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.
|A few weeks ago, we celebrated the first buds of the 2021 vintage in temperatures of 24 degrees. Then last week we watched in horror as temperatures dropped to minus 3 degrees, damaging the early buds and reminding us of the constant challenges that the weather brings.
Around 10% to 15% of the new buds of Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were affected, but we’re hoping that a second budding will reduce the full impact on this year’s production. Some neighbours lit fires (with limited success) whilst other vineyard owners tried very expensive methods of keeping the frost from the buds: giant fans, candles, helicopter down-draught.
Sadly, there are reports that Burgundy will lose a significant proportion of the 2021 crop thanks to the cold weather. Being a winemaker has its challenges.
The 2017 vintages of the Reserve red and white are both drinking really well at present, as they will for many years to come.
We are now also launching these wines from the 2018 vintage. It was a tough spring with rain and high humidity bringing the risk of mildew, but that was followed by three glorious summer months and a harvest in perfect conditions.
I miss our wine tasting events. The sounds of people chatting, the buzz from tasting multiple wines in a short space of time and the sense of pride from seeing so many appreciative reactions all belong to the time before Covid.
It may be foolish, but on 1st April we are going to create a virtual alternative.
Time: 18:30 – 20:00
Venue: your place via Zoom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join.
We’ll be tasting the new vintages 2018 Merlot Cabernet, 2020 Rosé, Reserve Merlot Cabernet 2018, Reserve Sauvignon/Sémillon 2018, Fusion red 2018 and Sauvignon 2019 (The new 2020 will be bottled later this year).
It will be a fun and informative evening with our winemaker Mathieu and others from the Grand Mayne team. A tasting case is available here containing the wines at only £60 (remember to log in or use DISCOUNT25 code) or you can just join in without the wines by emailing Richard here and I’ll send you the Zoom log in details.
|Our 2020 Rosé was bottled a few weeks back, and has now safely arrived in our UK warehouse. I am always a little apprehensive when tasting new vintages: will it be as good as last year?
I needn’t have worried. It’s really delicious already. Close your eyes and the fresh citrussy delicate aromas evolve in to the fine red fruit of the Cabernet.
It’s got lovely balance, and yes, it made me smile. Winter evenings won’t be so dark now.
As the weather warms up – in the UK at least – Patrick Schmitt at The Drinks Business magazine has selected “a fine, fresh white from southwest France that costs £15, but tastes like something selling for double that price.”
With your 25% discount you can buy this for £11.21 per bottle delivered to your door in the UK. Read the full article here.
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.
|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.
|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.
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.
The silver medal winning Sauvignon 2019 is now on offer for only £7.25 per bottle delivered to your door. Order here. Don’t forget to log in or enter DISCOUNT25 whilst viewing the shopping basket.
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.)
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many will have met our wonderful winemaker, Mathieu, either when visiting the vineyard or at an event in the UK. As it’s hard to get to visit at the moment, we asked him to run through a few of the wines in short videos.
We’ll be adding more regularly but you can see them now on the Sauvignon, Rosé and Merlot Cabernet, along with latest vineyard news. They’re on our Youtube channel here.
Open a bottle of your favourite Grand Mayne wine and have some fun testing yourself with our unusual wine quiz.
You might also like to torture your friends and family by sharing it with them at your next techno meet up. They may not thank you for the quiz, but you could always remind them that they get 25% off the wine by using the code DISCOUNT25.
Just answer true or false to each of the twenty statements. There’s no need to turn to Google for help, as you can click here for the answers when you’re done. And here’s what we think of your score:
10 or under: thank you for being honest
11-14: better than just guessing
15-17: showing good knowledge or judgement
18-19: super impressive
20: Genius or Google
|Statements of fact … or are they fiction?||True or False?|
1) In Japan, it is possible to buy wine-flavoured KitKats.
2) A temporary worker in the Grand Mayne vineyard left work in protest that the morning ritual of kissing fellow workers was discouraged in the light of the emerging Coronavirus epidemic.
3) In the 1929 staging of the Tour de France, the Italian cyclists went on strike when the race officials insisted that their drinking vessels (called bidons) could be filled with French, but not Italian, wine
4) Researchers at NASA discovered that at zero-gravity, wine gives off a nasty odour.
5) Cabernet Sauvignon can be used to make white wine.
6) Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found that wine glasses have increased sevenfold in size over the last 300 years.
7) The original 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines was modified shortly after publication when one of the First Growth nominations was found to have been enhanced with black currant juice (cassis).
8) Snake wine is a drink in south-east Asia, made by infusing a snake in rice wine.
9) In the table of wine bottle names, a magnum is equivalent to two bottles and a goliath is equivalent to thirty-six bottles.
10) The restaurants of Piedmont in Italy, used to collect the contents of spittoons from the annual wine-tasting festival, as it was better for cooking than using cheaper wines from other regions.
11) Rosé is made by blending a small quantity of red wine with white wine.
12) A winery in Maryland, USA, is using a Boxer dog to help deliver wine to customers, thereby ensuring social distancing protocols are met.
