Grape source: Oatley Vineyard, Cannington, Somerset. Vineyard parcels: Madeleine upper block, Madeleine lower block. Planted by hand 1987 by the Awty family and tended by them ever since. Trained on 90 cm-high part spur-pruned cordons (in the frost-prone corner), part double guyot.
Grown on sustainable principles, no herbicides or insecticides. Some fungicides, well below permitted levels, applied as preventives early in the year, using integrated pest management to keep them to the minimum. Only our own farmyard manure, hay mulch and chipped hedge-trimmings as fertiliser, highly biodiverse environment, hand tended and picked, with minimal soil compaction.
Growing Season 2022
After a mild, dry winter we had a run of cold nights at the end of April with -2C on 30th causing some bud losses in the frost-prone bottom corner of the Madeleine Angevine. The summer was unusually dry and hot, with record heatwaves in mid July and again in the second week of Augustbrowning the sward and restricting the vines' shoot length. Temperatures of 36C+ here caused some sunscorch on the thin-skinned Madeleine grapes. A little rain in August turned the grass green again, but there was little disease pressure, need for weed control or canopy trimming, and no need for fungicides after the usual early-season preventatives. The grapes were harvested at the normal time, 25 September, despite the summer heat, which had little effect on ripening speed for this early-ripening variety.
25th September 2022, in good, sunny weather. 18 volunteers picked and loaded the 3 tonnes of grapes and then sat down to a well-deserved convivial meal.
Grapes were largely clean, but with some brown, botrytised berries where sun scorch had done slight damage but not enough to kill the berry. But no grey mould. Little wasp damage, insignificant bird losses.
Winemaker: Steve Brooksbank, Bagborough Lane, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6SX.
Crushing/pressing: 26 Sep 2023.
Wine chaptalised to raise alcohol to 12%, vinified in stainless steel tanks. Minimum intervention winemaking. Fermented out to full dryness. Filtered before bottling using mineral filter.