Archives for category: Rhone Valley

The 2012 harvest in the Southern Rhône looks like it’s going to be a cracker – a small crop with clean, fully ripe grapes that have good levels of acidity and sugar levels that for once are relatively low. My own experience so far has been mixed and can be summed up as follows:

High points:

  1. Beautiful, warm weather with a constant northerly breeze. Perfect harvesting conditions.
  2. Wonderfully welcoming people at the cellar where my tanks are housed.
  3. A hugely knowledgeable friend in Denis Deschamps to nudge me in the right direction and question my decisions.
  4. Buying and filling my own fermenting tanks.
  5. Harvesters’ “pause café” at 10.30am (see photo) – the word ‘café’ is somewhat misleading.
  6. Tasting the first juice and then the first partially fermented wine (must be worth at least €100 a bottle it’s so good!).
  7. A lovely gîte in Collias where I’m staying, a little village on the banks of the Gardon, just upstream from the extraordinary Pont du Gard.

“pause café”

Low points:

  1. Having to wait a few days before getting really stuck in due to rain during the last week of August.
  2. Having to de-stem 200kg of Syrah grapes by hand because the winery can’t work with such a small volume. Talk about repetitive strain injury.

    de-stemming by hand

  3. The cockerel in the neighbour’s house who seemingly hasn’t got a clue whether it’s day or night and starts anywhere between 5.00-6.00am. Wouldn’t a battery powered alarm clock be nicer for everyone?
  4. The other neighbour’s dog who thinks it’s great fun to join in with the cockerel.
  5. Pieds et paquets – look it up.


yours truly



We have a lovely book here to give to one of you – it’s a collection of photographs of the vineyards of the Rhône Valley. It should go to someone who likes photography and wine (and especially wines of the Rhône Valley). Is that you? Or do you know someone who fits the bill?

The photography is by Christophe Grilhé and the text by Christophe Tassan.

Nominate yourself or someone else and we’ll give each application due consideration. But to make it fair, and as this is open to those of you on twitter, facebook as well as through a comment here, please keep your nominations to about 140 characters.

We’ll post the book out to anywhere in Ireland and we’ll pick the lucky person by next Friday, 9th August.

…and we have a winner: @jonnyfallon via twitter