Vine Snippets

Pruning is an important element in our vineyard management for the ultimate wine,

Imposing disciplined growth patterns helps vine management, and ensures consistent yields and the healthiest, best grapes possible.  We aim to create even crop loads and a balanced leaf canopy, with enough leaves to fuel the plants, but not so many that the fruit is overly shaded.

We ensure that each vine has the right number of fruitful buds to provide the right crop level, and that the grapes have plenty of aeration to avoid fungal diseases.

At Grand Mayne we use the Guyot System, promoted by Charles Guyot in the 1860s.

This system can have one or two canes and spurs. The canes are tied to wires and the buds on the cane grow in to the vine’s canopy. This results in good leaf exposure for photosynthesis and evenly spread fruit beneath the trellis.

We pride ourselves on using modern techniques, but it’s interesting to see that we still rely on some traditional basics that have been practised for over 150 years.

Busy at the vineyard

If you have a spare 120 seconds, take a look at our video of January’s activity at the vineyard here.

We may not be allowed to leave our homes, but we can at least imagine being with Mathieu and the team amongst the vines and in the winery.

Our latest wine quiz

Test your knowledge and judgement on wine trivia, with our quick wine quiz here.

Pour yourself a glass of your favourite wine, as that’s bound to help you get the right answers.

Better still, share it with a couple of friends (socially distanced!) and see which of you scores best.  For each of the 28 statements, all you need do is call TRUE or FALSE. Any score over 25 deserves a big pat on the back, or another glass of wine …

The answers can be found here.

Reserve white wins Gold

Delighted to announce that our reserve white wine has been awarded another gold medal.  The splendid judges at The Drinks Business selected our 2017 Reserve white within its Global Masters series. This wine is one of my favourites, so it would have had my vote too. Well done Mathieu and team.

Sauvignon 2019 released

This is another white that we’re proud of, winning Silver this year in Paris. Warm, dry weather in May and June 2019 reduced the risk of disease. The summer was very hot, but with the right amount of rain coming just at the right times. A perfect vintage.

This is a really attractive wine: a little more tropical than 2018, and full of intense fresh flavours.  Order here

(We will release the 2018 red soon, along with the two Reserve wines from that vintage. In the meantime we still have a good supply of the fabulous 2017 red.)

Harvest begins

The little rain we had at the vineyard at the end of last week will help with the red wines later in the month, but it’s the white grapes and the reds for the rosé that we started to pick this week in near perfect conditions.

It was sunny but not too hot with cool nights. This combination is essential for freshness, and the grapes had a perfect balance between fruit and acidity.

With the temperatures back over 30 degrees this weekend, we were keen to make the most of the opportunity.

Can music make wine taste better?

We’re all looking for that perfect harmony of food, wine, place, mood and company. Some may have experienced it at a Michelin starred restaurant, others in their garden with a simple but perfectly formed barbecue or a great pizza with friends.

Professor Charles Spencer of Oxford University has done research which suggests that matching the right music can add up to 15% to your wine drinking pleasure. Click here to find out more.

Not surprisingly, the theory is that lighter, high tempo music adds to the enjoyment of lighter wines like Sauvignon and more textured richer music with rich reds like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mathieu our winemaker has his choices here if you want to find out more. Do you agree? I hope it provides some inspiration this weekend! We’d love to hear your choices too.

August BBQs at the vineyard

We finally launch our 2020 barbecues at the vineyard on the 7th and 28th of August. Please note  bookings are required!

We are eager to see you again for these unforgettable and convivial evenings !

PROGRAM :

  • Tasting of all our cuvées and exceptional discounts !
  • Concert by Peter & Simon Lane
  • Local products Tapas
  • Aperitif products from Le Comptoir de Marguerite
  • Amazing duck meals from La Ferme du Canard in St Sernin
  • Goat cheeses from la Ferme de Lirau
  • Deserts & vegetarian options cooked by Lydie from The Old Bookshop
  • From 6.30 PM
  • This year BOOKING IS REQUIRED !
  • Book by email at domaine@grandmayne.net
  • By phone at +33 5 53 94 74 17

FOR YOUR SAFETY :

  • Bookings for a better management
  • Smaller tables with more space in between
  • Always outside
  • No more glass service, only bottles
  • Management of the queues
  • Disinfectant products at your disposal

10 ways to get the most from your wine

1) Buy the right wines. 

It looks like you’re doing well here. (But if you are in any doubt: try these!)

2) Store your bottles well.

Find somewhere with a stable temperature, preferably cool.  The stability is as important as the temperature itself. Wines with corks should be on their sides, and all wines will prefer to be in the dark.

3) Store long enough, but not too long.

Our white and rosé wines can be drunk young, and will be good for a few years, say 3 to 5.  The merlot cabernet and the reserve white will both be good for over 10 years, and both will evolve slightly over that time. The reserve red is probably best between 5 and 10 years, but should be great still up to 15 years (or longer). The dessert wine could outlast all of us.