13) Until the 1970s, it was the tradition for wine makers in the Bandol region of France to use donkeys to tread the grapes.
14) The residents of Tournon-sur-Rhône enjoyed an impromptu cheese and wine party after the driver of a wine delivery truck crashed into the village cheese store.
15) A winery in Abruzzo, Italy, set up a wine fountain so that pilgrims walking from Ortona to Rome could quench their thirst free of charge.
16) Additives that have been used in the past to give flavour to wine include fermented fish sauce, garlic and absinthe.
17) At the Grand Mayne annual UK garden party (since June 2014), guests can drink an unlimited amount of fabulous Grand Mayne wine.
18) In June 2017, one of the guests leaving the garden party was sufficiently confused to not notice that her taxi drove her to Haslemere in Surrey rather than Hazlemere in Buckinghamshire.
19) Wine gums were invented by Charles Maynard, who was the son of a staunch Methodist teetotaller.
20) In 2009, a 15-year old boy was not allowed to buy wine gums from a store in Wisbech, as he was too young to buy alcohol.
Some of our customers have said that their bottles seem to be getting smaller. This phenomenon has been especially noticeable with our newly released Rosé 2019.
We are pleased to confirm that our bottles are still 750ml, and we suggest that the illusion was largely caused by the drinkability of the wine in sunny conditions over the Easter weekend.
You can check yourself by ordering here
There’s a 25% discount for everyone during lockdown. Use Discount Code DISCOUNT25 if you don’t already have an account.
The vine tendril is extraordinary. Every one different, new each year, delicate and fine but with the strength to support the grape laden vines. And they’re also very beautiful and have been a source of some great photography and art works which is why we decided to use them on our labels.
A shareholder and good friend of Grand Mayne called Christopher Milton Stevens who designs and makes some fabulous jewellery from his Bath studio, visited the vineyard and loved the opportunity the shapes gave him.
Christopher photographed hundreds of tendril shapes at the vineyard, then went away and began designing a stunning range of items.
Inspired by his visits to the vineyard, we thought you’d enjoy the full story behind the range which Christopher has called “Vine”.
Click here to see his design story.
We received a wonderful endorsement in the Spectator last month: Mathieu was especially pleased to see that his Reserve red “knocks the spots off” many of the more expensive wines emerging from Bordeaux. Thank you Johnny Ray for recognising this! here’s the full review:-
“Not so much a wine merchant as a multi-award-winning artisan winery with vineyards in the Côtes du Duras near Bordeaux and a UK outlet in Hampshire, from where they deliver across the country.
My pick: 2017 Domaine du Grand Mayne Reserve, 13.5%vol, £11.21 (down from £14.95). As enjoyed at a recent Spectator Winemaker Lunch, a succulent, ripe, oak-aged Cabernet/Merlot blend made just down the road from Bordeaux that knocks the spots off many a twice-the-price claret.”
Our 2019 Rosé is now bottled and ready to cheer everyone up! A beautiful pale pink with extraordinary balance and a lot of finesse, it’s fresh and citrusy and evolves into red fruit notes. It’s a remarkable wine given the heat of 2019 and great to drink now. At £7.99 delivered to your door UK here or €5.25 collected Calais here.
it’s a great time to bag some fabulous bargains from our January 2020 Sale, whether you choose delivery to your door or dash over to collect from our Calais warehouse and save even more money. You’ll also beat any price increases in February.
If you haven’t been there, the Calais warehouse is just 5 minutes from the tunnel leaving lots of time for a delicious lunch before you return. Many of our customers join together with friends to fill their boots on some great bargains even without these special sale prices, and the tunnel crossing is great value at his time of year.
Here are the Sale wines:-
2017 Sauvignon – Save 20%.
2018 Sauvignon – Save 10%.
2016 Merlot Cabernet – Save 15%.
2013 Reserve Sauvignon/Sémillon – Save 25%.
2014 Reserve Sauvignon/Sémillon – Save 25%.
2015 Reserve Sauvignon/Sémillon Magnum – Save 20%.
2014 Reserve Merlot Cabernet Magnum Sauvignon/Sémillon – Save 15%.
Minimum order for sale wines is 12 bottles or 3 magnums. For those wishing to collect from the vineyard, the same savings are available on these wines.
With best wishes for 2020 from the whole team at Grand Mayne.
If ordering for Calais or Vineyard collection all we ask is you collect before 31 May 2019 on this offer.
The new 2017 Reserve Merlot Cabernet and Reserve Sauvignon Sémillon are launched today.
Following such a difficult start to the vintage we’re delighted that all of Mathieu’s hard work has resulted in two fabulous wines. We think you’ll like them too, so we’re offering you a special bonus for ordering before they arrive in October! £1 or €1 per bottle discount for all orders before 30 September. the wines will be available in October. Click here for more.
Join us for the launch of our new oaked Reserve red and white wines with Mathieu, our winemaker, at one of these fabulous events where you can be the first to try the latest Reserve vintages with fabulous food.
