Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Harvest 2009 have begun at chateau Paillas

harvest 2009 chateau paillas cahors malbecWith a beautiful weather and warm temperatures, harvest have begun at chateau Paillas.

It's naturally by Merlot yesterday and earliest plots of Malbec today that we will fill our first vats.
First feelings after two days: vintage 2009 will be a vintage of concentration and with an exceptional color...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Harvest 2009 in Cahors will be a compromise

harvest 2009 in cahorsThe choice of harvest time is probably the most important decision for the winegrower. A year of work depends on it, and vintage 2009 will be a compromise. Explanations ...

With a technological maturity achieved since mid September, a vine out of breath because of the drought on one side and perfect health, perfect weather for at least another week, but still thick skins on another side, it's hard to make a choice concerning the beginning of harvest!

Indeed, in a red wine such as Cahors wine, mellow taste of alcohol must balance both acid taste and bitterness of tannins. The climate of the year promises a high alcohol level and low acidity, to guaranty a good balance, the wine must be rich in ripe tannins !

Malbec and Merlot berry tasting allow us to see the positive trend of skin and seed but rain forecasting or changes in sugar and acidity can cause early harvest and so winemaking will get harder.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nuptial flight in the vineyard

While harvest approaching soon at Chateau Paillas, we saw this afternoon the nuptial flight of thousands of ants.

As every year at the same time, often after a rainy day, swarms of queens and males leave their nests to breed and build up new colonies.
Ants, such as earthworms, play an important role mixing and aerating the soil. Additionally, by burying organic matter in depth, they help the microorganisms to perform carbon and nitrogen cycles.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tasting Malbec berries

tasting malbec berriesComplement to sugar, acidity and pH analysis made in the laboratory (see our post last year about monitoring of maturation), tasting berries allows to determine the advancement of maturity by estimating aromatic and polyphenolic potential.

There are several types of maturity for the grapes including such as physiological maturity indicating that the pips are able to germinate. Unfortunately, this maturity is not usefull to the winegrower because it comes few days after veraison in mid August for the Malbec in Cahors.

Other maturities are more relevant to determine harvest time and it is by tasting berries that we can estimate them, the features of the grapes will become those of the wine.
- "Technological" maturity : the pulp, acid and sticked both to the skin and seeds will become very sweet, with low acidity and very fluid (cell breakdown) at maturity.
- Aromatic maturity (mainly on the skin) is the transition from a thick skin with herbaceous aromas to a skin that breaks easily when chewing, with notes of intense jam.
- The phenolic maturity for which the pips of a green color and very astringent, will gradually turn brown and become crisp, toasty and nutty, instead of herbaceous notes.

We must separate pulp, skins and pips when tasting (see photo), and tasting them in that order because if the pips aren't ripe, they disrupt the palate so much with their astringency that you won't be able to taste pulp and skin !
These different maturities come only together on the best terroirs and for great vintages. In other years, we must make a choice to preserve the balance of wine and over all to make the Cahors wine we estimate the best.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back from Cahors Malbec tour : It's a success !

The first Cahors Malbec tour is just over and we can already say it's a success considering the enthousiasm of wine professionals about the quality and originality of the Cahors Malbec wines tasted in Boston, Chicago and Washigton DC.

More than 100 wine professionals (importers, distributors, restaurant owners, journalists or bloggers) came in each city to taste wines of 28 independant Cahors winemakers and of course the 2 vintages we were introducing there : Château Paillas vintage 2005, already available in the US, and Château paillas vintage 2007, that we are about to release in France.

Each of these conoisseurs was surprised by freshness, balance and fruitiness of our wines, especially by the difference between both wines, only due to terroir.
A great reward for our work, thanks to all of them.

Writers and trade are sharing the good news with their readers and customers like Dave from the blog cheapwinefinder.com who chose one of the special labels of Château Paillas (Domaine de Paillas is the previous name of our estate) drawn by french comics artist Bruno DiSano to illustrate his article about the Cahors Malbec tasting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A great vintage 2009 for Cahors wines ?

cahors vintage 2009Even if it's too early to tell, we can make an assessment of the weather during summer. Few days before the beginning of harvest, vintage 2009 sounds promising ...

But why ? In fact, we had a unusual sunny summer in the Cahors vineyard, far above the mean. Rainfall was limited to a few stormy episodes and month of July and August were particularly warm.

If this weather continue, like it seems to be, the grapes will get ripe and healthy for the last weeks of September, slightly ahead of previous years.

But the way is long to get great Cahors wine, and for all other things, like to know if skin and pips ripeness (tannins and aromas) will complete, we have to wait until our first berry tasting. we'll see how it goes in the next days.