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Olding Manor – wine grown on the South Circular in London!

Paul Olding has a vineyard in an allotment on the busy S Circular Road in Lewisham, London. He makes his wine under the label “Olding Manor”, and he recently sent me a bottle. He makes a dry white wine from German “Phoenix” grapes, and so I arranged for some friends to join me at a local restaurant for an Asian/Seafood meal and to try it. It is delicious. It has herbaceous tasts and a slight fruitiness. Very clean on the palate and ideal with crab tempura and prawn dim sums. Being 6, we had to bring other bottles as well, but we raised our glasses to Paul for a job well done!

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Vin Jaune from the Jura

In 2013 I visited the vineyard of Francois Mossu, the prize winning winemaker of Vin Jaune in the Jura, France.

Jura gold: this is the nickname for vin jaune. A product of the royal grape of the region: savagnin. The vineyards of Jura give birth to one of the greatest dry white wines in the world, infinitely complex in its aromas, power and incomparable length and an almost endless after taste

The Savagnin grape used for the production of yellow wine is a typical Jura grape variety: 95% of the world’s savagnin vineyards are located in the Jura. The local base soil, composed of Lias marl, is particularly favourable. But also the weather, because the savagnin is a rather late variety and well suited to a cool spring. The other particularity of savagnin is to be the only variety that can withstand the extreme conditions incurred in making the yellow wine or Château-Chalon …

The mystery of the “yellow” is that it is a product which, once bottled, defies all conventional winemaking rules. During its preparation, the wine is fermented twice before entering a period of aging in barrels for more than six years, under conditions where the temperature drops very low in winter and rises very high in summer (the cellars are open and not temperature controlled).

It is also the maturing of this wine is under a veil. The veil, which are yeasts that grow on the surface of the wine, and when it starts to evaporate allows an air pocket to develop in the barrel. Typically, growers carry out topping up regularly filling the void left by evaporation so that the wine does not come into contact with air. To make yellow wine, it takes time. Yeasts control the oxidation of the wine, protect it, and contribute its fabulous aromas which last for years, its characteristic “yellow” taste.

The ‘clavelin’ ‘is the name of the bottle used for Vin Jaune. The word comes from the name of a family of winemakers in the region. The volume of this bottle is 62 cl and corresponds to what remains of a litre of wine when “the angels’ share” has evaporated, after 6 or 7 years.

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