Monday 21 October at Café du Marché, 22 Charterhouse Square, Barbican, London EC1M 6DX (tickets here); Tuesday 22 October at The High Field Studio, 21 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3DP (tickets here) and on Wednesday 23 October at Timbrell’s Yard, 49 St. Margaret’s Street, Bradford-on-Avon, BA15 1DE (tickets here).
For full details click here.
The three most important wines from the vineyard in terms of production are the Sauvignon, Rosé and Merlot Cabernet, which we normally release around April straight after bottling.
Each year though, we’ve seen the wines improve and develop by a huge amount in the first few months in bottle, so this year we thought we’d release the wines a little later.
And we think it’s been worth it. The Sauvignon is starting to show a mineral grassy fragrance and mouthwatering freshness, the rosé, pale and delicate and with refreshing hints of red fruit and the Merlot Cabernet, deep black and red fruit aromas but soft and vibrant on the palate.
All in all, a great trio from two difficult vintages which show Grand Mayne at its best.
All are available now.
- Barbecue by “à la bonne franquette” and the finest butcher in Duras, featuring the best meat of the area, charcuterie and French fries. All reasonably priced and fantastic quality.
- Music by local artists featuring a selection of rock, pop, jazz and blues.
- Petanque: challenge the Grand Mayne team for a selection of prizes.
- And of course the wines! Discover as much as you like of the full range of Grand Mayne wines for a single payment of just 10€ per person (soft drinks available free of charge for children).
We’ve teamed up with Lovage & Pumpernickel this year to offer you a wonderful dining experience at the vineyard. They’ll be at the Grand Mayne vineyard, offering a market fresh menu of 5 courses for €30 plus wines from the Domaine on the following dates:-
Wednesday 12 June 2019
Thursday 13 June 2019
Wednesday 10 July 2019
Thursday 11 July 2019
Wednesday 7 August 2019
Thursday 8 August 2019
Wednesday 21 August 2019
Thursday 22 August 2019
To book visit www.lovageandpumpernickel.com
It will be a great experience, but places are limited so please book early. For all events click here.
“Winning Gold in Paris is like winning an Oscar”. Established in 1870, the ‘Concours Général Agricole’ (CGA) is a French competition providing a unique platform for ‘agricultural’ products such as cheese and wine. Winning a Gold medal in Paris is a bit like winning an Oscar, so we were over the moon when we heard that our soon to be released 2018 Sauvignon had won a Gold this year. The wine will be available first to Club Grand Mayne members and then on wider sale from around June, as we think that the wines taste best when they’ve had a few months in bottle.
The popular Ashe Park Summer Garden Party will be on Sunday 23 June 2019. We’d love to see you here, so please save the date. This year it will feature the first opportunity to taste all the new vintages along with a special auction of some old vintages and magnums. More details on the fun and formalities to follow!
If you have not been before, it’s a great opportunity to meet the Grand Mayne team in the beautiful surroundings of Ashe Park, wander round the gardens and grounds, and taste the range of wines from your vineyard with fellow Grand Mayners.
As well as more details on the Garden Party, we’ll update you soon on the events at the vineyard over the summer.
The most important sale ever!
it’s a great time to bag some fabulous bargains from our January 2019 Sale, whether you choose delivery to your door or dash over to collect from our Calais warehouse and save even more money. You’ll also beat any price increases in February.
If you haven’t been there, the Calais warehouse is just 5 minutes from the tunnel leaving lots of time for a delicious lunch before you return. Many of our customers join together with friends to fill their boots on some great bargains even without these special sale prices, and the tunnel crossing is great value at his time of year.
Here are the Sale wines:-
2017 Sauvignon – Save 10% in Calais or 5% in UK
2017 Rosé – Save 5% in UK only
2016 Merlot Cabernet – Save 10% in Calais or 5% in UK
2012 Reserve Merlot Cabernet – Save 10% in UK only
2012 Reserve Sauvignon/Sémillon – Save 20% in Calais and UK
2013 Reserve Sauvignon/Sémillon – Save 20% in Calais and UK
2014 Reserve Sauvignon/Sémillon – Save 20% in Calais and UK
Minimum order for UK sale wines is 12 bottles. For those wishing to collect from the vineyard, the same savings are available on these wines.
With best wishes for 2019 from the whole team at Grand Mayne.
If ordering for Calais or Vineyard collection all we ask is you collect before 31 May 2019 on this offer. Also Franglais Vins has changed their name to Oliviers Vins!
Every year Mathieu has the opportunity to make a small amount of a wine that is the best that he can make from the vineyard in that particular vintage. Free of the restrictions of the appellation, in 2012 the wine was dominated by the small amount of Syrah we have in the vineyard. Then in 2015 the fabulous Cabernet was given a strand of elegance from the small amount of Chenin Blanc we have.
So what did Mathieu do with the equally fabulous 2016 vintage?
The good news is that he’s made another great and really unusual wine made entirely this year from the Cabernet Franc grape which was so good that he just didn’t want to blend it with anything else! And he’s particularly excited about it as it’s a wine that goes back to his roots in the Loire where (until now!), the best examples of the grape come from.
