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Tagged articles : Rhône

First Harvest Experience Day at Domaine la Cabotte

Last Saturday was the first time that we ran a Harvest Experience Day at Domaine la Cabotte, and here is a small resum of how it went:

09:30 For this first Harvest Experience Day at Domaine la Cabotte, the day was forecast to be cloudy, but thankfully there shouldn't be any rain before tomorrow. Ideal conditions for harvesting without getting too hot. Everybody looked motivated, we'd find out once we're in the vineyard !

  Domaine La Cabotte

Marie-Pierre, the owner of the winery along with her husband Eric, introduced us to the region and the history of Domaine la Cabotte, and explained why the harvest this year is 2-3 weeks later than in a normal year.

10:00 We started the day in the plot where the adopted vines are located to see and take a few pictures of our vines. Eric explained that the grapes are not as abundant as usual, and that they are not quite mature enough to be picked, so we headed off to another plot of white Grenache grapes lower down in the vineyard.

2013 Harvest La Cabotte 

10:30 The buckets and secateurs were awaiting us, and after Eric explained how to harvest the bunches, we spread out amongst the rows in pairs to get down to work! In the middle of the first row, the sun came out and it started to heat up. Would we get to the end?! Marie-Pierre kept our spirits up by making us think of the wine tasting and meal to come! After the first row and a quick refreshment stop, we set off to harvest a second row each - uphill this time! We must have started to get the hang of it, because we were getting much quicker, or was it in anticipation of the wine tasting?!

2013 Harvest La Cabotte

13:00 Mission accomplished in filling the two trailers with grapes. We followed them back to the chai where we emptied our harvest into the press and set it going for 2 hours of pressing. Eric reckoned that it would give about 1000 litres of juice. Whilst waiting for the press to do its thing, we quenched our thirst by tasting some of the estate's wines. We started with the Colline Ctes du Rhne white wine, made from the same plot that we had just harvested, but last year in 2012. We then tasted the Colline red and the Gabriel 2011.

Wine Tasting La Cabotte 

13:30 Under the shade of the trees, we continued the tasting with the Garance 2011, accompanied by the delicious home-made meal prepared by Marie-Pierre. We ended the meal with cheese and desert accompanied by the Sauvageonne 2012 white wine.
15h00 After the coffee and the meal, it was difficult to get going again, but the hard work was now behind us. As the press finished the last part of its cycle, Eric explained the differences between working with the harvest for white and red wines, and talked us through the first stages of fermentation. We then finished the day by tasting the juice from the grapes that we had harvested and that from another lot which had been picked a few days earlier. Having finished being pressed, the juice from our harvest was then put into a refrigerated vat. The discarded stems, skin and pips will then be taken to the distillery. Finally we had harvested enough to produce some 1500 litres of juice! 

Juice Tasting La Cabotte
Many thanks to Eric and Marie-Pierre and to all of our guests for a thoroughly enjoyable day!


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Training the vines at Domaine la Cabotte

Last Saturday, we spent a very enjoyable and sunny day in the Rhone Valley with Marie-Pierre and Eric, the winemakers at Domaine la Cabotte.  We were there for a Discovery Experience Day to learn more about winemaking, notably the all important work in the vineyard.

Following the coffee and introductions, we headed to the area of the vineyard where the Gourmet Odyssey vines are located.  A small personalised blackboard identified the micro-plot of adopted vines for each client, and we took a few minutes to get to know them!

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The vineyard at Domaine la Cabotte is organically and biodynamically certified, which means paying special attention to the vines and their environment.  Eric explained the difference between the conventional, organic, and biodynamic approaches to tending to the vines.

Adopt your own vines

We then walked to the lower part of the vineyard where Eric and Marie-Pierre had set aside some work for us to do.  On the way, Eric showed us the different grape varietals planted in the vineyard and brought us up to date with the work that has been already done during the winter and spring.

Make your own wine with Gourmet Odyssey in France

Our task for the day was training the vines, which involves raising the training wires and ensuring that each of the branches grow inside the wires.  This helps the vines by supporting the weight of the foliage and future grapes, and also helps to keep a clear passage for the tractors.
Eric & Marie-Pierre showed us how to pull the wires apart, raise them and then attach them together using a small clip.  We then spread out in the vineyard to get stuck in!

