We have just bottled our lovely 2016 wines and a very special 2015 red that has been matured in oak barrels and is really smooth and mellow now.
The bottling plant comes to us - a massive trailer that unfolds into a mobile bottling line.
After bottling and corking the wine is packed into wire crates. It will then rest for a while before we sell it. This year we bottled some magnums of the amazing 2015 red. Not that many, just fun for presents etc.
Chateau Lestevenie has suffered the same fate as hundreds of vineyards from St Emilion through Entre de Mer to Bergerac. A couple of nights of severe late frosts have devastated the vines whose shoots and buds had been encouraged to grow fast by the hot weather of the last month. It will now be a very challenging year with a lot of extra work....after walking round on an inspection I feel the need of a glass or two of wine! the photos below show how the vines lower down the slopes suffered far more than the vines up top
The hedges and edges of the vineyard are full of hips, haws ...great winter bird food and our rarest orchid, Autumn Ladies Tresses (above right) is flowering in our meadow
The harvesting machine sits over the row and harvests the individual grapes into the side paniers. Then the paniers are emptied into the wine trailer. The photo below shows the grapes being moved from trailer to "cuve" or vat for fermentation
we are so happy that Martin Walker, doyen of Bergerac wines, author of the Bruno books, has reviewed our 2015 Rouge in such glowing terms
With temperatures hitting 40 degrees on the limestone of the vineyards above the Chateau we appreciate the older vines, about 55 years old, which have such deep roots that they cope just fine with the heat. The grapes pictured here began to turn from green to red about ten days ago. Now they are ripening to perfection
Sue Temperley writes the Wine and Wildlife blog.