After the madness of the 2015 harvest the month of December in the winery is relatively relaxed. All the wines (except Albariño) are in barrel, and for the most part they'll happily stay there until the new year. This month I'll spend a lot of time in our onsite laboratory, analysing the wines regularly to make sure they're on track.
All our red wines, as well as our Chardonnay are going through malolactic fermentation, when specific bacteria convert the tart malic acid to softer tasting Lactic acid. The vast majority of red wines around the world will undergo this process, as well as a good proportion of full bodied whites. The bacteria that make this conversion are happiest at 20˚C, however so are the bacteria that turn wine into vinegar, so it's a risky few months.
Of course the lab analyses can give us numbers and tell us what's going on inside the wine, but it can't tell us the most important thing - how does it taste..? For that we have to get stuck in ourselves and have a glass. Or two..
Another big part of the holiday season for us is showing off the winery through our tours, tastings and events. We try and do things differently at London Cru, so visitors are taken directly into the production area of the winery, rather than being received in a typical cellar door.
We’re a small, boutique, but very much working winery and we like to show people the equipment and explain the processes while they taste. Our equipment is simple, low tech and labour intensive, however we feel it’s the best available to bring out the true characters of each wine. During tours we can teach as much or as little as you might want to know about wine, but we steer clear of wine snobbery; our philosophy is if a glass is half full then there’s room for more..