From very low yields in the best part of the limestone vineyards at the estate, it’s been aged in oak barrels for a year and then bottled.
So what does Cabernet Franc taste like? Mathieu’s tasting notes are “A nose of ripe fruits combine with mint and pepper notes. Smooth and fruity flavours followed by a feeling of freshness and hints of spice. Excellent balance. An expressive and sophisticated wine. It will be great too to tuck away for a few years. But it won’t disappoint either if you can’t resist to try it sooner”.
And the bad news? To ensure it was something special, Mathieu was only able to make a very small quantity – just 300 six bottle cases, which is a lot less than last year. And when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
We’re just a little pleased, as we heard this week that we had won the coveted Coup de Coeur award in Bordeaux on Monday evening.
Alongside some of the great vineyards of Bordeaux at the Best of Wine Tourism event at Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, Domaine du Grand Mayne were awarded the Coup de Coeur for their achievements in developing and encouraging Wine Tourism at this prestigious ceremony.
The award was given for a combination of the quality of the wines, visitor experience, successful crowd funding campaigns and the many ideas that bring wine to life at the estate for everyone. These include photography lessons, kids wine label design competitions and a very popular barbecue with music and wine tasting that ran throughout the summer.
General Manager Mathieu Crosnier said “It’s great for our vineyard in the little known Côtes de Duras to be recognised alongside such illustrious names from both Bordeaux and around the world, and this award is a real credit to the small dedicated team at Grand Mayne. We look forward to welcoming more and more visitors to our beautiful estate as a result”.
For more information see the following:
With all the wines in the cellar following the harvest, we asked Mathieu to give an insight in to the 2018 vintage at Domaine du Grand Mayne:-
Every time I have a baby, we have a difficult vintage! And from January to September, i was again sure of it. My first son, Baptiste was born in 2013 which was a vintage with lot of rain, and a strong hailstorm during the harvest. Despite that we made some good wines and especially the reserve white and I’ve kept some for his 18th birthday. My second son Camille came at the end of June.
So 2018 started with lot of rain from January to early July. It just didn’t seem to stop. Rain, rain and more rain. It was difficult to manage the pressure of disease in the vineyard (which resulted in a serious loss on Merlot), and difficult for the vineyard workers and the mind of all of us. It was a very hard few months. And then a day after the rain stopped, came hot and dry weather without a drop more rain from July to September which saved the vintage after the horrible start. But this too was very hard to manage.
Then came the harvest. I always change my mind several times during the harvest but never as much as this year. We started with a crazy rush with all the whites maturing at the same time. And then the waiting for the reds.
The level of sugar of the Merlot was going up strongly but the skins were not matured yet. Do we pick the grapes because the level of sugar is high or do we wait for matured skin?
As a huge part of the quality of a red is in the skin, we decided to wait. And as I always say the level of sugar and the level of acidity are just one part of the quality of a berry. The most important is the balance and the quality of the skin.
So without a lot of questions in our heads, we changed our mind several time, sometimes 3 or 4 times in the same day. But at the end, I think we took the right decision. The work in the cellar was done well to extract the best without extracting the hardest tannins and the result will be very good.
And it’s in this kind of vintage that we recognize the best terroirs because at the end, despite all these difficulties, the wines are fabulous.
The whites and rosé are very well balanced with a beautiful freshness. And the reds are reacting very well in the cellar. Even the Merlot that I felt earlier to be not sensational is looking good. In fact all the wines are a really good surprise, with beautiful balances and structure.
It was hard work all year for all the team here but worth it!
We have arranged a series of dinners where Mathieu has matched the food with the wines and we look forward to seeing you, but remember that space is limited so please book early to avoid disappointment!
Monday 12th November. Caledonian Club, London, 9 Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DR. This fabulous private members club adjacent to Hyde Park Corner in the heart of Belgravia is the starting point for the tour with a menu designed to show at it’s best the charm and elegance of the 2016 vintage. 7.00pm for 7.30pm. 3 course menu with all wines @ £75. Click here to book.
Tuesday 13th November. Kingswood Golf and Country Club, Sandy Lane, Kingswood, Tadworth, KT20 6NE. We’re delighted to be back at this ever popular venue in Surrey where we have a large number of long standing customers. 7.00 pm for 7.30pm. 3 course menu with all wines £49. Click here to book. Please note that there will be a pre dinner tasting at this event from 6.30pm. Why not book a stay in the Lodge at the special rate of just £109. Please quote Grand Mayne when booking rooms direct with Kingswood.
Wednesday 14th November. The Olive Tree Restaurant at The Qeensberry Hotel, Russel Street, Bath, BA1 2QF. Join us to celebrate the recently awarded Michelin star to sit alongside the 4 AA Rosettes, at what is one of the West of England’s finest restaurants where Chef Chris Cleghorn who trained with Heston Blumenthal and Michael Caines amongst others, will be creating a very special menu to go with the wines. 7.00pm for 7.30pm. £79 including all wines. Click here to book.
