Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wild boar action!


The wild boar have already started to nibble at the fresh, juicy green leaves on some of the vines. The big fire last September destroyed much of their natural habitat on the Tauch mountain and so they are angry, wild and hungry.  Serious action is necessary so on the hottest day of the year so far Jean Marc has been up in the St Roch vineyard with his digger to prepare the way for the electric fence and a permanent fence.  Many of our little hillside plots not only have amazing views but border directly on to the garrigue countryside where the wild boar roam.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Frost bites

The small hillside vineyards of old vines at Domaine Jones have been untouched so far by the frosts we have had on 3 consecutive nights in Tuchan (19th - 21st April).

But Mother Nature can be rather challenging sometimes and a couple of Jean Marc's vineyards have not been so lucky.

The worst hit vineyard which was in the valley bottom will not recover for this vintage.

Leaves burnt by the frost

Rows of dark brown, frost damaged vines

The contrast with a couple of leaves that somehow didn't get damaged

Fingers crossed

This week we are pretty nervous as a cold spell has been forecast for the whole of France.  Even down in the depths of southern France, where we are, they have forecast a morning temperature of between 0 and 3°C. 

So not happy with just crossing my fingers I thought I would check out what we could do to prevent any frost damage in our vineyards.  There are two options – setting up lines of smudge pots between the rows of vines and keeping them alight all night to heat the air around the vines and prevent the cold air from settling.

Or sprinkling the vines with a fine mist of water as the temperatures drop to below zero.  This system is fascinating  - the water changes to ice on the surface of the buds and releases a small amount of heat (latent heat) that protects the vine from any damage.  The latent heat prevents the surface temperature of the vine tissue from falling below 0°C.

But I can see a couple of problems on the horizon.  Firstly our 28 vineyard plots of old vines are spread out over more than 20 miles and running between them to keep the smudge pots alight all night just doesn’t seem any more feasable than setting up a ginormous sprinkling system. 

But it does make you realise what length other growers in more northern parts of France go to to protect from frost and how lucky we are down here that frost is a relatively uncommon occurrence – fingers crossed.

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh

Spring is definitely in the air here at Domaine Jones in Tuchan.  With temperatures in the mid 20s for the past three weeks and decent rainfall at the beginning of the year the vines have sprung into life about 3 weeks early.
Bud burst’ marks the beginning of a new season and the start of the next vintage – to me it sounds like a great name for the next James Bond movie and I can guarantee it is just as exciting !

But this year we have been caught rather unawares and so whilst we still have a couple of projects to finish off in the winery we have had to divert our attention to the vineyards.  The grass has grown so quickly and is so high that we need to mow it before we can plough and we need to plough before we can start powdering the vines.

It’s early days but at this rate we could be harvesting in August ! As the sun heats our backs in the vineyards it seems impossible to think that a late frost is still a major risk – and that would be catastrophique.

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf

Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
and we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full-grown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Philip Larkin

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Katie's Christmas Wines

If you are thinking of opening a bottle of Jones this Christmas then here are some handy food pairing tips!

A sumptuous off dry white reminiscent of ripe pears and honeysuckle, which makes it the perfect partner to roast turkey with chestnut stuffing.  It will also pair well with sweet root vegetable such as carrots and parsnips.  

Les Perles de Jones Macabeu can be served as an aperitif with devils on horse back or with a starter of garlic sautéed prawns or a classic prawn cocktail.  It can also cope with slightly spicy food such as a turkey curry or a Thai green curry.

If you don’t finish off the bottle by the time you get to the end of the meal, then this wine also makes for a great alternative to a red with the cheese board.

Vintage 2013/2014

The fresh, crispness of the rare Carignan Gris grape makes it a very versatile wine on the Christmas table.  It will go with a wide range of dishes including Whitby oysters, wild mushroom paté, or fish dishes such as sole with a lemon butter sauce or pan-fried scallops with a squeeze of lime.  Les Perles de Jones Carignan Gris will also cut through heavier creamy dishes such as fisherman’s pie.

Vintage 2013/2014

This is a definite must with the traditional Christmas turkey.  The wine has a subtle herbal side to it, which will complement herb stuffing.  Domaine Jones Grenache Gris will also go extremely well with smoked salmon especially if there is a béarnaise sauce or a sprig of fresh dill.   The wine is made in an area of France called the Fennouilledes as wild fennel can be found in the hedgerows surrounding the vineyards.  There is a subtle hint of fennel in the wine, so if you have slow roasted fennel on your Christmas menu this is a must.

The bad boy grape of the Languedoc from our 100 year old vines makes a fantastic alternative to more traditional red wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape.  This wine with its fresh lively energy will be perfect with roast duck.  On Christmas Eve it will be perfect with a hearty beef stew, boeuf carottes or beef wellington.  This wine will also partner venison steaks and other powerful game dishes such a pigeon pie. 

Vintage – 2010 – 2014

The silky tannins and soft, spicy fruit in this wine will complement roast beef with parsnips and carrots, Yorkshire pudding and lashing of gravy.  It is the perfect wine for roast duck with redcurrant sauce or a more unusual cherry and red wine sauce.  Traditionally Fitou is drunk with wild boar so all game dishes such as game pie, venison and pigeon would go down a treat.

A glass of Domaine Jones Fitou will also go down extremely well with the cheese board and especially the more mature hard cheeses.

Vintage 2009 - 2014

This red wine comes into its own with lamb especially with a herb crust of rosemary and thyme.  Equally as good with a Boxing Day turkey curry or Christmas Eve pork pie and charcuterie. If you were having roast goose with spicy red cabbage this Christmas then this would definitely be the perfect wine.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Delicious magazine  - December issue

Susy Atkins' festive food and wine matching guide

To accompany the classic main: ‘Richer whites from hotter climates are best to tackle a rich roast turkey and all the trimmings – wimpish whites need not apply!'

‘Domaine Jones Blanc Grenache Gris 2014, Côtes Catalanes, France (£13.50, The Wine Society)

'Plump greengages, lime peel and a waft of herbs mark out this distinctive dry white. Its rounded, fuller finish works well with turkey.’

Click here to read the full article

Domaine Jones Muscat 2015


'Full of fragrant, honeysuckle sweetness' 

Sarah Kingsbury and Kate Hawkings, Christmas drinks guide in Olive magazine, Christmas issue