Fishing the Guadiaro River

The River Guadiaro rolls its way through the valley passing open pastures, white villages, olive groves and finally exits the valley through the gorge at the Cañón de las Buitreras.

Along the way are pebbly beaches and banks where it is possible to fish.

The water is clean and moves through at a fair pace.

fishing

Barbel are the main fish in the river, some of which are a good size.

fishing 2

 

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Our lastest visitor

Just as the day was cooling down we noticed this little visitor perched on a chair arm. Quite why this small frog should be attacted to our terrace was a puzzle until we spotted the obvious.

rana_frog_1

The frog was blending with the colour or our chair covers! Or maybe that vivid green is its natural colour!

As most of the vegetation hereabouts is a darker green its a puzzle why the frog chose to come out in such a florescent green garb. Maybe looking for attention!

rana_frog_2

Its eyes are particularly appealing being a unblinking bronze metallic!

All the better to see insects with I guess.

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Harvest / Vendimia 2013

Each year the harvest follows the same pattern so here are a few pictures showing the 2013 harvest which was a bumper year.

We had 32 people helping and harvested approx 2,200 kilos/litres.

The grapes started fermentation almost immediately.

TankFermentOver

Fermenting grapes spilling over

 

TempBodega

Fermentation Tanks and De-stemmer

GrapesReady

Grapes ready for harvest

Ferment

Tank fermenting

Ferment3

Fermenting tank

InfoSheets

Notes on Brix levels

Checking Brix using Refractometer

Checking Brix using Refractometer

GrapesonVine

Grapes with leaves stripped away

FermentBulge

Fermenting Cap pushing up cover

GrapePicking

Picking Grapes

ProductionLine

Production Line

CheckingGrapes

Sorting and checking grapes

Checking Sugar levels

Checking grapes

Fermenting tanks

Fermenting tanks full

Fermentation

Start of fermentation

Wine y Jamon

Wine from earlier vintage and jamon

 

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Bodega

During December and January we rebuilt over the old animal barn using the same footprint and keeping the very old stone walls for part of the building. Our decision to build the bodega is outlined in this post.

Old walls kept

Old walls kept

Thermolite blocks used for walls to aid nsulation

Thermolite blocks used for walls to aid nsulation

The joints between the stones and rocks of the old walls do not have cement but lime mortar, so we will get good humidity. We have been running out of space for storage of bottles mainly, but also having the wine in barrels and tanks on the terrace has been taking up space.

Roof beams going on

Roof beams going on

Roof going on

Roof going on

We also found that the wine we have made is at first tasting uncomplicated and fruity with a light body. It has improved considerably in the bottle, due to the wines natural acidity and fairly high alcohol. So it seems that we have to wait four years at least to get to the stage where it begins to take on more complexity. We do not filter the wine when bottling and only add small amounts of potassium metabisulphite at fermentation and when storing in barrel and tank. The wine is a field blend, so the proportions are not exact but as we have 700 tempranillo and 400 syrah, a bottle is about 70% tempranillo and 30% syrah.

So it is a very natural wine, it is unsettled when transferred from barrel, or tank, to bottle so needs time to settle and seems better when tasted from barrel than when tasted from bottle shortly afterwards. So the movement between barrel and bottle causes ‘distress’ to the wine which reflects in its taste.

Roof nearly finished

Roof nearly finished

We are bottling around 1,500 bottles this year, so although we are going to harvest later this year and maybe have less grape juice, we will still need a storage capacity for 8,000 bottles or so, to allow time for the wine to mature in bottle.

Bodega back view

Bodega back view

Just need to build brick recesses to store the bottles and it will be complete, except for the 8,000 bottles we intend to put in it!

 

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Types of cutting vines

In early February, every year, we cut the vines of all cordons and stems, except those that enable the plant to achieve a better shape or better yield of grapes. If the older wood that forms the Y-shape is low down, weak or badly formed, it can be replaced by bending over another cordon and cutting away the old wood.

This year we have tried three ways of cutting to see which way produces good grape yield, keeps the vine healthy and avoids mildew or mold on the grapes and leaves. We are also lowering the irrigation pipes so that watering does not cause humidity along the line of foliage and grapes.

We cut some lines of vines very close to the trunk and kept the old wood that forms the Y-shape but took off any growths or spurs, so that the plants had a smoother look. We had heard that this could lead to a ‘blinding’ of buds and maybe the vines would not produce much. We cut this way because the vines were starting to look ‘lumpy’ due to buds left to grow on the previous years spurs. Also we heard that the ‘sangre’ or sap goes into each spur and gets blocked and does not run freely when there are three or four spurs.

Close cut keeping old wood

Close cut keeping old wood

Most of the vineyard was cut leaving two buds on each spur, each branch having 4 or 5 such spurs, some less. This does leave the Y-shape branches looking lumpy until bud-burst. Any growth underneath is cut away so only spurs on top remain.

Two bud cut lines

Four lines were cut to new wood by a friend, Pablo, who has vineyards near Ronda. He was interested to see that if by cutting away most of the old wood on the 2 sides of the Y-shape and just leaving one cordon bent down on each side that here would be more and better grapes. Problem here is that sometimes the chosen cordon cannot be bent down or snaps. There a few plants with tape-wrapped branches! The Y-shape also looks odd with thick wood leading to thin cordons. The sap or ‘sangre’ will have no problem reaching along each branch as there are no spurs.

New wood cut

New wood cut

Its early April and there is bud-burst all over the vineyard. The close cut vines have less bud-burst, the new wood cut vines have more and the two-bud cut vines have most. We will see how it looks when the canopy forms and how the grapes then form on the three types of cutting.

Two bud cut bud-burst

Two bud cut bud-burst

Close cut bud-burst

Close cut bud-burst

New wood bud-burst

New wood bud-burst lines

New wood bud-burst

New wood bud-burst

 

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