The Cabernet Franc is now safely in which only leaves the Cabernet Sauvignon to harvest. The rain at the beginning of the week was good for the maturation of this parcel, and Mathieu hopes to have this completed on Friday. Another year’s crop safely in and more to follow on the quality of this vintage.
The Merlot harvest started at the end of last weekend and it was exciting to spend the weekend working on the reds. The aroma of yeast and fermentation filled the winery. Its fantastic!
By Monday the Merlot was mostly in the cellar and we could start working on remontage or “pumping over” and Pigeage or “punching down”. Remontage is the process of pumping red wine up from the bottom of the tank and over the skins so that the carbon dioxide is pushed to the surface and released. In Pigeage we break up the skins that form at the surface and submerge them to extract colour, tannins, flavour and aromas from the grape solids.
Problem for this years Merlot are the thick skins which struggled to ripen while sugar levels rose but time will tell regarding quality.
Tuesday started very cold, with a sense of winter in the air and temperatures of just 1 degree but it was back to focusing on whites and we put the 2018 Reserve in barrel with high hopes of another great wine.
After a few days without picking at Grand Mayne when the atmosphere was very calm and strange, today we were back in to crazy mode picking the perfect grapes for the rosé from Cabernet Sauvignon.
We had the right maturity with citrus aromas in place of the green pepper of last week. Soon back to the Merlot for the reds!
After the frantic activity of the week before last, when all the Sauvignon ripened at once, there’s been a strange calm over the vineyards as we wait for the all important balance to form in the grapes.
Next will be Sémillon and the last of the reds for the Rosé (possibly on Monday next), and then we wait again for the ripening of the Merlot and the Cabernet. All is good, as so far as the waiting is being done under clear skies and with the perfect weather, but for the perfect wine we need the red skins to ripen before the sugar levels get too high.
We’ll be biting on those lovely grapes daily until the perfect moment arrives.
This year’s harvest has started, with 2 big days on the Sauvignon grapes which all ripened at the same time. 400 hectalitres (that’s 40,000 litres) in 2 days!
The order of ripening and picking is always Sauvignon first, then Merlot, then Cabernets and we’re hoping for a dry September.
We’re delighted that the Guide Hachette 2019 has awarded 2 stars to our Merlot Cabernet 2016. This follows the Silver medal awarded in Paris earlier this year.
Our winemaker Mathieu describes it as “Vibrant and intense with fresh fruit aromas. Soft, juicy, succulent and long-lasting flavours with a delicious weight of pure ripe fruit and a smooth, velvety texture”.
If you haven’t tried it yet, we have stock in the UK, at Calais and at the vineyard.
The grapes are ripening beautifully at the vineyard and it was touch and go whether we begin the harvest this week. But Mathieu’s decided that the Sauvignon grapes will benefit from a few more days under the clear sunny skies, so the Grand Mayne harvest will begin in earnest next week. The order of ripening and picking is always Sauvignon first then Merlot then Cabernets and we’re hoping for a dry September.
That means of course that there’s one more chance to enjoy the last summer Friday barbecue this Friday!
Let’s get this over with first…we love using natural cork for our Reserve wines. But despite lots of reassurances from the cork industry that they are solving the problem of corkiness in wines, we continue to experience very occasional problems.
Having gone to lots of trouble to look after the grapes and make great wine, it’s really upsetting for us to think that your enjoyment might be spoiled by a fault in the closure, so you’ll notice a change in the 2016 Reserve wines as we are using a closure which is becoming increasingly popular called “Diam”.
So what causes corked wine? It happens when the cork is infected by a substance called trichloloanisole(TCA), which can be transmitted from cork or even wood such as pallets in the winery. The result is a corky, musty smelling taint of differing degrees. The other problem with natural cork is the natural variation between different corks in porosity to air, which can lead to extreme variations in oxidation of the wine.
This has been particularly noticeable in white burgundy, but can also be apparent in our white Reserve which has much in common with those great wines.
The Diam process chops the cork into tiny pieces and uses carbon dioxide to remove any traces of TCA, in the same way as caffeine is removed from coffee. It also sorts the superior, highly elastic suberin component from the less elastic lignin which is discarded. It then mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance that’s used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing the porosity to air and increasing elasticity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. Phew!
You can look out for Diam’s in the fabulous 2016 Reserve wines which will be released in the UK next month.
Big thanks to Peach Pub Group who are offering our fabulous 2017 Rose as Wine of the Month! Silver medal winner in Paris earlier this year, you can try it at any of the Peach pubs here.
Our 2016 Reserve red and white wines, both Gold medal winners in Paris earlier this year, will be released for tasting at the vineyard BBQ tonight. More news for UK & Calais collections in a few weeks.
2018 is proving to be the hardest vintages to manage. Following one of the wettest starts to the year anyone can remember, when managing vine growth in rain sodden vineyards was a real challenge, the grapes are now filling out beautifully in temperatures of well over 30 degrees. We’re now hoping for some cooler nights to give the all important acidity to the wines
Surviving frost and one of the smallest vintages for years, the 2017 Sauvignon is a sublime white with mouthwatering freshness and a lovely mineral intensity.
