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Allô, allô, Bonjour!

The month of September swept over us like a flock of swallows over a lake. After completing the shooting for our new TV show Gort à la Carte Carte in sundrenched Provence, we then managed to take in all the Château La Tulipe-grapes on time (with might and main).
After the very last Cabernet grape softly splashed into the tank, we revved up the wineboer-mobile and headed northward back to the Pays-Bas to take on the promotion of our latest Slurp-book.

Allez, on y va!

In this Slurp!
Gort à la Carte: on set
A slimy swamp
Wine year 2014

filmpje and 1 harvestmovie!


Gort à la Carte: on set


Squeezed to the maximum by these recessionary times, the broadcaster houses us in accommodation of dubious quality. The trees reach only halfway up to heaven, and breakfast is insubstantial with both champagne and caviar lacking at the morning table.


But hey, a wineboer that is worth his salt is prepared to make sacrifices for his art and after a sparse meal of nuts and dry crackers, the anchorman and his crew set out for battle.


In order to avoid the hordes of frenzied groupies, they depart the hotel by way of the backdoor.
If you are a diehard hotel fan you might want the address: Une autre maison, 45 Avenue Henri Rochier, Nyons. www.uneautremaison.com


Uttering laboured groans the camera crew fights their way into the booth of the wineboer-mobile; the engine, curiously enough, catches right away and the vehicle chokes and rattles off, on its way to a so called 'Vinaigrerie'.

A slimy swamp with the colour of dried blood


'Hey, wine!', the wineboer exclaims happily and immediately pours himself a decent sized mug to help him wake up.



But his gluttony costs him dearly. As he cries out in pain, his hands clutching his belly, he staggers backwards.
Vinegar!!! Every winemaker's nightmare!
A single vinegar bacteria in the cellar can turn an entire barrel of wine to vinegar!


It is only then that his tearful gaze lands on the unusual names which mark the wine barrels: 'Lavender', 'Thyme' and, is that right? 'Echalotte'? Onion-wine?!


Upon closer inspection our discerning connoisseur establishes that the wine barrels have suffered some sort of injury and their wounds have been hastily bandaged with grimy gauze.


Carefully he peels back the bandage and, screwing up his face against the repugnant fumes, he leans forward.


He is greeted by a softly bubbling slimy swamp with the colour of dried blood.
'Isn't it beautiful?' vinegar farmer Raphaël whispers tenderly. 'Fresh vinegar, it's alive...'


Where our winegrower makes every effort to guard his wine against unwanted acidity by shielding it from any contact whatsoever with oxygen, Raphaël drills big holes in his barriques to make his wine as acidic as possible. In silent astonishment he observes his renegade confrere.


But the TV star has a generous heart and minutes later he is magnanimously assisting his colleague with the bottling of 2014's vinegar harvest. 'I have a feeling this will be a good vinegar vintage,' Raphaël chuckles.

Wine year 2014


Rarely were vineyards disposed of their grapes in a gentler way than this year. Every day opened with a cinematic mystical morning mist, slowly dissolving into the filtered sunlight of the gradually blue-ing sky.


This year we carry out the harvest with a machine harvester and our own equipe, and with the help of local friends from the village. The bunches are cut off and carefully reposed in the crates so that the grapes stay intact and not subject to any premature fermentation. The crates are then motored to the cellar.


The grapes are then checked for leaves, twigs and snipped off pickers' fingers.


Because the stems contain too many bitter tannins, they are not allowed in to the tanks. So the grape bunches are first put through the 'Egrappoir', the 'de-stalker'.


Liberated from their stalks, the unfettered grapes roll across the 'Table de Tri', the sorting table.


Because our grapes are grown organically, they are popular with all sorts of vineyard dwelling creatures.
In order to prevent soaring protein levels in our wine, these oenological asylum seekers are deported and put on the first wheelbarrow back to their home lands.


Only the most beautiful grapes are allowed into the barrels. But no oak yet, first the grape juice needs to ferment and become wine. This happens in 'cuves', huge stainless steel tanks. In these we can cool down or heat up the must.


Grape-angel Yvette is in charge of 'Remontage'. To learn what that means: cliquez ici and get to know all about how wine is made.

filmpje Cliquez ici to pick grapes on Château la Tulipe
(Cliquez on the image below)
  If the video stalls or is blurry, cliquez ici


Meanwhile temperatures have risen to about 30 °C, so the Table du midi is carefully positioned in a shady corner of the castle courtyard.


In spite of us reining in our lunchtime wine consumption, getting back to work is quite a challenge.
But the job has got to be done, the harvest has to be brought in; and we soldier on until the sun decides to cast her rays on the other side of the planet.

But Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Never did a Cassoulet au Confit de Canard with a bottle of Saint-Emilion taste better than that night!



Recipe for Cassoulet

Buy a tin of La Belle Chaurienne at Auchan, open it, chuck it in a pot, heat it up and don't waste time getting the cork out of that bottle. Bon ap!




You can find Château la Tulipe de la Garde Bordeaux Superieur exclusively at Sainsbury's supermarkets.
Cliquez ici for more information.

  Allez, wholeharted Sante!

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