Thursday, March 1, 2018

Moscow Paris

As I opened the shutters this morning there is no sign of the Beast from the East in the village of Tuchan.  Its 8° and damp, no snow, no frost, no ice - almost spring like.

In France the cold snap is called the Moscow Paris, not nearly as catchy as the Beast from the East, but even the Moscow Paris didn't go via Tuchan.

We did have a flurry of snow yesterday and had it continued for more than 2 minutes we may have been snowed in but by 10 am it had all melted.

I am not complaining at all even if I feel we are missing out on all the action.  But for the vines a little bit of snow is not a bad thing at this time of year and at least it stops them from springing into action too early and then being damaged by a late frost like last year.

A sleeping vine not quite ready to spring into action
The almond blossom is out here and it is so beautiful so I am sending a little bit of southern warmth with the thoughts of warmer days that are just around the corner.  I am sorry for the blue skies but the blossom does look a bit like snow flakes.

My definite wine recommendation to beat the Beast would be a delicious bottle of Domaine Jones Fitou (any vintage from 2010 onwards)  if possible drunk in front of an open fire with a wholesome stew.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Stuffed Courgettes

This is such a simple recipe but so full of flavour it makes a meal in itself.

2 courgettes - cut in half length wise and the seeds scooped out

4 sun dried tomatoes

12 pitted black olives

1/4 red onion

Feta (about 50 g or more if you like it)

Chop everything except the courgettes into small pieces and mix together in a bowl with one tiny bulb of crushed garlic.

Put the courgettes in a baking dish and drizzle with a small amount of virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt (fleur de sel is best)

Fill each courgette half with as much of the chopped mixture as you can and top with parmesan cheese.

Put in the preheated oven at 180° for about 20 minutes or until the courgettes are soft.

I added small cherry tomatoes in the baking dish and some fennel.

This went extremely well with Les Perles de Jones Carignan Gris 2016.

Bon appétit!!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Oven baked Pork with vineyard herbs

I am absolutely loving the Mediterranean diet - it's not really a diet but a new way of eating and the recipes are really easy and quick. My favourite meal this week was oven baked pork with herbs that I could just go and pick from my vineyard.

Wild rosemary at Falandrin vineyard

My recipes will give you the general idea of what I did.  This was enough for 2

Handful of fresh rosemary

Handful of fresh thyme

Handful of fresh parsley

1/2 garlic bulb

Tablespoon of dijon mustard

Dash of olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 pork chops

Whizz it all round in the blender (except the meat) to try and get a smooth paste - mine wasn't very smooth and it doesn't' really matter.

Spread it on the pork chop and bake in the oven at 180° until the pork is cooked through (about 25 minutes depending on the thickness of the pork).

At the same time I added some halved cherry tomatoes to the baking tray sprinkled with salt and crushed garlic .

Bon appétit!

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Year Resolutions 2018

This is the week that most people give up their New Year Resolutions so I thought it would be a good time to actually make mine.

I only have one.

I have been in a complete quandary for the last couple of months trying to decide which diet to follow to feel healthier and to shed a few kilos.  All this time it has been staring me in the face - the Mediterranean diet.  As I live more or less on the Mediterranean I don't know why I haven't thought about this before.  I have tried other styles of cooking where it has been almost impossible to source the ingredients but surely I have everything I need for the Mediterranean diet on my doorstep?  I only need to step out of my front door to find wild rosemary and thyme growing in profusion.

And you can drink wine (in moderation).  As my wines are definitely from traditional grape varieties of the Mediterranean they will fit in perfectly with my good intention.

So far we have had fresh mackerel off the bbq with Les Perles de Jones Carignan Gris 2016 and Domaine Jones Grenache 2014 with stuffed peppers.  Both pretty delicious combinations.  I did try to capture the moment on photo but food photography is definitely not my forté.

So in 2018 I will be waving au revoir to desserts, butter and red meats and saying bonjour to fruit, olive oil and fish.  Doesn't sound too bad to me!

Bon appétit !!!

