I have been so lucky these last two days to have been able to divert my travel plans briefly into beautiful Cardan before heading off to Germany. As always, the time passed too quickly, but every second was worth the diversion.

So what’s going on in Cardan? First of all the weather was amazing. It may be mid October but the Indian summer continues…. The daytime temperatures reached 25C and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. Maybe it’s just part of what has been a very complex and different season in the vineyard. The vine foliage in Hourcat Sud is still green and apart from some dark red edges to many f the leaves now, it doesn’t look very different from when we harvested in early September. Usually, there would lots of yellow and autumn colours to see, but no, 2011 has been a very different year in Bordeaux. Click here for our latest Facebook photos here.

It has been great to spend time with our team, Pascale our tireless vigeronne, Albane our energetic winemaker and organic vineyard adviser together with Soeur Petite, photographer and marketing support extraordinaire. With the addition of Hourcat Centre last month into our portfolio, it was time to review our strategies for continual improvement and development of our vineyards and wines. We are still happily surprised by the success and quality of the 2010 100% varietal Cabernet Franc #Cloud9. It was time to re-affirm our commitment to produce this unique wine as a single varietal and at the same time evaluate what opportunities exist to improve the quality of its bright colour, soft tannins, excellent length and youthful fruit if we possibly can. We are also very committed in line with our vision to sustain and further develop the “microcuvée” or small / mini vat method of production that gives such spectacular results. Watch this space for some exciting developments in 2012.

For Hourcat Centre, our long term vision is to produce a high quality Merlot based wine from this terroir. We want it to be more full bodied (Merlot will help that), more tannic, slower to mature – in short a bigger wine. We continue to be excited by the Hourcat Centre terroir and the potential it offers to produce an even better wine from the CabFranc #Cloud9. In the short term, we will start to fill in the gaps (replant) where time has taken its toll on some of the 60 year old merlots. Similarly, we will be trying to revive some of the few Cabernet Sauvignon vines behind the winery – even a small quantity of fine fruit will add a nice “backbone” to the Merlot. Time and a lot of hard work in the coming years will confirm if our vision is right. Let’s get started!