Saturday, October 19, 2013

Late harvest

Most of the grapes in the vineyards around us have been harvested. That means that they've also been pressed and that the process of fermentation is under way in the local wineries. But there are several parcels still waiting for the harvesters. Some of them are planted in chenin blanc, a grape that benefits from more time on the vine and a little noble rot.

One of our neighbors waves to me and Callie while harvesting grapes with his wife yesterday.

As I understand it, when the grapes begin to shrivel and rot sets in, the sugars in the fruit become highly concentrated and, when fermentation is interrupted leaving residual sugar behind, the resulting wine is much sweeter than it would otherwise be. This sweet wine is often labelled as demi-sec or moelleux. Vouvray is an example of a local wine made with 100% chenin grapes. It can be made sec (dry, picked earlier), demi-sec (sweet, late harvest), or made into sparkling wine (which can be either a dry brut or a sweet demi-sec).

Near us, the chenin is either made into a demi-sec still wine or is used to blend into the local sparkling wines. Some of it, very little in fact, is sold as white table wine with no AOC standing. The standard dry white wine from the vineyards around us is not made from chenin, but from sauvignon blanc. They're the first grapes to be picked each year.


  1. interesting machinery there. I could use a glass of wine right now, but then I would not get anything done!

  2. Love meeting your neighbor and seeing his tractor and cool grape picking machine. Glad the newsiness gadget is working again.

  3. I'm wondering how much a machine like that would set one back? It does look cute and just the right size for a small parcel in one's 'back 40'!

  4. Vouvray is one of my favorites.

  5. It is lovely to see the cycle of harvest through your photos.

  6. anne marie, it's always wine time somewhere! :)

    evelyn, did we ever take you and Louis to meet Jean-Noël? If not, the next time you're here...

    mary, to my eyes, this one looks like it's been around a while. This guy is a very small producer, but we buy his wine and it's good!

    starman, mine too!

    michael, I enjoy the cycle by drinking it. :)


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