Wednesday, 24 October 2007

New experience: Vendange tardif

Although I have harvested several years at Bourdic, last week for the first time I was invited to help at the “Vendange Tardif”. It is the same kind of work as the normal harvest, but it is a very late in the season harvest with grapes that are rather dry or they are in a phase which is called “pourriture noble” a kind of noble putrefaction.

To be honest, I do not think the grapes look nice. I would never imagine that the delicious “Amendier” was made of grapes so ugly and mouldy, as you can see on the pictures below.

So I needed some guidance during the harvest and I was lucky to have Hans beside me. He taught me to smell the grapes to know the difference between “pourriture noble” and mould.
I also had to cut very gently because the grapes were extremely vulnerable, even the wind blew whole bunches off the vines.

After transport to the cave, the bunches were emptied into a barrel, completely with stalks, which I never had seen at the normal harvest.
In the beginning there is hardly any juice in the barrel, because the grapes are so dry, but anyway, we seem to have harvest 10 hl, which made Hans & Christa very happy!!

The first measurement of the juice gives approximately 20,5 vol % alcohol which is 230 gr sugar per liter. I got a little sip to taste this juice, never had such a sweet lemonade!!
When the yeast is added the sugar will transform in alcohol and will finally end at 17 vol%.

To celebrate the ultimate end of the harvest, we had a lovely lunch in a sunny garden.

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