Yesterday we bottled the 2010 vintage of 'Chateau de Petit Ane Blanc'. It was a rather special event: unlike other years, when Best Beloved has used grapes from others' vinyards to make up barrel quantity, last year's harvest was all our own certified organic grapes. It was a smaller harvest – only 100 litres: fifty litres 'A' -quality, fifty litres 'B'- which had been patiently waiting in their stainless steel tanks in the basement winery for their descent into glass.
The night before, Le Sommelier arrived from Nicosia with wife and Littles-Aged son in tow. A good dinner was had by all, including my brother-in-law and his Intended over from Continental Europe (one lives in Vienna, one lives in Brussles). I baked salmon in foil and served it with dill butter, steamed baby potatoes, a tabbouleh and a green salad and followed that up with a pannacotta with forest-fruit sauce, and we were all tucked into bed by twelve.
We started at about eleven the next morning, LS filling bottles, BB corking them, Alex wiping them off and putting them in their appointed spots. Then friend Charis arrived with wife and Toddler son in tow and began filling bottles from the other tank, ably assisted by Toddler. Wives and I were fluid elements in the production line variously collecting bottles, rinsing them, opening packets and photographing the proceedings. Toward the end we ran out of bottles and I made a frantic circuit of the house rounding up the empty wine bottles that we have stashed in the bedrooms as water containers.
By one we had finished and cleaned up. Lunch was the remains of the salmon mashed with cream cheese, capers, lemon juice and pepper on brown toast, fresh asparagus, and for the non-pescavores cold roast beef sliced 'waffer-theen'.
'I think the wine is good', BB said to me last night. 'And LS thinks so, too. You can usually tell when he thinks its good because he doesn't say much...'
Best Beloved has put so much work into this -- hours of planting, weeding, pruning, tying up, harvesting, pressing... fiddling! Endless thought and research, endless consideration of the whys, hows, and wherefores of the making of good wine. The 2008 wine was lovely: complex and spicy -- and it received good reviews from People Who Know About Wine. Two thousand nine I liked less and I think BB liked it less, too.
I can't wait to see how this one turns out.