Friday, December 8, 2017

'Outstandingly Delicious' Jancis Robinson MW

I knew it was going to be a great day when I woke up and it was raining😀 but little did I know how great my day was going to get!

Now like the rain in the south of France this definitely doesn't happen every day - Jancis Robinson MW selected my Domaine Jones Grenache 2015 as her wine of the week!!

Wine of the Week, Jancis Robinson MW  can you believe it - I can't!!!!

The article starts and I quote Jancis

"Here we have proof that a woman from Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Middle England can make outstandingly delicious wine in Roussillon"

It's a lovely article and confirmation of what we set out to prove at Domaine Jones - this area can make fantastic wine.

To read the full article please click here

And if you fancy trying some of the 'outstandingly delicious' wine click here or why not join my very small exclusive Domaine Jones Wine Club

Friday, October 13, 2017

Harvest 2017 in the vat

As we put the lid on the vat of the ninth Jones harvest I am happy to say that is has probably been one of the finest quality, one of the earliest and definitely one of the hairiest harvests since we started in 2009.
You may remember my small plot of hairy grenache (Lledoner Pelut) which I am rather fond of – not just because of the name which sounds vaguely welsh but because I have always thought that this vineyard has great potential to make a fine wine.  And great potential to use a couple of wigs!

There isn’t much going for the hairy grenache (so called because it has fine hairs on the back of the leaves).  It is despised locally for the inferior quality of the wine, its lower alcohol and has even been downgraded to ‘generic’ status at the local cooperative.  I’m always up for a challenge  and in the 2017 vintage I set out to show that Lledoner Pelut  can make a seriously fine wine.

I only have a small vineyard of 60 year old Lledoner with about 2000 vines.  My first attempt back in the 2015 harvest went a bit bottoms up and I ended up blending it back in to my Fitou.  It was a lovely, perfumed wine but with a lighter aromatic body which made the tannins unbalanced.  So this year I decided to do things differently.  Instead of treating it like the other Mediterranean varieties we decided to treat it like a lighter variety the pinot noir.  Instead of trying to get maximum extract out of the skins we pressed after only 4 days to prioritise the fresh fruit flavours and subtle tannins.  It’s looking very good so far. So much so that I’m even a little upset that I only have the potential to make 900 bottles.
On the subject of small volumes I’m rather disappointed by the meagre harvest of my Carignan Gris.  It’s never been one of my biggest producers - in 2016 I managed to squeeze 600 bottles from my  60 year old vines but unfortunately no matter how much I pressed this year it is going to be a very very small production.  I thought all of my vines had escaped the late April frosts we had this year but this low lying vineyard must have had just a touch of frost - enough to prevent all the grapes developing properly. 

But I’m really pleased to say that  all the other grape varieties Carignan, Grenache and Syrah on the red side and Grenache Gris, Grenache blanc, Macabeu and Muscat on the white side performed well this year and my old vines have done my proud once again.  The 2017 will be one to look out for.

Highlights of the harvest included a cassoulet made by a Dutch chef and served in our vineyard , trips in my old faithful Dyane who was driven in to a ditch by a German, washing 100 picking baskets in the sunshine and watching others wash over 1000,  discovering that gin and fermenting grape juice is a great drink and having an amazing team once again to safely ensure the grapes are picked, put into vat  and looked after with the total and utmost respect they deserve.

Thanks very much Steve and Pauline, Cara and the pickers, all of you who made it to Tuchan to see us and of course Monsieur Jones for making this one of the most enjoyable harvests yet.

 A très bientôt


Friday, August 25, 2017

Harvest 2017

We started the 2017 harvest on the 22nd August which is the earliest we have ever picked a bunch of grapes here at Domaine Jones!  We began with the grenache gris and grenache blanc from our old vines in Tuchan before moving on to the macabeu in Paziols.  

After spending a night chilling in the big fridge the grapes bounce along the sorting table and into the press.  After a good squeeze the juice is pumped into the vat and we all wait nervously to see if the magic of fermentation is going to start.  It always does but it always feels like it never will.

Everything has gone amazingly well so far - but it's only day 4!

Grenache being sorted by a lady in a nice t shirt