It's been a long time since the last post. August has been our busiest month of the season - not only choc-a-bloc with B&B guests, but also with our grape harvest and wine-making. After the heavy rains in April we had a diminished number of tiny grape florets, already reduced by the after effects of the terrible hail storm last September. This summer has also been officially heatwave hot, so the result for us has been a tiny harvest of very early ripening grapes. We ended up with just three trailer loads like this. A ridiculously small harvest from 2.5 hectares.
We picked during the third week of August - at least a fortnight early. Since then we have moved our wine-making operation to Le Couvent, where we now have a miniature cave, complete with fermentation tanks and all the paraphernalia you need to make wine.
Thanks to help from several unsuspecting, yet willing, guests and friends we got our meagre harvest picked in record time, over three early mornings, before the temperatures began to soar.
Since then we have completed the initial fermentation on two of our three cuvées and will work on the third today. After that it's just a question of regular checking that all is OK until the spring, when a secondary fermentation should take place.
The good news is that people seem to really like the wine from last year's fated harvest - L'Orage, a blend made on the hoof while we were picking, Syrah, Cinsault & Grenache. But the truth will be known when our lovely Master of Wine pal, Rosemary George , tastes it on Sunday evening. I'm nervous.
With just over three weeks to go before the end of our season, and a fully booked B&B, I'd be lying if I said Ali and I weren't a bit tired. But reserves get tapped at this time of the year, and we have such lovely guests that it's easy to rise to the occasion. We seem to have laughed our way through the summer thanks to some very funny people, especially all the jolly Americans and Canadians who've pitched up at Le Couvent. Thank you all!