At the planting party the weekend before Easter, David Withers, who is a wine buyer and a resident of Alfriston and far more knowledgeable about wines than me, stood at the site of our new Winery and said that the land at Rathfinny “reminds me of Corton-Charlemagne.”
Now I have to admit that I have never been to Corton-Charlemagne. I have been to Beaune, which I thought was a charming town. However, Corton is to the north-east of Beaune. So I had to check it out in my Hugh Johnson World Atlas of Wine when I got home, and I now see what he means.
The Bois de Corton (the hill), has a forest on the top but the slope which faces south and southwest is very similar to the slope at Rathfinny and it is even planted out in a similar way. The Grand Cru Chardonnays are planted at the top on the slope and the Pinot Noir further down.
Bois de Corton
The name Charlemagne (Charles le Magne or Charles the Great) comes from the French emperor Charlemagne and Chardonnay was supposedly planted because his wife preferred him to drink white wine because red wines stained his beard.
Our rain dance worked and we got the required 10mm of rain we needed to bed the new vines in. Cameron and David are now busy putting up the trellising. More on that soon…
Two days in and 24,000 vines have been planted.
We planted the Riesling in what we know is the warmest spot on the first field to be planted. We also planted the Pinot Meunier and we started planting some Pinot Noir today (Tuesday). We will be planting Pinot Noir all tomorrow and then move onto the Chardonnay on Thursday and Friday.
We have had some great media coverage of the whole event. I just hope we can get the message out that England is making world class sparkling wine and we should be demanding it in restaurants and bars around the world.
The BBC did a nice feature on us. This required a 5am start, that’s why I look so cold!!
My son Archie tried to convince the presenter Stephanie McGovern to create a viral hit and fall over whilst on live TV. She almost bought it, until he added ‘then you could get up speaking a different language’. No chance…
And Richard Hemming from JancisRobinson.com posted a great clip on YouTube.
Just one correction the row width is 2.2m and 1.1m between the vines.
Cameron has been working very hard as has Liz.
The vine planting machine in full flow.
All we need now is a little rain next week to bed them all in.