Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ffff-ing French Frustration.....

It has rained pretty much non-stop for the past four days here - giving the vines a nice breather from the dry weather. Although it hasn't been unusually hot, we have had a dry patch of about three weeks and the "dry" depth of the soil had increased to almost 40cm. Not a problem for the vines, but a bit challenging for other crops. Providing the rain stops in the near future, all is still looking positive for a very good vintage.....

Whilst it has been raining, I've had a chance to catch up on some internet browsing - peering into my computer screen at the outside world! On one of the Bulletin Boards I came across the link below - originally posted by Tom Cannavan I think.

It's addictive, frustrating, compelling, informative, challenging - and above all, humiliating. And no, it's nothing to do with Britney Spears. Apparently a score of over 50,000 is impressive - but I haven't got that far yet......

French Wine Regions Test

Aarrggghhhh...... I can't stop....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe.....

For an amazing photo gallery of the destruction caused by the Hail, have a look at:
Bizeljsko Hail Photos

Unfortunately the picture below was not taken in January – but last week in the middle of July……

By mid-July things have normally settled down in the vineyard. There are occasional treatments for peronospera (downy mildew) and oidium, some “haircutting” of vines and of course, grass cutting between the rows of vines.

But the one threat that has normally passed by now is Hail. However, last week there was a devastating hail storm that destroyed over 1,000 hectares of crops – vines, corn, apples, hay etc. We were very lucky to escape here in our little corner in the East – but less than an hour away, many of the vineyards in the prime region of Biseljsko were totally destroyed.

The impact was devastating – the size of the hailstones left no room for anything to survive.

Sinead and I passed through the region two days later and took some photos of what was left. Many corn fields were just being ploughed back into the soil. The orchards are destroyed – and the vineyards....... Well, it’s not just a very obvious problem for this year – the issue is vastly complicated by the fact that the shoots for next year’s growth are also destroyed – and it will even impact into growth in two years time. Here in Jeruzalem we suffered very bad hail two years ago in July and there was significant damage – but there is a possible small window of hope – it would seem that this year (two years later) the vines are particularly healthy here – almost as if they have a new lease of life – so it may be that some small scrap of good could come from last week’s hail in Bizeljsko – but it’s difficult to see that at this point.

It’s worth remembering what a vineyard should look like in July – our own….

And then the hail-devastated landscape of Bizeljsko…….the hail is long gone, but the barren landscape remains....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back to Reality

With the 2010 Primeurs "campaign" now effectively finished (and comments to follow), a timely reminder about value and quality co-existing came by way of reviews recently published for the wonderful Sicilian wines of Azienda COS in the recent Wine Advocate - the same publication that awarded (along with numerous others) high scores to the Bordeaux 2010 vintage - leading to dramatic price increases.

COS were the very first European producers that we started importing a long time back......We have the 2008 Cerasuolo di Vittoria in stock and it remains one of our favourite wines at home, so nice to see it get some credit - so long as the price doesn't rise! Well done Giusto and the team!

2008 Cos Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico

"The 2008 Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico flows with the essence of dark wild cherries. It possesses beautiful inner perfume and density, without coming across as heavy. The long, pure finish is beautifully articulated with layers of fruit. It is a sensual red that takes Cerasuolo to new heights. The Cerasuolo is 60% Nero d'Avola (aged in cask) and 40% Frappato (aged in cement). Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015. 91 Points.

This is quite possibly the finest set of wines I have ever tasted from COS. Readers owe it to themselves to check out these ambitious wines, many of which also deliver phenomenal value." Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate June 2011 (