Wine tasting in France

Working in the vineyard is good for opening up the taste buds!  Back at the winery, we started the tasting with a fresh white wine from the estate, which was most welcome after the heat in the vineyard.  We then tasted the Côtes du Rhône Massif d'Uchaux Garance, which is the red wine chosen for the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience, followed by the winery's Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Tasting Organic wines in France with Gourmet Odyssey

We continued the wine tasting in the chai over lunch.

Adopt your own vines and make your wine

In the afternoon, we went for a short walk, following the path through the wood and vines.  This enabled us to discover the different terroirs and Eric also showed us a plot that he had recently replanted.

Discovery winemakers and make your wine

The day finished back in the chai.  Here Eric introduced us to the vinification side of winemaking and talked more about biodynamic winemaking.

Rent vines in France with Gourmet Odyssey

Many thanks to Eric and Marie-Pierre, and to all those who came to share the day with us.  See you soon for the harvest!

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A day in the vineyard at Domaine la Cabotte

We spent last Saturday in the Rhône Valley with Marie-Pierre and Eric Plumet, the owners and winemakers at Domaine la Cabotte.  It was the very first Wine Experience Day at the winery, and this long awaited moment went very well.  But with such passionate winemakers in such a splendid setting, it would be difficult not to have a good time!

Wine experience gift. Adopt a vine in France and participate in the pruning with the winemaker

The aim of the Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience is to discover more, not only about wine, but also about the multi-faceted profession of being a winemaker.  During the Discovery Experience Day, we spend most of the time in the vineyard, learning about the work involved in nurturing the vines to produce the best grapes possible come harvest time.

Adopt-a-Vine gift in France. Follow the making of your own wine in the Cotes du Rhone.

So off we headed to the vineyard, to start the day in the plot where the adopted vines of our clients are located.  We took a few minutes to take some photos with the vines, and to whisper sweet nothings to them.  Some people even started naming them!

Original gift for wine lovers. Rent a vine and get involved in the pruning.

Eric spoke to us about the different grape varietals that are planted in the vineyard, and showed us the various pruning methods used.  We're approaching the end of the pruning period at the winery, but Eric and Marie-Pierre had set aside a few rows for us to prune.After a few demonstrations on how to prune, we spread out, a large pair of clippers in hand, to give it a go ourselves.  It's not easy at first, but once we each had a few vines under our belt, we gained in confidence.

Original wine experience gift in the vineyard. Pruning the vines.

We pruned two rows of vines.  We weren't necessarily as quick as the professionals, but it's nevertheless very satisfying.  We had well earned our wine tasting!

Wine tasting gift at the winery in France. Visit the vineyard and taste the wines in the Cotes du Rhone.

The wine tasting began with the two Côtes du Rhône white wines made at the winery, before tasting the red wines.  First up, the AOC Massif D'Uchaux Gabriel, followed by the Chateauneud-du-Pape.

Only local products were on the menu for lunch.  Marie-Pierre had prepared small pieces of toast with truffles found by her dog the day before and drizzled olive oil from the winery's olive trees!  We tasted the wine chosen for Gourmet Odyssey, the Massif d'Uchaux Garance 2011, with the main course, and after some local goat's cheese, we were treated to a lemon desert served with biscuits made using almonds gathered from the tree outside.  Some even left with the recipes!

Organic vineyard tour in France.

A digestive walk amongst the vines was most welcome afterwards.  Eric described the work throughout the different seasons, and showed us the difference in vines in the different plots.

Winery tour gift in the cotes du rhone, France. Visit the cellar.

Back at the winery, we finished the day in the cellar.  We saw the vats used to ferment and age the wines, something that will be covered in more detail during the Harvest and Vinification Experience Days..

Biodynamic wine gift. Discover how to make wine biodynamically.

The winery is biodynamically certified by Demeter, and so Eric explained the philosophy behind this environmentally friendly way of working.  We were even treated to smelling some of the fertilizer made using organic cow dung, which will help give more energy and strength to the vines!

Many thanks to our clients who participated in the day and to Marie-Pierre for sharing their passion for what they do with such authenticity and simplicity!

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