Get 10% off on all orders in July. It’s a must for summer drinking. Don’t forget to Log in when ordering to see your special prices.
A record 288 attended our tasting events in Bristol, London and Oxford as well as the ever popular Ashe Park garden party where the sun shone all day. New vintages were tasted, news from the vineyard given by Mathieu and delicious hampers consumed at the picnic. Thank you to all who attended.
Our target to raise £100,000 on the issue of new shares via Seedrs has successfully raised £141,000! A big thank you to everyone who has invested and recommended others to do so. Once we have the final details from Seedrs, we will be writing to all new investors to welcome them to the Grand Mayne family.
The London Sommelier wine Awards have given our 2016 Sauvignon a Gold medal. The Sommelier Wine Awards is a wine competition with a difference. As Britain’s only on-trade wine competition, it focuses entirely on wines aimed at the on-trade. The SWA judges all serve or buy wine for their venues in the on-trade, or are leading consultants, so it’s especially pleasing to win Gold. Well done to Mathieu and the team.
We think you’ll love the new vintages. We’ve just tasted them and they’re exactly as we had hoped. Tasting notes are included below.
All are available from 30 April for collection at Franglais Vins (order here) or for UK delivery (order here). Don’t forget that you get €60 off your bill if you place an order for €600 or more from Calais before the end of April. Log in to see your special prices.
You can still join us for one of our tastings on:
• Wednesday 30 May – The Glassboat Restaurant, Bristol. Tickets here.
• Thursday 31 May – Bloomsbury House, London. Tickets here.
• Friday 1 June – The Fox, Boars Hill, Oxford. Tickets here.
The excellent red 2016 Merlot Cabernet won Silver at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris last month. It’s from the outstanding 2016 vintage and is vibrant and intense with fresh ripe fruit aromas. It is soft, juicy and succulent with long-lasting flavours and a delicious weight of pure ripe fruit and a smooth, velvety texture.
We’re also really pleased with the 2017 Sauvignon which has an intense and pure character on the nose; citrus fresh on the palate, with delicate notes of passion fruits, and subtle nuances of mineral flavours. Well balanced, fresh and at the same time with a soft texture. The purity continues in a long, lingering vibrant finish.
The 2017 Rosé also won Silver at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris last month. A beautiful pale pink colour with hints of strawberry and citrus freshness, that combine the vibrant character of the Cabernet Sauvignon with a hint of roundness brought by the Merlot. Dangerously easy to drink.
We’re keen to attract as many people as we can to visit the vineyard, and there’s no better way than staying in the vineyard properties which are great for holidays for groups of 2 to 12.
We can arrange all sorts of activities including cookery lessons, hot air balloon flights, golf and horse riding to fill in the time between tasting the wines and relaxing around the pool.
There are still weeks and half weeks available this year, and we’re booking in to 2019 with discounts available at La Maison for smaller parties. Shareholders and customers will always enjoy priority booking but we’re also now releasing dates to a number of new agencies, so please contact Richard on 01256 772898 to book your stay as we want to give you priority. You can see availability and prices here.
Winemaker, Mathieu Crosnier, will be in the UK for each of the tastings of our (fabulous!) new vintages which will be on the evenings of 30th May in Bristol, 31st May in London and 1st June in Oxford. As in previous years there will be plenty of opportunity to taste the new vintages and find out more about how things are progressing in the business at each of these events. You can access full details of all events here.
It’s cold, it takes weeks and weeks for the team in the cold and wet, but it’s really important to get right because the making of great wines starts here each year!
At Domaine du Grand Mayne we have different grape varieties, a mosaic of soils and vines of different ages. It’s great for the end product but as a result we have to adapt the type of pruning and training:-
-“La taille en Guyot” works well where we need to help the quantity of grapes per vine which is important for us on some terroir without a lot of vigour.
-“La taille en Cordon”is very good to control the yield and reduce the production to be sure to have very good grapes with even maturation.
Click here for a video are showing the “Taille en Cordon” on our Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mathieu watches over the latest vintages and we’re delighted to report that all is looking great.
2016 reds are promising to be as fruity and luscious as the 2015’s but perhaps with a little more elegance. The smaller 2017 vintage looks like being a success for both reds and especially whites. They’re tasting really good as is the 2016 Reserve white which is 100% Sauvignon and has a lovely fresh mineral character.
As in previous years we’ll be releasing the lower priced un-oaked wines around May and the Reserve wines around September
Heavy frosts have been the hallmark of the past few weeks and the vineyard is also saturated following weeks of rain.
So pity Fifi, Manu and Margaux as they prune the 34 hectares. To keep them going they’ve formed a Grand Mayne choral society, and their voices float across the valley!
We’ve asked them to make a guest performance at one of this year’s events, but so far they’re insistent that they’ll keep their performances to outdoors when pruning. An extra reason to visit before the end of March perhaps?
We’ve added another award – one of the top attractions in the area for our Friday night BBQs at the vineyard in July and August. With food from the best butcher in Duras, wine from the vineyard and music from great bands to dance under the stars, what better way to spend a summer’s evening? Of course we will be repeating the evenings this summer.
