Dear loyal (wine shop) customers,
As 2023 draws to a close, we want to thank each and every one of you for your business. In March, you were offered a lot more choices for wine purchases — as in…1400 more choices. So each time you come through our doors, you are keeping an independent wine shop in business. Thank you!
We wanted to share with you this wonderful email (see below) that we received from one of our best and favorite wine purveyors, Château Carbonneau, in Pessac-sur-Dordogne, France. If you ever want to visit a winery, pick this one! So beautiful.
There were challenges all around this past year, yet we received shipments of many of their wines. We depend on them, they depend on us, and both of us depend on you!
So as a thank you to you and them, enjoy 20% off a case of Carbonneau wines, which includes Classique, Margot, L Verriere, and Cab Franc — but there are seven Château Carbonneau wines for you to choose from — mix & match all you want and get 20% off of a case of 12.
Have a great last couple of weeks of 2023, and come see us in the shop!
Carbonneau’s 2023 Newsletter
Chères Amies, Chers Amis,
As is customary at this time each year, we want to share the updates from the past year at Chateau Carbonneau.
Sunny Reunions: The Return of Our Friends from Afar
The 2023 tourist season began under more serene skies compared to the previous year marked by COVID-related constraints. Health passports, masks, and sanitizer are now behind us. We welcomed visitors happy to rediscover a semblance of normalcy and the freedom to travel. The first bed-and-breakfast reservations came from Americans, and we noted an increase in visitors from afar, such as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and the United States. Despite occasional transportation strikes and riots mentioned in foreign press dampening some enthusiasm temporarily, life in the peaceful Gensac countryside prevailed, although we did experience a decrease in June visitors.
Margot organized three weddings at Carbonneau this year, including that of our daughter Lucie. Despite challenges, everything unfolded successfully, and the restored glass roof in 2022 provided a splendid backdrop for photos. The wine bar and tea lounge remain popular, hosting tourists and locals, as well as significant groups for birthdays or tours and tastings, followed by lunches under the trees in the park. We intend to enhance our tasting and tour offerings, inspired by our experiences in New Zealand vineyards during our last trip. We envision our guests, whether staying in bed-and-breakfast or passing through, enjoying pleasant afternoons savoring our wines and the tranquility of the countryside.
Nature’s Challenges: A Look at the Ups and Downs of the 2023 Viticultural Year
One doesn’t fully grasp how much a winemaker’s livelihood depends on nature until experiencing a year like this. In today’s society, business performance is measured by production and revenue, primarily influenced by knowledge, access to supplies, and the ability to orchestrate the finished product. In agriculture, weather becomes an additional factor, and you will see how it can impact a business.
A viticultural year begins preparations in winter, with a team at Carbonneau, including Wilfrid, Hugo, and Pierre, managing vineyard work, winemaking, and marketing. Then there are the permanent staff, Marco, Abdel, and Matias, handling pruning, trellising, lifting, and tractor work. Seasonal workers are brought in for cane dropping and assistance during lifting. An outside company is contracted for harvesting when the time comes. Consultants Lilian and Caroline assist in decision-making regarding vine disease treatment and wine production.
Carbonneau’s vineyard is now certified organic since 2022, covering approximately 23 hectares, with 19 in red and 4 in white. A substantial fleet of machinery ensures timely vineyard work, including 3 tractors, a forward-facing sprayer, an interrow plow, a leaf stripper, and more.
Preparations were made for 2023, but now let’s see how the weather unfolded. In Gironde, especially in Gensac, we had a normal winter with cold and rain. A cool start to spring followed by a sunny May allowed for regular bud break. In June, the weather turned; it rained for 25 days, and it was hot, almost tropical! Constant copper treatments were required to combat downy mildew. Around June 22, the weather forecast indicated a break, and naturally, our guard was lowered. What a mistake; on June 24, a heavy storm hit, and the vines were not adequately protected. That was the turning point; a few days later, the first mildew spots appeared, especially on Merlot. Eight days later, the clusters began to wither. In a short time, we lost over 50% of the harvest. In organic farming, there is no remedy for mildew; only preventive protection remains effective. It goes to show how unpredictable weather can be an extremely ungrateful factor in our profession despite all the planning and work done in advance. A winery is not like any other business!
Vintage 2023: Harvest and Happy Hours for the Herd
The 2023 vintage will be quite unique as we harvested very few Merlots, usually the predominant grape in our blends. As mentioned earlier, the weather in the 2023 season significantly impacted the quantity of grapes produced, especially Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons. Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, pleasantly surprised us and allowed us to vinify a qualitative harvest, focusing on freshness and finesse. Although the whites showed mildew symptoms similar to those found on the Merlots, the pressed juices revealed very promising aromas. Margot 2023 will be a discovery in early 2024!
The herd is doing well at the end of the season, with a few Bazadais calves born, enjoying the last days in the pasture before returning to spend winter in the barn.
We wish you all a wonderful holiday season with family and all the best for the coming year.
Hope to hear from you soon.
The Franc de Ferrière Family
Friends & Family Deals
3 bottles: 5% off
6 bottles: 10% off
12 bottles: 15% off
Enjoy an extra 5% volume discount on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4pm to 6pm.
3 bottles: 10% off
6 bottles: 15% off
12 bottles: 20% off
Look for our purple signs — discounts on big and little wines.