Day 145-146: All creatures great and small (and tasty!!)

After a rather indulgent day yesterday it was back up early and into the fields this morning for our penultimate vendange shift! Some shifts have flown by in a blur of snipping and sorting, but this one was a little more memorable now that sanglier (wild boar) season was ramping up!

Whilst the hunting season began at the end of the summer, today was the first day we saw any sign of them and on driving down to the vineyard we passed a van of hunters in their fluro-orange jackets. Thinking nothing of it we carried on to the field and were merrily picking away until we heard the sound of barking dogs getting nearer and nearer!

Soon an orange vested hunter arrived to see what was going on in the field and speak to our boss. After a short discussion he went on his way – I have no idea what was said, but I’d imagine the hunter wanted to see if our field was free so they could send their dogs through on the hunt for the illusive sanglier! Luckily they changed their path to stay out of our way, however the barking still continued – really quite loudly!! – just over the hedge and I have to say I was a little on edge. Yes the hunters knew we were picking away and could control the dogs, but I had visions of an injured, frightened sanglier running into the vineyard and straight up my row!!

Thankfully we were okay – and having heard no gun shots, I think the sanglier was too – and could go about our picking safe in the knowledge the worst that could happen was a sting from the many wasp-like insects that were swarming around the sweet grapes! A few hours later and another shift was done, so we headed back to GUB’s to de-grape (these end of season bunches are super juicy and super sticky!) and relax.

The remainder of the day – and start of the next – were spent blog writing, planning, shopping and sorting ready to pack up the BFG to head off again. It really is amazing how much you spread when you have access to a whole house rather than a van!!

With everything feeling a little more sorted it was time to get on with prepping dinner. After Tuesday’s indulgences we had settled on a simple veggie stirfry yesterday, however we had promised to show off our hot-smoking skills to GUB before we left and went for the classic smoked duck. Luckily for me this was Rob’s domain so I let him prep, render and finally smoke the duck whilst I set about creating a simple side dish of puy lentils, yogurt, spinach and herbs.

This is now other third or fourth attempt at smoked duck and it certainly lived up to it’s reputation. Soft, pink and juicy it had a wonderful fruity, smoked aroma from the apple wood chippings, that went very well a rather special bottle of wine we had been saving.

This is the big, big brother of our wedding wine, a dangerously drinkable syrah that slipped down far too quickly! I’m really looking forward to trying the new wines we got from our trip to St Chinian, however they have stiff competition to live up too 🙂

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