Saturday, 17 March 2007

Bottling the new Rosés

Today we'd like half our new Rosés to be racked. At 8am Hans, Henny and Matthieu prepare for the wine. After all hoses are disinfected, they have the wine flowing from the barrel by pump through the filter into the cooling tank. The wine flows through layered filter papers. We use very rough paper, so that the wine is filtered very lightly.
In the cooling tank the wine is cooled down very quickly. The racking machine is very well cleaned, disinfected and rinsed several times. We have an old, mechanical "Girondine". It runs if it feels like it and has to be very well greased! It fills 8 bottles at once. After that we leave the bottles untouched until some time later when we label them. That is important, so that the pressure in the bottle equalises.

All four of us work. Henny places the empty bottles on the machine, Matthieu and I take the full bottles away and place them in large containers. Hans worries about the pump, the filter, refills the taps, takes the full crates away and substitutes in emergencies.

Like this we can create nearly 1000 bottles in an hour. We start bottling at about 10am. The "Girondine" begins to turn, always with the same rhythm, with the same sounds. Today everything runs without problems. So we filled 2800 bottles (0.75l) in the morning and 550 bottles (0.5l) in the afternoon - all of Rosé. They stand in the wine cellar and must be still labelled, cased and packed in a week's time.

(Extra note from Lizzie) We had a Deux-Pieds meeting on Wednesday evening. Over supper Hans brought out the new Rosé for us to try. It is a beautiful pale pink, much less forceful in colour than that of last year. Ali and I thought it utterly delicious, full of fruit and with luscious raspberry flavour. A perfect summer wine. I'm sure there will be many hot summer's evenings where guests at Le Couvent, Roujan savour a glass or two of this wine well chilled.

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