Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wales - nothing to do with wine

Jelly beach art

For a change here are some pictures from our holiday in Pembrokeshire.  A week of wet pallid weather that did us the world of good and almost made us forget that there is a harvest that needs bringing in.

Sun Lover - welsh humour

Saundersfoot beach

Wiseman's Bridge

JM with his feet in the sea

Friday, August 11, 2017

Haute Sécurité

This year we have put up over 1 mile of fencing around our more sensitive vines to try and keep our old ‘friend’ the wild boar out of our precious vineyards.  It’s never quite as easy as saying ‘I’m just going to put up a fence’ as firstly we had to get the digger out to clear away the undergrowth and then 'we' knocked in over 400 metal posts in perhaps one of the stoniest soils in France. 
The priority was to protect the vineyards on the edge of the garrigue (prime wild boar territory) such as La Caune or Falandrin with its natural spring that becomes a regular watering hole in the summer.
All the vineyards we protected were either syrah which ripen early, or the deliciously aromatic muscat with the exception of St Roch which is planted with 100 year old carignan and grenache and normally of less interest to the greedy wild pigs.  But as it is one the last vineyards to be harvested in the village, when everything else has been picked our little vineyard at St Roch becomes surprisingly tasty.

This year the wild boar seem to be hungrier than ever and have already started nibbling at unripe grapes in our unprotected vineyards.  They were so desperate to get into the Falandrin vineyard that they ram raided the fence.

Monday, August 7, 2017

2017 Harvest countdown

the 2017 harvest
I had a slight panic attack when I saw on the local news that the harvest has already started down on the plains near Perpignan, 2 weeks ahead of schedule.  We have just checked the vines and although Perpignan is only 40 km away our grapes are still a good couple of weeks off.   During the past two weeks the weather has not been quite so hot and we have had afternoon storms and clouds blown in from the sea.  This has slowed the grapes down slightly and so it looks like we will probably be harvesting perhaps a week early so towards the end of August.  

The grapes are looking really, really good which means we can leave them to ripen without the pressure of having to pick due to the risk of rot.

So as long as those pesky wild boars stop stampeding our vineyards it looks like we're in for a great harvest.

Friday, August 4, 2017

For the love of old vines

Domaine Jones is made up of 20 small vineyards scattered across the arid countryside around the remote village of Tuchan.  The vines are exclusively old vines and old means old in Domaine Jones language.  From 40 years up to over 100 years.  I have been collecting vineyards since we started the Domaine in 2009 with just one.  I now have a fine collection of some of the oldest vineyards in the village - Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Muscat and Macabeu – all old, all magnificently located and all extremely hard work.

Even on our old vines we want to keep the yields down so that all the grapes can ripen evenly and healthily.  We thin out the shoots and take off unwanted leaves at the bottom of the vines by hand during the spring.

For the syrah on trellisis we make sure that the rows stay neat and tidy by tucking the branches behind the wires two or three times during the growing season.  And when the branches are too high to stay within the wires we chop them off with hand held sheers.  We also plough with our trusty steed - the 50 year old chenillard tractor.


If I just had one little vineyard all this could be quite fun but as a collector of vineyards I now have over 50 000 vines that need individual care and attention. Not the walk in the park (or in the vineyard)  I had envisaged!
So is all this hard work worth it?  And is it reflected in the quality of the wine?
Given all the rave reviews our wines get I think we must be doing something right.  Our attention to detail and our knowledge of each individual vineyard means that our wine making starts in the vineyard 9 months before we even pick the first grape.

Happy vines make happy wines!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Star Buy - Grenache Gris

I'm so thrilled to see my Grenache Gris 2014 selected by Rose Murray Brown MW as her STAR BUY in The Scotsman on the 23rd July.

Rosemary writes

"For those who like full flavoured whites, the intriguing Grenache Gris grape makes a lusciously rich honeyed white in warm Roussillon.  Englishwoman Katie Jones unexpectedly discovered some old gnarled vines of this unusual grape in her Maury vineyard; expect fresh minerality combined with herby spicy undertones."

There are limited amounts of the 2014 still available either at The Wine Society or online here

Full article

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wild boar action!


The wild boar have already started to nibble at the fresh, juicy green leaves on some of the vines. The big fire last September destroyed much of their natural habitat on the Tauch mountain and so they are angry, wild and hungry.  Serious action is necessary so on the hottest day of the year so far Jean Marc has been up in the St Roch vineyard with his digger to prepare the way for the electric fence and a permanent fence.  Many of our little hillside plots not only have amazing views but border directly on to the garrigue countryside where the wild boar roam.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Frost bites

The small hillside vineyards of old vines at Domaine Jones have been untouched so far by the frosts we have had on 3 consecutive nights in Tuchan (19th - 21st April).

But Mother Nature can be rather challenging sometimes and a couple of Jean Marc's vineyards have not been so lucky.

The worst hit vineyard which was in the valley bottom will not recover for this vintage.

Leaves burnt by the frost

Rows of dark brown, frost damaged vines

The contrast with a couple of leaves that somehow didn't get damaged