It’s a Le Mans start for the loungers by the pool at La Maison. Come and stay for a really relaxed and chilled time, surrounded by vines with breathtaking views over the valley. A warm pool awaits with Grand Mayne wines to sip in the sun.
For 2018 availability click here. Also don’t forget La Petite Maison – ideal for 2 in the beautifully restored barn. Call Richard on 01256 772898 to book.
The Grand Mayne SALE is now on with 10% off all Varietals and some reserve wines. Order in January to save and beat the February price rise. Click here to order for UK delivery or here for Calais collection and for more information on the wines.
Starting with decisions regarding the quality of the grapes from different parts of the vineyard which can vary from year to year, the Réserve wines at Grand Mayne get the very best treatment. Selection is followed by a choice regarding oak barrels which can come from different countries and coopers, each of which will provide a different character to the wine. We buy from a number to ensure the right balance. Its also important to decide how many new barrels to use alongside those that we’ve used in earlier years. Regular tasting then determines just how long the wine should be left in barrel. The following is a brief summary of what’s changed each year recently in the making of Domaine du Grand Mayne Reserve white.
All the wines are fermented and aged in barrel.
In 2011 : Mathieu added a bit of Sémillon to the Sauvignon. There was also a little less new barrel (between 1/3 and ¼), and the wine was left for one year in barrel. The 2011 is lower in acidity as a result of the hot dry weather so this wine needs to be drunk over the next 12 months.
2012 was the year in which Mathieu really took over, and he selected some different barrels as he wanted less oak flavor and and more freshness. Sémillon and Sauvignon were both excellent.
in 2012 : with a beautiful balance. Ageing was during one year as with the 2011 and Mathieu believes this vintage can be aged for a long time.
In 2013 : Batches of grapes were picked before the hail that devastated the harvest in 2013 so quality was again good, but maybe not as complex as 2012. One year in barrel and a bit less acidity but good richness too.
In 2014 : The Semillon wasn’t as good as in 2012 and 2013, so this is more Sauvignon. We also left the wine in barrel for a few months less to improve balance and retain that all important freshness.
In 2015 : The Semillon was still not at the same level as in 2012, but the Sauvignon was fantastic with richness and complexity. We also introduced bigger barrels of 400 litres and new suppliers and left the wine in barrel for just 6 months. We also added the Sauvignon from a new part of the vineyard on limestone, into the blend.
Mathieu’s tasting notes
2011 : My first vintage and true to say a familiarization vintage for him so not the best example of this wine. It’s still quite good though with dry fruits, almond, dry Corinth grapefruit, and honeysuckle. And also a buttery character. A bit heavy but still fresh and well balanced. Click here to order.
2012 : Amazing ! Complex. Citrusey, dry fruit, candied fruits, flowers (honeysuckle), white fruit (dry pear) , mineral, rich, fresh, amazing balance. Nice acidity, long and saline vibrant. Click here to order.
2013 : Much the same in many ways to 2012 but a little bit lighter and less complex. Very nice balance though and a bit more sweetness at the end. Click here to order.
2014 : Different to previous vintages with more fresh citrus fruits but perhaps less complex at this point in its development. More on the fruity side which will please many. Rich round and well balanced. Click here to order.
2015 : Perhaps the best Reserve white so far. Citrus, white fruits, citrus skin, flowery and mineral. Outstanding balance, acidity, and richness. Long and fresh. Staying so long in the mouth. Click here to order.
Domaine du Grand Mayne has created a unique opportunity for you to make your own personal wine vintage at the Grand Mayne winery.
Staying in our beautiful villa in the Côtes de Duras, you and your guests (up to 12 people) will work with our master winemaker Mathieu Crosnier to create your personal very special wine.
Under Mathieu’s expert guidance you will blend a barrel of wine (300 bottles) from the very best wines currently in the Grand Mayne barrel cellar. Your unique barrel of wine will be bottled the following year complete with personalized labels to your design.
It’s a three-day weekend event where you will taste extensively from the range of wines available for your blend. You’ll also do tastings of different vintages of Grand Mayne wines across the range of whites and reds.
Mathieu will take you through the theory and practice of wine blending, so that by the end of the weekend you will be clear as to how to incorporate your preferred styles and flavours. Your preferences will be reflected in the barrel of wine you create at the end of the weekend. You will also understand the effects of the mosaic of terroir and the vintages on our wines.
As well as spending some time designing your personalised label, you can determine how much time you set aside to relax and enjoy the house or explore the local area.
The price for the long weekend’s accommodation and 300 bottles of wine is €6000 (inc VAT). So it’s only €20 per bottle.
A long weekend (3 days) in November for reds and March for whites, dates to suit you and Mathieu.
At the Grand Mayne vineyard, with accommodation in the 6 bedroom villa on site. Click Here to see the villa.
That’s up to you. The house has six bedrooms (5 with en suite), three doubles and three twins. Why not get a group of friends together!
When can we drink our wine?