4) Get the temperature right.

The simple rule for white wines is that they should be served cold, but not too cold. On a hot day there’s nothing better than a cold glass of Sauvignon or rosé, but be careful not to serve too cold as you might dumb down the lovely flavours. In practice this could mean getting the wine out of the fridge before you want to serve it, and this is especially important with the Reserve white.

The reds on the other hand are often served too warm, so may benefit from a bit of time in the fridge and that’s especially the case with the Merlot Cabernet. A little cooler than normal room temperature is a good starting point.

If you’re looking for greater precision on this topic, then further research will show that different temperatures are advised for different grape varieties. But as we’re doing GCSE not degree level here, we will move on.

https://www.wineware.co.uk/decanting/perfect-drinking-temperature-for-wine

5) Open your wine at the right time.

When’s the right time?  It depends on the wine … you’ll see that’s a reliable answer for just about all the points we have mentioned!

For the rosé and the white wines, opening shortly before you serve the wine is fine, and there is no great advantage in letting your wine breathe for hours beforehand.

For the younger red wines, then it’s often worth encouraging a certain amount of aeration.  The aeration will soften the tannins and allow some of the flavours to open up.  Opening the bottle alone will not do a great deal; the neck of the bottle is so narrow that there’s not a great deal of aeration.

Swirling the wine in your glass is effective, easy and quick, but be careful you don’t launch droplets onto your neighbour’s lap … never a cool move. More reliable might be double decanting about an hour before you drink it.   Just pour the contents of your bottle into a jug, and then pour it back into the bottle, clearing away any residual sentiment as you do so.

One word of caution here. If you keep your fine wines for decades, then there’s less need to aerate. Very old wines should be treated as if they are very fragile and not exposed to the world for very long.  It’s those robust young, full-bodied, reds that can be poured vigorously from bottle to decanter. Like humans, old wines should be handled gently and with respect.

https://www.decanter.com/learn/advice/let-wine-breathe-ask-decanter-363531/

6) Use the right wine glass.

In most cases, we would favour stemmed, large glasses, made from thin glass. The ideal shape having a bowl that tapers at the top to capture all the lovely ripe aromas. Treat yourself to a glass that would hold most of the bottle … and resist the temptation to fill it to the top!

For a well-written and fuller commentary on choosing wine glasses, try this link:  https://guides.wsj.com/wine/wine-tips-and-tricks/how-to-select-a-good-wine-glass/

7) Drink it before it loses flavour after opening.

You love the wine but for once you can’t finish the bottle. The whites and rosés should be fine in the fridge for three to four days and the reds even longer especially if also stored in the fridge. There are also lots of gadgets that will help to keep the wine fresh for even longer, from the widely available Vacuvin to the Corovin.

We also quite like the rather lovely ETO Wine Decanter and if price is not an issue then there is always the Enomatic machine.

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/food/a574652/how-long-does-open-wine-last/

8) Know what you’re drinking.

For many wine enthusiasts, knowing a little about the wine they’re drinking is likely to enhance the experience. The taste might not improve by understanding the challenges for the wine maker of that particular vintage, but the appreciation and enjoyment might.

9) Drink with the right foods.

Going local is a great place to start, so the red wines of Grand Mayne tend to be great with duck, and the whites with goats cheese, for example.

But more generally, the rules are that delicate flavours go with delicate wines, fruity food flavours need fruity wines and richer, high fat and more powerful flavours are complemented by bigger wines, like the Grand Mayne reserves.

Simple food also usually means simple flavours in your wine.

Then there’s the influence of salt which is best balanced with a little acidity in the wine.

And finally, we should mention “unami”, the fifth taste, relating to the savoury flavours found in broths and cooked meats. These flavours are best unwrapped by matching, for example, a good Cabernet Sauvignon (or perhaps the Grand Mayne Reserve red) for an extra layer of deliciousness in both the food and the wine.

https://www.decanter.com/learn/food/recipes/food-and-wine/the-10-rules-of-food-and-wine-pairing-by-karen-macneil-289376/

10) Drink according to the lunar calendar.

We’ve all experienced drinking wines that taste fabulous on certain days and then, disappointingly, less wonderful on other days. Could it be the weather, your mood, the gin and tonic you had beforehand or even the people you’re with?

All of these factors may have some influence.  But there’s also the phases of the moon!  This is not something that any of us at Grand Mayne do much in practice, but there are some people who swear by it.

The biodynamic cycle suggests that fruit days are the best days to be drinking wine. Interestingly, the next fruit days are a week from now, and coincide with the opening of pubs and restaurants in England. Good timing, perhaps.

More info at: https://winefolly.com/lifestyle/biodynamic-calendar-fruit-day-wine-tasting/