February 23rd 2011, by Gavin
Ronan Sayburn is one the leading sommeliers in the world and recently made a star appearance on Michel Roux’s ‘Service’ on BBC2. He’s also Director of Wines and Spirits at the Hotel du Vin, and has taken on one of the Scholarship winners, Danielle, from the programme. In this video from their new website – via the ‘HdvTV’ YouTube channel at the foot of the page on their site – Ronan talks through what to look for when tasting a dry white.
February 21st 2010, by Gavin
As we said in our February newsletter, I had a tasting with the team of sommeliers and buyers from Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants at Claridge’s in London, right. They’d be the first to admit that the video above makes better viewing.
October 3rd 2009, by Gavin
It’s another early start as we like to bring the grapes in quite cold, especially when the days are so warm. This way we can give the Merlot a ‘cold soak’ for a few days before fermentation, making for a tasty, juicy wine – hopefully. There is no rot whatsoever, so we’re just removing any leaves or green bits on the sorting table before the de-stemmer.
September 24th 2009, by Gavin
Another mini-disaster movie. Maybe it’s just not our year…
September 23rd 2009, by Gavin
Given that we’d lost most of our 2009 crop (and a fair chunk of 2010) to hail in May, we could either have thrown in the towel, or gone in search of more vineyards to buy, or take under lease. We were tempted by option A, but umpteen, welcome messages of support from customers – some on this site – persuaded us to get off our butts.
If we’d been in, say, New Zealand, we’d simply have gone out and found some grapes to make up the 80% loss. It would have been up to us – not the State – to ensure that the quality is good enough to go into our ‘brand’: about 70% of the grapes that go into Villa Maria’s consistently good wines, for example, come from contract growers.
September 21st 2009, by Gavin
A 5 minute video update on the state of our vineyards at harvest time, 4 months on from the devastating hailstorms in May.
September 20th 2009, by Gavin
After some handpicking fun at the start of the harvest, it’s now down to business.
For the past five vintages we’ve harvested the white grapes – and the reds for rosé – by machine, in the small, wee hours of the morning. Early, chilly starts make for zippy, fresh grapes, even if we ourselves look a bit doggy at the end of the day. So you’ll be pleased to know that we don’t feature in this 5 minute clip, which might be of interest to wine lovers who have never seen harvesting machines at work.
This 4 hectare (10 acre) block of Sauvignon Blanc was the only white parcel at the château to produce any reasonable amount of grapes following the hail in May – and the grapes from here have always gone into our Bordeaux Blanc Sec. But the yield from this more protected part of the vineyard was still only 20 hectolitres (2000 litres) per hectare, way down on the maximum quota allowed in 2009 of 65 hl (6500 l)/ha.
September 11th 2009, by Gavin
The 2009 Bordeaux white wine harvest at Château Bauduc began at 9am, on the ninth of the ninth.
We picked a couple of hectares of young Sauvignon Blanc vines by hand, with the help of some of Britain’s most talented students and the youngest members of the Quinney family who don’t have school on wednesdays.
June 3rd 2009, by Gavin
Never mind the recession, the strong euro, the weak pound, increased duty costs and global over-supply of cheap, industrial wine. It’s back to nature, and sometimes nature can be cruel.
Thanks for watching, and excuse the French. Feel free to leave a comment below, or a question.
February 10th 2009, by Gavin
As Oz Clarke and James May prepare to wrap up their third series on BBC2 (Tuesdays, 8pm), here is their very first Big Wine Adventure pitstop back in August 2006.
‘How was your trip?’ I asked. ‘You’re the first living people we’ve seen’ was James’s first dejected remark to us, after their long drive south to Bordeaux. Their Wine Adventure had begun.
In hindsight, it would have been better not to mention the price of a bottle as it dates very quickly. £6.50? These were the heady days when the exchange rate was 1.47 euros to the pound, and UK duty on a bottle was a lot less.
If you’d like to leave a comment, or ask a question, feel free to do so below.