22. November 2012 13:38
Last summer we were delighted to welcome British gourmet Chef Jason Palin to our Tour de Belfort vineyard in France. We had an amazing time trying Jason’s lovely cooking with our wines and inspired, decided to set up wine & cooking workshops in our vines for future summers.
Summer didn’t last and it was soon time to pack and head back to Cheshire, leaving my parents to harvest our grapes back at the vineyard. Coming off the ferry, the custom officer was very surprised when we admitted we were on our way home... not just heading for a holiday visit to England! But despite the rain, the cold, the greys and dark greens... we love living here too.
We unpacked our new 2011 vintage and sharing a glass with Jason under the British sky, inspired again, we decided to launch our idea right here in the UK. A French vineyard bringing its wines on your table... but with a twist as you will first cook your dinner with our gourmet Chef.
We found the perfect little place in Hale for our exciting new venture and in a few weeks time we will be ready to offer you a unique wine and food experience at our first English wine & cooking workshop venue. We are particularly excited as we believe our concept is the first of its kind in the UK, with an independent French winemaker opening a direct outlet to the public. We have decieded to call it “Le Vin, La Table”; the wine, the table.
Muriel will take you on a journey from our grapes to your glass, unveiling the stories and travels of aromas, flavours and blends in our award-winning, natural Tour de Belfort wines.
Jason will guide you through tasty recipes, teach you to cook and think like a Chef, pairing all his menus with our wines of course - and with a variety of courses available you are sure to find one that suits you level and taste.
And Marlies will present you lots of “yummies” and “pressies” for you to find the ideal Christmas gift alongside our wines on sale.
Opening is on the 17th December and we would welcome you all during the week with a glass of our new Tour de Belfort white or rosé bubbles. We are already taking bookings for our first workshops. Do please call or email us if you would like to book or enquire, we have lots of proposals to adapt for 1,2,.. 6, 8 ... up to 14 guests. Check menus idea and click here.
Hope to see you soon in Hale at “Le Vin, La Table”!
10 Broomfield Lane - Hale - WA15 9AQ
2. October 2012 09:07
If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter click here and type your name and email. We will only send you relevant emails, no spam just wine, and we will never share your details.
Click on the image below to open any of the links.
26. September 2012 09:24
For the first time we can offer you a full collection of blends, colours, vintages and lots of choice for every taste (or nearly!).
Three years ago we harvested our first red grapes and started our Tour de Belfort adventure with Malbec, blending it to create our 2009 vintage which received top awards and a gold medal. All the hours spent pruning and cutting the vines, pulling weeds and leaves by hand, sorting grapes bunch by bunch, were really worthwhile. But it’s a challenge to be taken seriously in the big wine world when making wine for the first generation, and back then it was first year and first bottle! Still, we are very proud that our Malbec blend has made it to the tables of the luxurious Soneva Fushi Maldives Island, on super yacht Salu, the Berliner restaurant “La Bonne Franquette”, the Four Star Gonville Hotel in Cambridge, Newspaper and Magazine review columns and to lots of happy homes.
We went back into our beloved vines the following year and many more rows later have successfully harvested Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Semillon and Chardonnay. So many choices to create our 2010 vintage! In January we sat excitedly around our big table, measuring, blending and best of all tasting each grape variety to create our new red, white and rosé. With our growing collection of new wines we joined Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin and Ollie Smith in their Three Wine Men wine events in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. We really enjoy these events, surrounded by amazing wines and best of all sharing ours directly with wine lovers.
The following summer we received an unexpected visit from our famous French wine critic Michel Bettane. We were over the moon at his positive comments and on his expert recommendation decided to produce our first oak barrel wines. Using barrels adds more complexity to the wine…and to the winemaking! No more temperature control or protection from oxygen, and it is a fine art to manage the right balance where oak sustains and improves the grape variety aromas without overpowering it.
2011 is the year of our Grand Vin, a special limited release with only 300 bottles of pure Malbec and pure Chardonnay. 2012 is also the year we received the “Grand Prix de l’Excellence” des Oenologues de France for our red blend – bringing a total of 10 top awards for our 3 vintages. We hope to share a glass with you somewhere soon; at one of our events, in your home, from our website or in Greg’s organic wine shop D Vine Cellars in London. For more reviews read the Cambridge Wine Blogger or our review page. Santé!
15. September 2012 15:48
During September our harvest team meet most mornings in the vineyard at 6.30am to receive instructions for picking. We started early this year, harvesting a selection of our Chardonnay grapes at an alcohol level of 11.5 which is lower than our usual standards of ripeness, since it is destined for sparkling wine, which we will produce this year for the first time.
To achieve a good quality sparkling wine it is important not to pick at the slight higher alcohol level that we use in our regular blended white wine or our Grand Vin Chardonnay.
The first batch of grapes left the vineyard and crossed the still sleeping village of Belfort du Quercy on the way to the winery before the sun could warm up the fruit. Before being pressed, all grapes were then checked by hand on the sorting table, as always, to ensure perfect fruit in our wine.
Every year is different and 2012 is no exception, rain in spring, high heat in the summer, from one extreme to the other within a few weeks! Last year was the opposite, so warm in June we thought harvest would happen in August until the rain and fresh temperatures hit us in July. Our only strength as an organic and natural wine maker is that we can pamper every grape and select the ones we use, choosing every day the plot to pick at optimum maturity. This is what natural wine is all about: a constant interaction between nature and man, and to be up to the challenge nature presents us with.
This year we face more variable maturity than in the past due to the weather; maturity is varying within the same grape variety and from plot to plot. This is a real winemaker’s year, requiring constant adjustments and daily decision-making.
We feel confident that 2012 will be another good year for us, and our winery is full of lovely fermentation smells from the tanks and the barrels.
1. September 2012 10:30
Here is a copy of our latest newsletter which we send out once a month. If you would like to keep in touch click here and provide your name and email. We will only send you relevant emails, no spam just wine, and we will never share your details.