Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Checking ripeness in Cabernet Franc

16th October 2009

Ripe enough to pick?

Christophe Daviau (Domaine de Bablut) showed me how to check to see whether the Cabernet Franc on argile calcere destined for his Petra Alba cuvée was ripe enough to pick. The days of relying just on a refractometer that tells you the potential alcohol are now well past. We walked up a row selecting single grapes as we went and separated the sweet pulp from the skins and the pips.

When you have a palm full you chew the skins as though it is chewing gum. Is it bitter? How tannic? Is it green? Then you chew the pips. Amongst my pips a few were green but most were turning brown. Naturally they were quite tannic but it took a while for the tannin to become apparent and it wasn't excessively bitter. I had no reference point as this was my first experience of chewing a handful of pips but Christophe said that compared to a week ago both the pips and skins are much riper. They are likely to pick these by hand on Monday. Next I tried a grapillon (an unripe third generation grape). This was noticeably less ripe – green and sharp – and the pips immediately bitter and tannic. This bitterness lasted much longer in the mouth than the earlier handful of pips.

Harvesting Cabernet Franc for Anjou Villages

Emptying harvested Cabernet Franc into a trailer

Anjou Villages vineyards near Brissac

No comments: