Âllo, âllo, Bonjour!

Ici fresh Slurpnews form the southwest of La Douce France.
‘Quoi de neuf?’ Well, a lot. A new wine, old vines, but mot of all new insights!
Allez on y va!

Breakfast in bed


All the vines have been trimmed and the twigs lay ready to be cleared out; for all those tasty grillades that we’ve got planned for this year.

The Vielles Vignes are tied to the metal wire with their two remaining arms and they’re wondering what sort of wineyear 2011 will be.

The weather is good, but the nights can still be a bit nippy so we made some pyjamas for the baby merlots.

Every morning Mother Nature brings our old blokes breakfast in bed in the shape of a delicious portion of fresh dewdrops. But its not only water that is provided for our cherished vines.   We put our mobile office in the sun to type out exactly what our grapes get to endure over the year.

We make biological wine

These days many blow their own trumpet about biological wine. But few realize the horrors that it brings with it. And that is probably for the best, because the wildlife that strolls around the vineyards eventually ends up in your mouth. Therefore we recommend winelovers with a weak stomach to stop at this point and skip to the next part of the Slurp. Below follows a summing up of what goes on in our vineyard for the core of our heavy-duty wine tigers. Nightmare on Elmstreet.


The terroir. Millions of years ago there was water here, the Atlantic Ocean. So our vines are standing with their feet in the bottom of the sea covered with fossils and feed themselves on fossilized remains of dead fish, ammonoids and other shellfish that have gone extinct long ago.


Children that eat chips and sit on the couch all day, become fat and lazy. Same thing for grapes. That is why we planted grass in between the vines. That way the roots of the vines get competition from the grass. Because of that the vines become stronger and more resistant to decease. And that is really necessary because there’s not much going on around them!


In the beginning of spring that vineyard grass turns in to a river of daisies,

... plus a load of other flowers of which we have no idea what there are all called.

It’s not only flowers at make up our terroir, also herbs like a lemon plant, wild garlic and mint, grow in large clusters between the vines and give their taste to the grapes.   Wijngaardslakken doen niets liever dan 's nachts een beetje groepsseksen en overdags lekker uitpuffen in de schaduw van een ouwe wijnstok. Na hun dood worden hun huisjes opgenomen in de grond en komen terug in het karakter van onze wijn.

Other vineyard inhabitants, like foxes, deer, roe deer or this lézard, every once in a while have a wizz on the vines.   Then there is still the refined taste of babysparrow diapers emptied over the edge of the nest.

Luckily the owl appears periodically to eat the mice and sparrows and then he spreads their skeletons out between the vines.   But the grapes aren’t just fertilized by living and dead animals, it also fertilizes itself. When we cut off the surplus of grapes in the summer we leave the bunches of grapes we cut off on the ground as natural nutrition for the vine. Along with oyster shells by the way, which we scatter throughout the vineyard (not the sneakers, those belong to the wineboer).

The rabbits also contribute their droppings as natural fertilizer; not only along the edge of the vineyard, but also neatly around the stem of the vine.   To complete the taste of our wine, the badger appears at night, who poops out the pits of prunes which he nicked from our orchard, in between the vines.


Everything is sucked out of the ground by the vine and pumped through its old and crooked stem to the top. And all those fossil minerals, flowers, herbs, snail houses, dead mice, newly born sparrows, lizard sweat, rabbit droppings and badger poo, span together in thick, purple bunches of grapes.

And from those we make wine,
Heartily santé.

A fleshy character

Luckily we aren’t the only ones who taste all these delicious things in our wine. Below you’ll find the tasting notes of a British wine journalist which he recently published about our wine.


How do I become happy?


Is slurping a way of life?

Yes. Slurping is more than just the right way to taste a wine: it is also a way of looking and a way of living. Mentally, slurping is a state of heightened awareness, of optimally enjoying things. By not just chugging life without a thought, but enjoying and slurping it, you can start to recognize the extraordinary in the ordinary. And once you succeed in doing that, you can slurp much more than just wine. Then you can slurp colours and light. You can slurp people and cities and landscapes. Yes, you can slowly slurp up whole mountain ranges and oceans.


Slurping? Fine. But do it right!

help   No, don’t click on it!

(Under it you’ll find a load of technical info about slurping which you really should care less about)

Slurpen underground

We really don’t have a wine cellar. Once upon a time they did carve out a cellar in the rocks under our chateau but that one was for the private wine stock of the lord. The vinification and storage of our chateau wine has been taking place in our ‘Chai’, which in the wine dictionary is an above ground cellar, for ages. Understandable, because from a hygienic, transport or bottling point of view a cellar is quite inconvenient. That is why most chateaus do their vinification in a Chai. Nevertheless, stepping into a real wine cellar does fill me with excitement, the level of which can be compared to a birdwatcher laying eyes on a giant condor. Luckily I have been blessed with a friend who owns a wine cellar, so stunning that you never want to leave. So when he asked if I wanted to have a look at his newest purchase I had already said ‘Oui’ before he finished his sentence.

My friend Alain’s château is hidden away in the hills surrounding the medieval wine village of Saint-Émilion


Because one can hardly show up on a wineboers doorspet with a 6 pack in a festive wrapping, I wanted to get a bottle of wine from the local store. To my almost fatal surprise I suddenly see Alain’s wine in the shelf, for 1500 euros a bottle!


Still recovering from the shock i pulled into Alain's driveway a moment later. He is sitting behind his desk making a phone call. As greeting he hands me a key, which looks like it was used to lock up Judas Iscariot, and whispers: 'Go on ahead to the cellar, I'll catch up in a minute!'



Alain’s cellar was carved out in the rocks a few centuries AD by the Romans. Excitedly I wander around the mysterious tunnels. Totally alone in a cellar full of Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé 'A'. It's simply mouthwatering. Suddenly I see, in the glimmer of the flickering lights hanging from copper wires which as almost rusted through, that one of the barrels is slightly leaking.


A glas! A glas! My kingdom for a glas!’
This is a unique opportunity, because asking Alain if I can have a taste should be, put lightly, ‘pas polis’. You can’t ask that for a wine the price of which out paces the selling price of gold.


Then Alain appears. Kindly he suggests that, while we wait for the cellar master to seal the leak in the barrel, we taste a glass of Ausone 2009. I only just manage to suppress the urge to jump for joy.

He takes two shiningly polished glasses from an already prepared case, pulls the stopper out of a wine barrel and sticks a pipette into the rabbet.


Under the weak shimmering light the crimson stream of Ausone 2009 flows into the goblets. After a moment of polite sniffing and slurping Alain concludes with a mild smile: 'Excellent drink.' Overcome by the explosion of fruit concentration and elegance I can do little else besides make guttural noises. Because spitting is something you don’t do with such ambrosia. That would be blasphemy.


Slurp moderately, but slurp well

We slurp several lives at once. We can keep this up because we throw all the things we don’t understand or about which we’re not sure what to do with in the lumber room. But this month we’ll have some construction going on. And inevitably we’ll have to separate the junk from the rubbish.

Abashed like a pale ghost the wineboer sifts though the mountain of memories of all his double lives.
Here lays enough for about 10 Queen’s days!


Then suddenly his slurping eye falls on a 'Disque de Contrôle'. Wonderful piece of bureaucracy which the French just love: lots of seals, lots of lions and everything is 'réglementé'.
The point is that the one parking his car turns the wheel so that his 'heure d'arrivée' is shown after which the adjacent square automatically shows in big red letters when you piss off.
The publisher of this parking meter 'avant la lettere' is 'the syndicate of initiative' also known as the Tourist Office of Bordeaux.
But what do we see when we turn the disque over form the afternoon side to the morning side? How do they expect the motorist in Bordeaux to fill their morning?

"Drink modestly, drink well, drink Bordeaux".

Colour your own rosé
kleur   Thanks for your inspiring contributions to the formation of the colour of the Tulipe rosé 2010. Even after all the expert aid we still couldn’t decide which one to make.
So we decided that this year we’re not going to make 1 but 2 rosés A nice, full, pink one (nr. 2) for Albert Heijn and a ‘rosé de Provence’ (nr. 4) for restaurants.
To be continued.

Allez, Heartily Santé et à la prochaine!


Slurp! 2

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