So what’s harvest time like for a winemaker in Bordeaux? Mark Hellyar, winemaker and Cornishman from Chateau Civrac tells us all…
Well the grapes have survived to this point. All that can go wrong now is me messing up in the winery: right?. I’m sorry, does that sound too negative? Sorry, but it’s about now that I pointlessly go over in my head all the things that I may have not done correctly this year, or at least all the things that I could have done better. You see they say that a good wine comes from good grapes: You can still make a bad wine from good grapes but you can’t make a good wine from bad grapes. So the pressure is now on.
The weather this year for harvest could not be better. 25 degrees and sunny by day 10 degrees and dry by night. So more important ripening sun and no dangerous night time humidity. We’ve waited a little longer than everyone else to take advantage of this ‘parent from the wine gods’. The Merlot and Malbec are looking great, the Cabernet Franc is looking good and the Cabernet Sauvignon is still a little behind. Hopefully these last warm days of 2015 will ripen them fully before the frost starts.
Everything you do in the vineyard all year long counts when it comes to the final stage of making the wine; so I’m driving down to Bordeaux now thinking of all the things that I might have got wrong. Nothing I can do about it now but it seems to be part of the winemakers psyche.
A big problem now is getting an enthusiastic and loyal workforce. It’s a problem every year and I was complaining about this the other day whilst in a fab Cornish bistro in st Agnes called No4, run by Nola. I was chatting with ‘Cosmic’, a festival organiser. As if obvious, he suggested that as it was at the end of the festival season then there would be many people on the festival circuit that would jump at the opportunity. Brilliant! The result is here , the response was immediate and the prospect of the Civrac vendage festival now lives for 2016. Well that’s 1 less worry then…
Five courses…six wines…£45…insanely good value frankly!
We’re spoiling you with another spectacular Wine Club Lunch starting at 12.30 for 1.00pm on Sunday 18th October courtesy of Padstow’s newest eatery – Prawn On The Lawn. We love the idea behind this restaurant – a fishmonger that doubles up as a restaurant… a natural partner for a wine merchant come wine bar!
The concept for the lunch is a five course taster menu comprising the freshest possible seafood – all sourced directly from local day boats by chef and owner Rick Toogood (great name I know) with his co-owner and brand new wife Katie heading up front of house.
We’ve be assumed our traditional role of sourcing some suitably lovely wines for a wine flight to do the food justice, and we’ll be on hand to tell you a wee bit about them (but not so much that you lynch us out of desperation to get stuck into your lovely grub!)
It’s not the regular lovely Prawn On The Lawn menu on show. Oh no…Rick and Katie have pulled out all the stops and have prepared some special dishes for our wine club lunch and we’ve designed the wine flight to match. Shall I spoil the surprise?
A cheeky glass of Extra Brut Sparkling Piquepoul, Ormarine, France.
Oysters done three ways
with a glass of Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Petit Chablis 2013, Burgundy, France.
Clams in lemon grass broth
with a glass of Chateau Civrac Wild White Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Bergerac, France.
Scallop ceviche with chilli and passion fruit
with a glass of The Crossings Pinot Gris 2014, Malborough, New Zealand.
Chinese style grey mullet, szechuan potatoes & bean sprout pak choi salad
with a glass of Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2014, Washington State, USA.
with a glass of Chateau de Cerons 2007, Cerons, France.
Sounds good huh?
Prawn On The Lawn is located in the old home of our favourite (and much loved) wine club lunch venue Margot’s Bistro. So the Prawnies have got some big boots to fill! In the interest of thorough research I’ve visited both their original restaurant in Islington and their new Padstow branch (so conscientious) and I’m confident that we’re in good hands!
We can only fit in 18 lucky people and half the tickets have been sold already so don’t delay…book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Bin Delivered Club Case Notes September 2015
White Wine (Bottle Shelf Price)
Pazo de Monterrey 2013, Monterrei, Spain 2 Bottles £11.00
Time to nip out for fish and chips, here’s a crisp, dry and beautifully aromatic white to compliment this indulgence, the fresh acidity and minerality balances the richness of the dish and the white fruit and citrus palate stands its ground and pairs nicely with the fish. Made from 100% Godello grapes, a Spanish varietal, grown in the Galician region of Monterrei, where unique microclimates benefit grape growing and ripening and where the 12th Century palace after which the wine is named dominates the panorama.
Price with club discount: £9.90
Wirra Wirra Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2014, Australia 2 Bottles £11.00
An impressive Chardonnay from the Wirra Wirra winery founded in the late 1800’s and revived in the 1960’s after a period of disrepair. A well-made burgundy-style white, the texture and palate are refined with yellow stone fruit and honey characters, the finish is clean and the oak influence is fine and skillfully intergrated. This is a fabulous value wine which could be rather nice with pan-seared scallops.
Price with club discount: £9.90
Gavi ‘La Battistina’ 2013, Piemonte, Italy 2 Bottles £9.50
When looking for a soft and easy-drinking white this is one of my favourites. Blossom, peach and citrus combine with a mellow nuttyness making for a moreish drop. This single estate Gavi made from 100% Cortese also delivers in weight and texture, the 3 months contact with the lees contributes to this. I would happily drink this as an aperitif or paired with a light fish dish.
Price with club discount: £8.55
Chateau L’Ermitage ‘Tradition’ 2013, Costières de Nîmes, France 2 Bottles £10.00
Introducing yet another lovely wine from Michel and Jérôme Castillon at Château L’Ermitage. A wine that certainly reflects its Southern origin with warm, ripe and spicy fruit. A tasty blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache grapes whose ripening have benefitted from the cooling Carmargue sea breeze and the famous ‘galets roulés’ soils, large rounded stones which absorb the heat and continue to warm the vineyard after sundown. This easy-going red has plenty of layers: dark fruit, savoury, sweet and refreshing.
Price with club discount: £9.00
Château Civrac 2008, Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux 2 Bottles £12.50
In contrast to the Civrac 2006 and 2009, 2008 is a slighlty lighter-style Bordeaux blend by Cornishman Mark Hellyar which has been a favourite on our terrace this summer and into autumn. The Malbec (35%) blended with usual suspects Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon imparts fruit, sweet vanilla and attractive softness. Aged in new oak, this ‘new Claret’ has fine-grained tannins and depth yet it has a pleasant green and herbaceous character.
Price with club discount: £11.25
Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2 Bottles £10.50
The Casablanca Valley being a cooler region of Chile has the perfect conditions for heat-sensitive varietals Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and of course Pinot Noir. Novas Pinot Noir has the characteristic bright cherry and raspberry flavours with savoury and herb notes. This Pinot is soft and smooth and fresh with a subtle grippyness. This calls for autumn bangers and mash!
Price with club discount: £9.45
Cost of wines before discount: £129
Bin Delivered price: £110 (£120 delivered nationally)