2010 vintage now available

August 13th, 2011

Following the success of the 2009 vintage, the excellent 2010 is now available. It has recently been singled out by Jancis Robinson MW in the Financial Times as one of the best 2010 Beaujolais.

The 2010 vintage is now available. It has recently been singled out by Jancis Robinson in the Financial Times as one of the best 2010 Beaujolais. We are currently getting ready for the 2011 harvest which promises to be a great year after a very dry spring.

An agent for 007!

May 3rd, 2009

It is a long time since I updated our blog…. now called ‘News’ on our great new website.  After our fabulous 2007 Régnié Beaujolais was made in September of that year, we have been incredibly busy both in France and the UK continuing to find new markets, as well as making sure all our existing customers were supplied. 

Great efforts have been made to find agents to distribute for us and although we need more, as our business expands and our wine continues to be of a consistent fine quality, we are very happy to have been taken on by ‘Bacchus Wine International’ in London and by an agent in Brittany, France. This will hopefully leave us a little freer to manage the vineyard and even give me time to grow more vegetables here at Maison des Bulliats! {beans and beetroot went in the ground today and tomatoes ready for a spell of better weather.

Our latest efforts ourselves to distribute our 2007 wine have been concentrated on Food and Wine fairs in the UK.  The France Show in early January was a success that we shared with our French friends in nextdoor Morgon. It is Gerard Brisson, you remember who makes our wine now and went on to make an excellent 2008 vintage in spight of another fickle summer. Many vineyards suffered hail damage last year but again our grapes were of exceptional quality and those that we sold again to the Cooperative at Quincié received category one.

The BBC Food and Wine show in Birmingham is next, in June, and we hope to increase further our sales. Posters have been designed and printed and Fred has constructed a super bar for our stand which we can dismantle and take to future fairs.

Promotional events in France have included receiving a group of Compagnons du Beaujolais from Quebec. Germaine Brisson and our son who is living there at the moment, presented our wine at a fair in Quebec city in March. The Compagnons came to Maison des Bulliats for a further tasting and I prepared a lunch for them. It was a very enjoyable day. On the menu was a terrine de Campagne and an almond cake, both recipes will be posted in the coming weeks.

The highlight of early Spring was the news that we had received a Burgondia d’Or award, after entering a competition in early February. We are thrilled with this additional accolade and now have smart gold shield stickers that our bottles proudly sport!

So we have not been idle since I last wrote. The current financial crisis worldwide has affected everyone and we have to work hard to reach new markets.  We are lucky to continue to have the help and support of friends in Beaujolais and persevere together to ride these difficult times.  I will let you know in the next posts how we are getting on…. 

Hibernating this winter? Certainly not!

February 16th, 2008

In November the start of the pruning was finalised with the two Turkish gentlemen. They were extremely proud of the quality of their work last year, you remember we engaged several people last time, including the Monk and the Poles. This winter just the two Turks and some help from Fernand, the father of our old vigneron. Their price per vine agreed, a little high, but included cutting the ‘cornes,’ the old knobbly growth and burning the cuttings, trimming last years growth, selecting and leaving the choice new shoots and digging a shallow trench around each vine.

The work is nearly finished now, in February, and the vines look neat and tidy all ready to receive their new green shoots in a few weeks time. The skies are blue and the colours still muted but beautiful and the whole landscape is calm as if quietly gathering strength for the forthcoming efforts of the new growing season.

We put all our efforts into selling, going back and forth between London and Beaujolais. Making sure we have stocks of wine in London to supply our customers for the Christmas and New Year festivities. We presented our wine at a dinner, a finale to the Beaujolais Marathon, a regular feature in the Beaujolais calender. This year the Cru Beaujolais wines were featured at this event for fifteen hundred people. in the past it had only been a celebration of the Beaujolais Nouveau, a fashion that we think has had its day and on which subject I have spoken about with feeling in previous posts. So thank goodness for the opportunity to show off the superior Crus. We circulated among the guests offering our wine. There was some interest but the tasting started far too late and our marathon runners had already over indulged. We had to compete with the cacophony of the live cabaret…..we were exhausted! I have to mention though that one of the guests I met among the hundreds had been reading my Blog!!

In the next posts we go to Amsterdam and Paris. We discover new customers in London, take our wine to the Reform Cub, the starting point for Jules Verne’s 80 day adventure around the world, and dine at The Duke of Wellington ‘Gastro Pub’, recently receiving rave revues, and our Regnie on the wine list! We work with an artist to plan our bottle label for the 2007 vintage, and plan our website…….

Les vendanges Part 2: A top quality wine in the making.

