Slurping, tasting and not swallowing 29 April 2016

Château la Tulipe dates back to the late middle ages. A time when vineyards in Bordeaux were subdivided into tiny, workable plots.

In a dusty filing cabinet at the Mairie we discovered the old maps outlining our little mini vineyards.
Each of their names derives from landmarks that have long since vanished, like: ‘Le Figuier’, the fig tree, or ‘Les Chênes’, the oaks. But
gladly we still draw water from the well which gave its name to the vineyard ‘La Source’ on a daily basis, and ‘La Tour’, the watchtower at the edge of the vineyard, now serves as a secret writing spot for the winegrower.

All those little vineyards, each with their own unique micro-climate, have been reinstated. We harvest them individually and make sure to vinify them separately as well.It is only after two years, just before the wine is bottled that we assemble those thirty-two different flavours and meld them into one wine that reflects the character of Château La Tulipe in that particular year.



Nine in the morning. With a fresh Café et croissant under the belt the winegrower is slurpward bound.
‘Oh Lordy, son,’ the grape-hustler sighs with an air of despondence, ‘Do we really have to taste all those barriques today?’
And indeed we do. What is worse; this isn’t even the final assembly. Today we’re merely completing the monthly check where we draw some wine from each of the barrels and, together with our winemakers Bruno and Shipley, assess how the different wines are evolving.



Make sure to sniff and slurp in a deliberate manner and don’t forget the obligatory pensive expressions.


At the end of the morning all the barriques have been tasted and the majority of the expelled wine has indeed landed in the bucket rather than next to it.
And, just in case you were wondering, no the contents of that bucket will NOT be poured back into the barrels.

Just as we are about to leave the wine cellar, our tongues, worked to death by those eager young wines, thick and heavy in our mouths like beached whales, the phone rings.
Slurp Chardonnay has won a silver medal! At the most important wine fair in the whole of France: the winemakers ‘Concours des Oenologues Vinalies’.

Shortly after we receive the news that La Tulipe Prestige too has got her hands on a silver plaque. Bacchus be praised; all that toil and trouble in the vineyard, the endless drudgery during the harvest weeks, it has led to something after all.
At the end of the day the winegrowing family are in high spirits as they raise their glasses: ‘Not half bad, Son, that plonk of ours’ the winegrower grunts contentedly.

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