When it’s OK to drink from the bowl

by Steve Martindale

Every region of France has its local customs and the Dordogne is no exception. One you may have seen out and about, and which some say is the reason behind the impressive longevity of the area’s inhabitants, is to pour a splash of red wine into your empty soup bowl before picking it up, swilling it around and draining the contents, or more concisely, faire chabrol.

The tradition originates in this department, and although your grandmother may have always told you never to drink from the bowl, the opposite is the case with this old ritual. Whilst some say chabrol and others chabrot, most agree that the expression means “boire comme une chabrette” – to drink like a goat.

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The Wines of Bergerac – Atmospherics and alcohol

by Martin Walker

The more we learn about the 2018 vintage, the more extraordinary it appears. The wet spring and early summer, with constant threats of mildew, was a real challenge not just for the eventual harvest but above all for the growing trend towards organic wines.

Wet weather means mildew and there are two main ways to tackle it. The first and most common is to spray with copper sulphate, but use too much and the vineyard can lose its organic certification. The other solution is to trim the young leaves, which are most vulnerable to mildew. On a small vineyard, this is possible but very labour-intensive. On larger ones it is almost impossible.

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