2021 Rosé released

“Better than ever”… The color is luminous with a powdery pink robe, the nose is expressive and complex, mixing citrus, yellow peach, and flowers. The wine is delicate on the palate. It’s like a hug boosted by an exciting freshness. It has a surprising long aftertaste of strawberries and a final flavour of orange skin. Click here to buy.

Another Gold Medal

It was the news of a Gold Medal at the annual Concours Général Agricole in Paris for our Sauvignon 2021 that gave cause for celebration last week. The competition is all about quality, and is the major event in French agriculture.

Highlighting yet again the quality of our vineyard, the wine is wonderfully vibrant with a lovely fresh citrusy character. It will be a few months before it’s ready for release, but in the meantime the Silver medal winning 2020 is drinking beautifully. Click here and log in for prices.

Gold Medal wine released

When the highly respected Masters of Wine announced their list of the top 12 Gold Medal winning Sauvignon wines in the January edition of Drinks Business, they included a number of well-known wines from around the world.

Alongside them was a less well-known wine from a little vineyard in South West France: Domaine du Grand Mayne.

What’s even more remarkable is that every vintage of our Reserve white since 2015 has made it onto this list, with the 2019 the latest to win the prize.

We don’t make many bottles of this wine, so it remains amongst the South West’s best kept secrets. If you would like to be amongst the first to find out why this vintage is so highly regarded, please click here.

Cheval Blanc visit

Château Cheval Blanc in nearby Saint-Émilion produces wines that are recognised as amongst the very best in the world.

Mathieu had heard that they had started a project which sounded similar in many ways to his plans for the future of the Grand Mayne estate.

So last Friday, he headed to Saint-Émilion to meet the manager of their agro-ecology project, and Pierre-Olivier Clouet, the technical director.

Organic or not organic?

The original philosophy of Cheval Blanc was that they would convert to organic agriculture, but following intensive studies they decided that organics may not be the best answer from an ecological perspective for their vineyard.

Organic certification is focused on chemical products. It’s a really good start, but it misses other issues such as the carbon footprint, biodiversity, the health of the soil and other aspects of the agri-ecological management of the vineyard.

And whilst stopping the use of synthetic chemical products helps to decrease pollution, the use of some organic alternatives (eg copper) is far from ideal and not always the best response to green ambitions.organic?

What’s the answer?

Sometimes organic is good, sometimes biodynamic, and sometimes just focussing on vineyard health and sustainability is best. The key is to think about what we do and the consequences, and not simply follow a prescribed course of action for certification purposes.

Like us at Grand Mayne, Pierre-Olivier Clouet with his team are bringing this “farmer’s common sense” into all their decision making, helping ensure the biodiversity and the balance of the agro-system.

And in practice…

They start by sowing ground cover plants (mustard, clover) between the rows of vines to trap carbon and other nutrients, improving soil health for the benefit of the vines.

They also replace in some rows a few vines with trees, bringing shade and protection for the grapes. The trees also provide habitat for birds, whilst the network of roots form a symbiotic benefit for the vine roots. A range of tree species helps the drive for biodiversity: fruit trees such as pear, apple and cherry trees and other species such as basswood and beechwood.

Small ponds and hedgerows add to the variety of wildlife present at the vineyard. And a few sheep, chickens and beehives complete the scene.

They accept that they will lose a little area of vineyard when they grub and replant. But the benefit of enhancing nature’s balance with increased presence of small animals, birds, insects (especially bees) makes it worthwhile.

Traditional intensive vineyards are arguably a form of monoculture.  But Chateau Cheval is leading the way, amongst the sea of vines at Saint-Émilion, in how a well-balanced vineyard can be managed, bringing nature back amongst the vines.


Magnums for Christmas

Numerically, a magnum is a big bottle the size of two normal bottles. But in reality it is so much more.  At least, that’s how it feels if you’re ever presented with a magnum as a gift.

We can offer a great choice, whether for your own parties or as gifts, including the Rosé 2020 and Merlot Cabernet 2018 alongside some real treats in the beautiful Reserve red 2017 and absolutely glorious Reserve white 2015. The latter will be my pick for Christmas day!

Please order by 19 November, and we will get your magnums sent over on the next shipment from the vineyard for December delivery.

Fab Spectator review

“Seriously flavoursome wines…”

That’s not one of our own sales lines, but the view of one of our favourite wine writers, the much-respected Jonathan Ray in The Spectator.

Jonathan went on to review all our wines, which he had tasted with Mathieu a few weeks ago, so I have shared a few of the highlights below.

It’s not just journalists who have been writing about our wines. We have also been hearing from our customers, and I’m delighted to share this feedback too.

We were delighted with Jonathan’s comments about each of the individual wines. We especially liked that high quality, coupled with great value, was a consistent theme throughout.

Sauvignon Blanc 2020:

“a beautifully constructed, modestly priced gem”

Rosé 2020:

“I really rate this and found all I wanted was another glass”

Merlot Cabernet 2018:

“a complete joy … deliciously drinkable”

Reserve Sauvignon Semillon 2018:

“delectable smoothness … both succulent and satisfying”

Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2018:

“a remarkably sophisticated drop for the price”

You can read the full article here.

5 awards for 5 wines

In a week when sporting prowess was at the fore, I want to tell you about medals.  And it’s not an early nod to the Olympics.

This week, Decanter magazine gave their annual awards, and I’m delighted to report that all five Grand Mayne wines were medal winners.  That’s five out of five.  What a fantastic achievement, Mathieu, very well done.

We will follow up with more details in future weeks.

At the vineyard

Long gone are the days of chemical weed and grass killer – it’s tillage time!  Properly carried out, mechanical weed and grass control improves soil aeration, the soil’s physical structure and aids water penetration. It also promotes biological activity and soil life and in turn provides nourishment to the vines.

We manage the process plot by plot. In some areas we just cut the grass and for others we simply tillage every other row to control the competition between the grass and the vine. Click here to see the action.

Winemaker masterclass

We were thrilled with all the positive feedback following our last on-line tasting, so for customers who missed it first time around, we are running two more tastings on the 27th May and 10th June.

It’ll have the same mix of amusement and information, covering topics like people, terroir, vintage and sustainability. This time we’ll be spreading the six wines over two evenings. Starting at 6pm, we expect each tasting of three wines to last around 60 minutes. Click here for more details.