November 19th, 2007

The quality grapes that had travelled up the tapis and tumbled effortlessly into the cuves began, if you remember, their fermentation process almost straight away, encouraged by the addition of yeasts and sugar. The deliciously developing juices had been tasted regularly, the first, an exciting moment as we had all felt so close to this year’s production.

Mr Dory continues to visit each day, rather like a doctor tending his patients, he tastes and makes notes.

The day before the pressing we were, amazingly, encouraged to tread the grapes!

This would help break down the sort of crust that forms of fermenting fruit and there is no better tool than clean bare feet! It was a strange experience of partial sinking and the feel of the grapes between our toes, legs and feet becoming quickly stained a wonderful vibrant purple. Apparently treatment for the skin better than any spa.

Now it was time for the pressing; exactly one week after each cuve had been filled with its bounty.

For five consecutive days the special vendange pump brought the contents of each cuve to the press while we helped spread by hand the heady mixture evenly into the bowels of the machine.

The alcoholic aromas were intense and overwhelming. The pressing for each cuve took about two and a half hours of carefully programmed turning and churning, the resulting juices returned to clean cuves.

The juice is now traditionally called le paradis and restaurants all over Beaujolais offer this fruity paradise to customers before their meal.

Each evening of the five days it took to press at Maison des Bulliats, the left over dried stems and exhausted fruit, like flattened raisins, called the genes was raked from the press into the trailor and taken to a designated dumping ground from where it would be collected and made into marc a sort of eau de vie that would not belong to us!

There will also be a sludgy substance at the bottom of each cuve called the lie which will too be taken away to make an even stronger brew!

There is a regional dish which is quite delicious, pork sausage cooked in wine on a bed of genes. I made this dish before and after the vendanges many times but using bunches of whole grapes instead of dried, adding a few bay leaves, served with wonderful Mona Lisa potatoes and green beans. The sauce that results is heavenly. Chris agrees.

The fermentation continued and M. Dory and our friend from Morgon are visiting regularly. The secondary fermentation known as malolactic is more subtle and this would take another week. This is the fermentation of the acids that can also be found in milk that are not so evident by taste. We were right to delay our vendange by a few days, to wait for more sun and north winds which developed and concentrated the natural sugars in the grapes and enabled this final fermentation to take place in good time.

Now, a few weeks later we tasted the young wine from each cuve. The cool of the cuvage made it difficult for us to be critical, we drew a bottle from each cuve and left it at room temperature in the kitchen, ready to taste with experts. What a difference this made, we could begin to appreciate its qualities and the exotic blend of fruits and minerals. It seeems we have the potential to win some medals. our protegy will certainly be entered for the forthcoming competitions at Macon and in Paris.

Celebration and one ‘grape’ year over!

November 10th, 2007

We had a fabulous party to celebrate the end of our vendange with family and friends. There were ten of us and ,of course we had the famous sausage cooked on a bed of grapes.

I stuffed fresh figs with goats cheese and ham for a starter and we finished with a selection of delicious tarts. Our 2006 Regnie was an excellent accompaniment to the rich sausage with its aromatic sauce. It was a splendid evening and all who were there were tired but happy with a very successful vendange!

The leaves on the vines started to change their colour early this year, from an October full of vibrant shades of burnt umber, ochre’s, gold, deep pinks and vivid reds, to now in November only a few left, a frail faded yellow awaiting the first strong winds which will expose the gnarled brown vines.

The willows lining many of the roads in Beaujolais, whose stems can form the most elegant of baskets and in the past were used to tie the vines, are turning a rusty red. I love the way they form majestic landmarks in the autumnal landscape here.

Our first grape year has come to an end. The vines must be pruned again as soon as the last leaf has fallen, around the middle of November. We have already engaged the two Turkish gentlemen who helped us at the beginning of 2007, they arrived a few days ago to discuss the trimming, bearing a plate of sugary Turkish sweetmeats and little pink jewels of Turkish delight!

We turn our thoughts to competitions and finding new markets for our wine, we have great hopes to expand in Canada where we managed to find a few days exploring and meeting new potential customers. We will enjoy following the progress of our 2007 Regnie. It has to pass its cru test soon but we do not have any worry there, and by March or April of next year it will be ready for bottling.

Some still in this region are selling the primeur the young wine that was for a time a big fad and fashion and is less so now. This will be on sale very soon to the worlds wine drinkers. We feel that this Beaujolais Nouveau has somewhat damaged the reputation of the cru wines. They deserve better press. These wines are so compatible with good food and have such character and complexity, and can be kept for several years. The world should rethink these jewels from southern Burgundy and re visit them, especially ours of course!, and also get to know the beauty of this region in all seasons.