain. The 2006 reds made it into their barrel in
May. The Muscats are all bottled and now making
it onto shelves everywhere (!). L'Inattendu is just
grenache again in 2006. There's a bit of pure terret
in bottle but still no label in sight !
were looking forward to this (our 8th) harvest especially
because we've now got THIRTEEN grape
varieties (just bought 3 more white
parcels) and hoped that the new grenache blanc,
terret gris and macabeu would blend perfectly with
our grenache gris. But they weren't as racy as they
should have been so they got excluded from L'Inattendu.
2007 is looking much more promising for the new
And we are delighted that Sous les
cailloux des Grillons (under the stones, crickets),
the 7 grape blend red, is in bottle and it's smooth.
Who can guess the 7 varietals???
2005, we had a bountiful harvest. After 3 bone dry
months, we finally got some rain mid August and
the grapes came around. Harvest was WET, with 150mm
on one September weekend and 400mm more by the end
of October--usually a half-year total here. (and
over a meter by spring
time--though zero since May!) We finished picking
10 October, with a half day's harvest still out
waiting for "just a touch more ripeness",
but then came 10 days of rain and those grapes had
to be left in the field. Our "wait however
long it takes for ripeness" wager didn't pay
off in 2005, at least not on two days of harvest
that got left behind--but that's the risk we have
to take.. What's now finished fermenting is really
good though and half went into barrels in June.
more 2005 info.