Lots of wine textbooks are full of the detailed weather conditions years ago, and are consequently rather dull reading. But just as the wrong weather can ruin your rather optimistic spring bank holiday week in Cornwall, the tender grapevine is hugely affected by each year’s weather conditions, especially – whether there is enough (or too much) rain, whether there is enough (or too much) sun, and whether there were any special factors (like hail, wild boar attack, or insects and diseases etc) that made a difference to the way the wine tastes.
Domaine of the Bee 2010
This is a turbo-charged, super-ripe, smooth, rich and complex wine. Layers of powerful dark plum and damson fruit and spicebox aromas of vanilla and cinnamon. The level of new oak is less than in previous years, as our barrels get older. We bottled this on the 10th July 2012, and will be releasing it in September 2012.
Les Genoux 2010
We had such success with our single vineyard cuvee 'Les Genoux' last year that we have bottled a barrel of the 2010 too. The age of the vines, and the 'field blend' of ancient Grenache Noir, Carignan, and Grenache Gris grapes lend a wonderfully evocative perfume to Les Genoux - very similar to the 2009 - and in a softer and more delicate and complex style. We bottled this wine unfiltered, so there is a fine sediment which means that the wine will benefit from being decanted, or at least poured carefully!
Domaine of the Bee 2009
This has been a huge hit since we released it in September 2011 - an impressive red with extremely concentrated and deliciously lush fruit, and very smooth, soft tannins. The grape-sorting equipment at the new winery ensured that only the perfectly ripe grapes made it into the fermentation vat, resulting in a really bright fruit expression. This vintage won a Silver medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2012
Les Genoux 2009
In 2009, we have identifed a single barrel from the Coume de Roy vineyard which we have bottled separately, and released in September 2011 as 'Les Genoux'. The style is softer and more elegant than the main Domaine of the Bee cuvee, with incredibly intense wild strawberry fruit, and hints of aniseed and fennel. Amanda and I can't get enough of this wine, and wish we had kept more for ourselves! Now, sadly SOLD OUT
Domaine of the Bee 2008
A more difficult year than 2007, with a damp and sporadic summer giving rise to some challenges from mildew, and other such delights that plague the life of the vigneron. A wonderfully sunny September really helped to finish the ripening of the grapes in healthy conditions, and at harvest the grapes tasted fantastic, giving rise to hopes of a good quality vintage
2008 is a much more 'serious' wine than 2007, with a longer potential for ageing. It is less immediately fruity, but with a great deal of spice and complexity on the nose, and a huge concentration and length. This is more akin to Chateauneuf-du-Pape then ever, and will appeal to lovers of BIG REDS.
Domaine of the Bee 2007
In 2007, we hadn’t had much rain all winter, and the yield was almost the lowest ever known in the South of France. Great for quality, but not so good for the bank manager. This is undoubtedly one of the best years from the Roussillon this decade.
The 2007 vintage is immediately fruity, with a bright, even explosive nose of summer fruits, wild strawberry a hint of blackberry, with notes of wild herbs and rosemary. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, and the sweetness of oak and a trace of vanilla support a compote of summer fruit flavours. The wine has considerable length and power, and there are notes of mineral and chocolate, and even tar on the finish. A couple of years in bottle has softened and rounded this very nicely.
Domaine of the Bee 2004
All the grapes from our vineyard blocks grown in 2004, 2005 and 2006 were given to Richard to put in with his own grapes to make the Domaine de la Pertuisane wines. After the 2004 wines were bottled, we bought a few hundred unlabelled bottles from Richard that contained a high proportion of our grapes so that we could show people what our wine might taste like.
We still have some bottles left of the 2004, which we have now dressed in Domaine of the Bee livery.
2004 was a concentrated and powerful vintage, and the wine in this cuvee was aged principally in new oak barriques, which accounts for the strongly oaky aroma, and the full-throttle chocolate and damson richness of the Maury fruit. This is a big wine that opens out in the carafe and in the glass, and that repays decanting some hours before consuming. There is also a fine sediment that is best left to settle for 12-24 hours with the bottle upright, before opening.