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We woz robbed

Date: Mon, Oct 6, 2008 Winery Blogs

No, I'm not joking, we really were. Last night some bastard of a person broke into our van and nicked our super gorgeous generator and brushcutter. We loved them both and had spent great fortunes on choosing Honda because they were the only ones we weak girlies could start first time.

Needless to say they were not insured having been lashed to the inside of the van. One has to go to Servian to report such things [...]

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Cellar palate

Date: Sun, Oct 5, 2008 Winery Blogs

During the summer we met Tim Manning , maker of some absolutely delicious wines at Il Borghetto in Tuscany. He was one of those guests we felt we should be paying, so helpful were the discussions over various bottles of local Languedoc wines.

As new winemakers we are learning all the time, and a new concept for us was that of 'cellar palate' introduced to us by Tim. Basically this means that your palate gets used to a set of wine flavours that centre on the wines that you drin [...]

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Water a go-go

Date: Mon, Sep 22, 2008 Winery Blogs

I ache from head to toe. All thanks to a good five hours at Chateau Mal Au Dos sorting out the problem with the well. But finally, after much puffing, blowing, wrenching, standing in Cauvy & Fils wishing I'd actually measured the pipes before going shopping for plumbing parts, it all fitted. Now we have water to the reservoir, and at both ends of the vegetable garden. A [...]

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Boar-ing under the vines

Date: Fri, Sep 19, 2008 Winery Blogs

Looks a cuddly little soul doesn't it? Well, don't be duped. As a lifelong anti-hunting-type-person I could happily punch one of these little bu--ers on the nose. It's a wild boar and I think we have dozens here at Chateau Mal Au Dos. As if the hail and tornado weren't enough, these little sods spend every night ploughing between the vines in search of juicy bugs and wor [...]

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Le Couvent, Roujan - Guest blog

Date: Fri, Sep 19, 2008 Winery Blogs

Today's blog post has been written by Doug & Caroline, who came to Le Couvent, Roujan hoping that they could take part in our grape harvest.

Following a long drive to Roujan on Monday two weeks ago, we arrived to a very warm welcome from Liz & Ali, only to find the weather had put a premature end to this year's grape harvest. Therefore no vendange for us this year, however as some of the harvest had been salvaged there was the option to be involved with the next process, turning it int [...]

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Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2008 Winery Blogs

After the devastation of the vines and olives Ali & I have found ourselves more and more depressed each time we have visited Chateau Mal Au Dos to walk the dogs. After such beauty and plenty it is soul-destroying to see the blank vines and arid featureless soil. So, only one thing for it - we set to work. Each time we say we're off to the vineyards to do a bit of work wonderful friends and guests say they'd like to come too. So yesterday we had Chris & Sue & Sharon & P [...]

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Chateau Mal Au Dos Wine-making - part 2, The Pressing

Date: Sun, Sep 14, 2008 Winery Blogs

So yesterday was the day when we drew the wine off the skins, pips and snails (I jest), then pressed the marc to release further wine. Here are the photos of what was the most stupendously wonderful day.

First we drew off the running wine and tipped it into the second cuve.

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Chateau Mal Au Dos Wine Making - part 1, Pigeage & tasting

Date: Sat, Sep 13, 2008 Winery Blogs

Since we picked the tiny amount of Syrah & Cinsault left after the storms, the grape juice and yeast has been working away. To the sounds of snap, crackle and pop the sugars in the juice feed the yeast which, in turn, kindly turns the juice to wine. The skins and pips all rise to the surface leaving the young wine below. This is a difficult situation because we don't want the skins to start oxidising - they'll turn the wine to vinegar. So twice a day we have to punch the cap of ma [...]

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Harvesters leap into action

Date: Thu, Sep 4, 2008 Winery Blogs

As soon as we saw the damage and realised we had just a few grapes we could rescue if we did it immediately, we started ringing round our team. Within one hour of seeing the damage we had thirteen pals and all the equipment in the vineyard. What fantastic friends. We hit the remaining grapes like demons possessed in that thundery heat that threatens another storm. To the chorus of endless yells of 'BUCKET' meaning 'this ones full and I need another' - a signal for the porters [...]

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Aprés le déluge

Date: Thu, Sep 4, 2008 Winery Blogs

This is the scene that greeted us this morning. We have almost nothing left. Last night we had the most enormous rain and hailstorm. We spent the morning in the roof repairing a leak, then went to the cave co-operative to see if they had a date for the harvest. 'Have you looked at your vines yet? We have an emergency and if you have more than 20% hail damage you can harvest all your grapes now, [...]

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The prélèvement

Date: Wed, Sep 3, 2008 Winery Blogs

Today we took a sample of 200 of each variety of grapes, picked at random, down to the cave co-operative to be tested. We stood in line with all the other vigneron waiting for Mme La Cave to squish our grapes and tell us the potential alcohol. When they have gathered all the results they can then declare when we can harvest our grapes and deliver them off to the cave.

Our grapes all came out higher than anyone else's with our Syrah having a potential alcohol of 15.4%. That's eno [...]

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The first harvest

Date: Sat, Aug 30, 2008 Winery Blogs

Well it had to happen. We'd been looking at the muscat grapes for ages, tasting and wondering when the Cave would put out a call for the grapes to be picked. We took a selection off to our friends, Hans & Christa, from Domaine Bourdic

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The vats arrived in the nick of time.

Date: Wed, Aug 27, 2008 Winery Blogs

Thanks to Peter and Esther the wine cuves arrived last week. You can see that two of them took the whole van, but P&E were kind and charming and got them here safely and at a reasonable price. Thank you both.

Now we just have to fig [...]

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It'll just happen

Date: Fri, Aug 22, 2008 Winery Blogs

With just over a fortnight to go I'm beginning to panic about our grape harvest (le vendange). Ali says it will just happen. I, as a Virgo, tend to think we need to plan it a bit. So our unsuspecting pals are about to be coerced into spending a few days bent double over our vines. I fear many of them will feign memory loss when we contact them. " Who are you? Never heard of you. Sorry. Bye"

Our wine cuves are still in northern France despite days on the phone and visitin [...]

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