The main reason we are in the south of France...in the beautiful Languedoc region is because the harvest of the Domaine Alain Chabanon vineyyard. The domain is in the small town of Montpeyroux.
Today; early in the morning, we visited the Merlot grape plot. It was a beautiful, sunny, clear sky with a light breeze day. It is so wonderful to be in the south of France.
Alain prunes his vineyards very hard and use no fertilizer which means not only that the goodness is well concentrated in top quality grapes, but also that his yields are very low, varying between 23 and 30 hectolitres per hectare.
The hand-picked Merlot grapes in buckets ready to be taken to the cave for hand sorting.
I could not resist eating the Merlot grapes...they were so sweet and juicy.
Alain grows five grape varieties for red wines : Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Merlot and Carignan. The vines vary from 6 – 30 years old, and he selects the grapes very carefully depending on the character of each wine : their age and exactly where they grow really does make a difference!
This is what the wine maker Alain believes in: we pick all our grapes by hand – and we pick in the morning (even the reds) from 7am until midday to be sure they stay fresh. Then they are taken to the winery in small open weave baskets, where we hand sort them meticulously on sorting tables to be quite certain that no bad grapes or foreign bodies enter the vats.
Because of Alain's philosophy in wine making; I personally think Alain makes some of the best wines in the Languedoc.