Today we are going to pick and crush the grapes. These are a Vidal Blanc grape on a root stock that will deal with the extended freezing temperatures here in the winter. I can leave the grapes on the vine until they are frozen (resulting in a really sticky white dessert wine) however I don’t really have the volume of grapes for that this year. The longer they hang on the vine the drier they get and this does concentrate the flavours. Then if they get a few good freezes this creates an extra series of taste sensations. But as you can imagine you will then have way less juice. Less juice means less wine and we all know what less wine means!
So this year we have decided to harvest a little earlier. Once again we are doing it the old fashioned way. No meters or gadgets, just observation and taste. And an old re-jiggered crusher that we found in the basement. The grapes have darkened to a blushy pink and they taste very sweet, the pips are brown. They are pulling off the stalk very easily. So. Today we pick. The time is now. A few friends are on their way over. And as soon as the fog clears and the grapes dry we will get underway.
I will take some pictures (on my rubbish camera as my good one has spat the proverbial dummy) and let you know all about it tomorrow. Now I have to get busy with my preparations. One of which is to make a nice spinach soup and some fresh bread for a casual supper out in the cool autumnal orchard when we are finished.
I have been making this soup for years so it is a great favourite. When I make it today I shall double the ingredients. In a large saucepan, (I use a wok) heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil. ADD
Cook until the onions are slightly browned and bacon is cooked but NOT crispy. Then ADD
Toss the potatoes in the bacon and onion mixture and cook until hot then ADD (why has my text suddenly shrunk!)
Serve with a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Yes I am finally eating the parmesan!! It is only five months old and I know I am about 6 months too early but I can wait No longer! I have six wheels of parmesan down there so I do not feel too naughty.. Don’t tell the cheese police!