Whilst the area of Provence lies under the summer heat our grape-vines at Domaine Mirabeau are in full transformation with the so called “veraison” process in full swing. As the onset of ripening, “veraison” is the turning point in which the grapes turn from green to red (or yellow for white grapes) and naturally begin to sweeten.
Veraison is one of the most important moments in a grapevine’s annual lifecycle. It is when the vine alters its focus from energy creation to energy consumption, cultivating sweet grapes. The changing colour and development of other polyphenols also act as protectors to the grapes from sun, wind and other environmental stresses. Following the veraison phase, the ripening process can take anywhere from 30-70 days until the grapes are fully ripe for wine-making. Due to the warm weather here in the Provence this process is shorter than colder regions.
Before veraison wine grapes are small, hard and highly acidic, and green coloured from the presence of chlorophyll. When veraison begins the vines transfer their energy store from the roots to the grapes. The chlorophyll is replaced by anthocynanins in red grapes or carotenoids in white grapes, sugars and other nutrients. After veraison the grapes begin to dramatically increase in size as they start to develop aroma compounds. Acid levels fall and sugar levels then rise until the grapes are perfectly balanced and ready to be harvested. Here at the domaine we expect to start the harvest anytime between the end of August until mid September.
For winegrowers, veraison is an important time because it also signals the necessary changes in the way that growers must care for their vines. Each region and each type of wine variety requires slightly different techniques to achieve perfect ripening. Here at Domaine Mirabeau we ensure that the canopy is clean for perfect photosynthesis and let nature take its course to provide us with naturally ripened grapes.
It’s Cavaillon Melon Season
This year as every year, the town of Cavaillon in the Luberon celebrate their three-day festival to mark the season’s first Cavaillon melon harvest. In addition to simply eating them raw, Cavaillon melons are served roasted, fried, and candied. Some local chefs even use them to make liqueurs and syrups.
The Cavaillon melons are grown from seed rather than plants and take around 80 days to fully mature. Their growers make sure that they are not picked too soon or late. Knowing when to pick them comes with time and experience.
The Cavaillon melons are believed to have been transported to Provence when the papacy moved from Italy to France in the 14th century. The papal summer residence was in Cantalupo, Italy – renowned for its cantaloupe melons. Cavaillon melons sold in Europe today are still grown in Provence. To be sold as such they must be certified by the Cavaillon melon consortium and bear the label „Melon de Cavaillon“. To be labeled a Melon de Cavaillon, the melons must be inspected for density, sugar content and appearance. Those bearing imperfections are excluded so few melons pass the test! To find them outside of France can be difficult. They are in limited supply for export and best enjoyed between June and August whilst traveling around the south of France.
Most distinctively, the Cavaillon is a long-lasting melon. With its orange flesh, deep flavour and perfume it is a particularly refreshing fruit due to its very high water content (90%). The melon is particularly rich in the provitamin A (beta-carotene) with all the great antioxidant properties that go along with it and an excellent source of vitamin C which is necessary in the production of collagen and healing. This fruit is not only a powerhouse for your health but also tastes delicious with its sweet syrup-like juice and its floral yet tropical aroma.
To celebrate Cavaillon season Ben, our Domaine chef has created a beautiful dish to prepare with this unique fruit which you can discover here.
Our Guests Get Creative
It is so lovely to see that our Domaine guests appreciate the beauty of our estate as much as we do. Our guests this month were inspired by the idyllic surroundings of Domaine Mirabeau and so much so that they left us some beautifully painted pictures that they created during their stay. Thank you so much for your watercolour creations!