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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wales - nothing to do with wine

Jelly beach art

For a change here are some pictures from our holiday in Pembrokeshire.  A week of wet pallid weather that did us the world of good and almost made us forget that there is a harvest that needs bringing in.

Sun Lover - welsh humour

Saundersfoot beach

Wiseman's Bridge

JM with his feet in the sea

Friday, August 11, 2017

Haute Sécurité

This year we have put up over 1 mile of fencing around our more sensitive vines to try and keep our old ‘friend’ the wild boar out of our precious vineyards.  It’s never quite as easy as saying ‘I’m just going to put up a fence’ as firstly we had to get the digger out to clear away the undergrowth and then 'we' knocked in over 400 metal posts in perhaps one of the stoniest soils in France. 
The priority was to protect the vineyards on the edge of the garrigue (prime wild boar territory) such as La Caune or Falandrin with its natural spring that becomes a regular watering hole in the summer.
All the vineyards we protected were either syrah which ripen early, or the deliciously aromatic muscat with the exception of St Roch which is planted with 100 year old carignan and grenache and normally of less interest to the greedy wild pigs.  But as it is one the last vineyards to be harvested in the village, when everything else has been picked our little vineyard at St Roch becomes surprisingly tasty.

This year the wild boar seem to be hungrier than ever and have already started nibbling at unripe grapes in our unprotected vineyards.  They were so desperate to get into the Falandrin vineyard that they ram raided the fence.