Your wine will be bottled in April (reds), and October (whites) and will be available for drinking soon after. But our recommendation will be to take your time. If kept properly, the wine should improve for years to come, depending on the style of wine you choose to create.
How do we get our wine home?
The price includes delivery of your bottles to our warehouse in Calais, where you can currently collect the wine without payment of UK duty. Alternatively we can arrange to deliver the wine to UK addresses at an extra cost per bottle depending on current UK duty and transport costs.
How do I book?
Call Richard on 01256 772898 to reserve your place now!
From the International Wine Challenge to Decanter, and from Guide Hatchette to Revue des Vins de France, each of the wines of DGM has been recognised in this year’s round of awards.
Here in the UK we’re delighted for Mathieu and the team at the vineyard.
Silver for 2015 Réserve Merlot Cabernet and 2012 Moelleux, and Bronze for Merlot Cabernet 2015 with a commendation for our 2016 Sauvignon.
special mention in the Guide Hachette des Rosés 2017/18 for our Rosé 2016.
There were worried faces across the vineyards of France as late frosts threatened to devastate this year’s crop following early budding.
Bordeaux certainly suffered significant losses, as did some of our neighbours in Duras and Bergerac. At Grand Mayne, the lower vineyards were affected and we may lose around 10% or so of this years potential crop as a result. So now we’re keeping fingers crossed for a bumper harvest of fabulous grapes in other parts of the vineyard to compensate!
So everyone seems to love Sauvignon. And the 2015 and 2016 vintages of the unoaked Sauvignon certainly seem to hit the spot for summer drinking with their vibrant fresh fruit aromas and flavours.
But every year we separate out the best grapes for an altogether different wine; an altogether more serious relative. Sometimes we add a little Sémillon to the mix, sometimes it’s just Sauvignon, and the low yielding grapes are carefully and lovingly fermented and aged for some months in the very best oak barrels we can find.
In the past we were perhaps guilty of a little too much oak, but since 2012 the emphasis has been on the lovely fruit we get from the grapes, which we want to use the oak to wrap in a creamy layer of soft texture.
Recent vintages are amongst our own favorites but despite that, this is the wine we sell the least of, so we have decided to give everyone the opportunity to try these wines at a great price for a few weeks only.
Grand Mayne Réserve Sauvignon/Sémillon 2012
Reminiscent of top white wines from Pessac, with floral aromas and vanilla notes. Flavours of white fruits like pear, and some subtle hints of citrus and honeysuckle. Fresh and well balanced. The perfect wine for those looking for Sauvignon freshness but more complexity. Now available with a 20% discount off your special prices until 31 May 2017. Click here to order.
2012 was a great vintage in the area for dry whites as all early ripening grapes were excellent, with only the Cabernet failing to reach full potential.
Making the wine
Each year we select one parcel of the top quality Sauvignon Blanc grapes to be vinified to make this cuvée of white wine. These grapes are left on the vine to ripen for a few more days after the normal white wine harvest. Then they are carefully picked by hand and go straight to the winery, where after several hours skin maturation, they are carefully pressed. The juice is left to settle and then run into new oak casks to ferment. After fermentation the wine is stirred from time to time over a period of several months to increase the complexity. It’s bottled in the March following the vintage.
This week it was replacing stakes, and mending the tractor that took up much of Fifi and Manu’s time, but we’ve all also had frost that has damaged our neighbour’s vines, but luckily only a small portion of ours at the bottom of the hill. We’ll have more news of this next week.
Others have not been so lucky with Chablis, the Loire and Champagne already feeling the full effect and a big loss of grapes because of late frosts for the second year running!
The one bedroom cottage at the entrance to Domaine du Grand Mayne is newly renovated and available for rent throughout the year, with a minimum stay of just one night. And it’s yours for free for the night if you fill your car boot with our lovely wine. Buy 120 bottles of any of our wines and your night in the little stone barn is on us.
As the Chancellor has seen fit to make drinking more expensive, we will have to increase our prices to you by the rise in duty in the latest budget, 10 pence per bottle including VAT. This makes Calais collections even more attractive as the Euro price has remained the same and you don’t pay any duty.
The 2015 reds will be amongst the best, if not the best that Grand Mayne has produced. The Merlot Cabernet 2015 is juicy and soft and perfect for summer drinking. The zingy 2016 Sauvignon and delicate pale Rosé are really fresh and will provide great pleasure throughout the year.
These wines are all now in bottle, and can be ordered for delivery to your door in the UK, or for collection from the vineyard or Calais. Click here to order and see Mathieu’s tasting notes (log in for your special prices).
An exclusive gathering of cigar afficianados enjoyed an extremely convivial evening at the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge on Tuesday evening, smoking classic hand-rolled Cuban Davidoff cigars accompanied by a delicious dinner with Grand Mayne wines. Starting with our delicious sparkling Rosé as an aperitif, we moved on to the Sauvignon 2015 with the starter, and the Réserve Merlot Cabernet 2012 and Réserve Sauvignon/Sémillon 2012 with the main courses. We finished with our new dessert Moelleux 2012 which was enjoyed by all.