A scent of Liberty wine fills the air at La Barroche!
We wish you a Happy New Year.
Growing vines is a never-ending vocation, with cycles that are infinitely repeated in accordance with the seasons. Every year, the same basic operations are carried out in the vineyard, but vary constantly according to the weather, the soil, the presence of insects, and the phases of the moon. Viticulture involves the quest for balance more than anything else. We do our utmost to enable the vines to thrive in their natural environment.
Since 2015, a new cellar dug into the hillside transports the grapes serenely via gravity flow, which helps preserve the quality of the fruit, grape varieties, and terroir.
A technological gem in terms of fermentation and ageing, this new facility divided into several levels enables the Barrot family to work as naturally as possible while preserving the finesse and elegance of their old vines.
This is when the vines wake up after their long hibernation, and it is necessary to concentrate four months of work into a single one… Late March-early April is time to finish pruning, straighten up vines blown down by the Mistral, tie up the Syrah, look after the young vines, distribute pheromone capsules for mating disruption – not forgetting working the soil: hoeing, light ploughing and unearthing the trunk of the vines. And all that before budbreak!
Since we do not use chemical weed killers, we also need to remove the grass that overruns the vineyard with alarming regularity…
In late spring, we practise meticulous bud thinning, which helps to control yields and give precedence to fruit-bearing buds. This work, like winter pruning, is of vital importance, and is the vineyard operation that calls for the most reflection.
In summer, lazing about suits us winegrowers very well! Of course, we make sure that the vine trunks are in good condition, do a little bunch thinning to ensure good concentration in the wine, look after bunches and canes that have been harmed by the wind, and spray the vines when necessary… But, on the whole, this is a time of rest and simply letting the grapes ripen!
We begin keeping track of this on a regular basis as summer draws to a close. We do this in the time-honoured way, by close observation and tasting the berries. September is taken up with preparing for the harvest, tuning the tractors, making sure the baskets and secateurs are in good condition, and readying the hoppers to receive the grapes. Then it is only a question of waiting.
The harvest lasts for nearly a month, going from the earliest-ripening to the latest-ripening plots. However, it is impossible predict how picking will go. Each vintage is unique and has its share of surprises!
Our nerves are on edge as the harvest approaches… Autumn is a stressful time of year, and only calms down once the grapes have all been brought in. The electric atmosphere begins in the vineyard with the clipping of secateurs and the sound of grape bunches falling into baskets. The grapes are entirely hand-picked and rigorously sorted. We rely on a team of pickers that remains essentially unchanged from one year to the next, even if there are always some new faces. We are delighted to see old friends!
We are also on our toes in the cellar at this time, polishing the last vats and waiting for the grapes to arrive. Making wine is always a pleasure, even if it is never an entirely restful proposition. The wines undergo gentle pigeage (punching down the cap) every 12 hours for all the goodness to be extracted from the skins. The wine ferments slowly, like a stew gently bubbling on the back burner.
After several weeks of fermentation, in November, calm descends over the vineyard, the last leaves change colour and the cold weather returns.
Winter is a time of peace… The final fermentations come to an end and the vineyard is ploughed one last time to cover the base of the vines with earth to protect them from the cold. This is also the season to remove the vines that are no longer viable because they are too old or diseased.
And then, finally, it is time for the warriors to rest! We will wait a little longer to begin pruning. This takes place during the waxing moon and helps to define what the new vintage will be like…