Rhône Wines

Running up a 12-inch (30-cm) wide, rock, one-sided staircase with no handrails from one terrace to another, all more than 30% sloped, I pause to capture my balance, which has now shifted behind me as the 45 lbs. (20 kg) of Syrah grapes in my plastic bin-backpack pulls me downhill. Sweat is pouring from my head, in my eyes, and down my back — even though it is a cold, brisk morning. A picker scouring above me drops his 3 lb. (1.4 kg) grape load from his bucket, driving my feet deeper into the rocks, and this is only the second run of the morning. Then a loud command from the terraces above, “porter” — French for young, naïve intern who volunteered to carry grapes on his back because he thought it would be far more fun than bending over all morning picking La Turque, for the prestigious E. Guigal estate’s 2005 Vintage. Thoughts race through my mind, when will I get to work in the cave? How much stem inclusion will this lot get? What is the Brix? Will I