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Bringing in Some Châteauneuf-du-Pape Syrah

Julien Barrot is happy with the quality of his Syrah, but the yields are half of last year's.

Posted: Sep 19, 2008 1:14pm ET

By Julien Barrot

Posted by Julien Barrot

Tuesday we started harvesting for Domaine la Barroche after five days of a strong mistral wind, which is once again this year our strongest ally.

We have picked the Syrah from Cabrières, a mostly limestone parcel in the northwest corner of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. That plot represents 50 percent of the blend of our Fiancée cuvée. The sanitary state of the crop is very good, and we are seeing a level of maturation that would lead us to expect about 14.2 percent potential alcohol.

The yields are 50 percent lower than last year. We have sorted out a lot of grapes that were millerandés (grape clusters that include a mix of small and large berries, which usually indicates uneven ripening).

Unlike the previous vintage, we are doing the vinification of this Syrah in an isolated steel tank instead of blending it directly with the old Grenache from Terres Blanches.

Yesterday afternoon, we picked the Cinsault at the south of the village. No surprises concerning the yields, which are about 1.5 tons per acre, which is what we always expect to get. Here again, the grapes are in a good sanitary state, with a potential of 13.6 percent alcohol.

Harvest is starting in a good way for us, which was not a certainty last Thursday, when a thunderstorm hit us at 1 a.m.!

We will continue this week to pick Syrah from the Parc (which goes into our cuvée Signature) and the 10-year-old Grenache vines from the Terres Blanches parcel, which are now reaching ideal maturation.

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