"Old Vine Block" Merlot showing amazing vigour in 2014.

“Old Vine Block” Merlot showing amazing vigour in 2014. This terroir has huge potential.

Hard to believe. Emotional. Amazing. Dreams really do come true! At a personal level, words fail me and it is very emotional that after 15 years of negotiation, discussion, action, planning, delays, setbacks and preparation, this wonderful block of land that we love and call Hourcat Centre has finally been fully replanted as a Merlot vineyard.

As all readers of this blog know well, we are super passionate about this terroir. It has excellent drainage, a south facing slope, great soil and when replanted as a continuation of the 1.85m medium high density row spacing combined with our leading viticultural know how, this vineyard block has huge potential. We have also planted a new small section of Cabernet Franc behind and to the north of the winery on the Hourcat plateau.

Old meets new

Where old meets new – looking west across Hourcat Centre towards the old farmhouse.

Five years ago the Hourcat Centre block was a mixed planting of 55 year old Merlot and similarly aged Sémillon which had been “cut to death” with a view to uprooting and possible housing construction. We managed to recover and save the “old vine block” Merlot which is now flourishing unbelievably. The Sémillon was dug up, the land slowly rehabilitated and after a year of weather delays, a beautiful Bordeaux vineyard is being brought back to life with this replanting. Hourcat Centre is now the home of Paradise Rescued Merlot.

It will be at least five years into the future before we decide what assemblage of wine we wish to have but the initial plan is probably either a full varietal Merlot wine or a 80 / 20 Merlot Cab Franc blend. The planting of a few rows of CabFranc is strategically designed to allow the latter blend possibility without reducing the quantity of 100% varietal Cabernet Franc from Hourcat Sud that is now in such high demand. As always the viticulture will be organic with biodynamic supplementation.

A tiny new baby Merlot vine. At least 5 years until harvest!

    A tiny new baby Merlot vine. At least 5 years until harvest!

I invite every one of you to (metaphorically) join me on the patio by the Paradise Rescued winery and property. Picture yourself there. It is late on a summer evening – the air is still, humid and warm. Looking out from our rustic bench table sharing a meal with amazing friends I look out to the west as the sun slides slowly goes down behind our 12th century Cardan village church. The sunset is bright orange red grey – spectacular and a good indication of tomorrow’s fair weather! The new baby vines cast their first shadows – they will be bigger next year and another step closer to sustaining this beautiful corner of Bordeaux France along with producing a world class Merlot wine. Something special and unique has been brought back to life.

The long journey to realise this goal has been slow but worth every ounce of patience. Dreams absolutely do come true; you have to focus, believe, persist, set goals, persevere, overcome road blocks and so much more to make it happen. But it does happen…dream big everyone! The rewards will leave you speechless too!