Stratheden is the second release from The Lost Distillery Company. Closed due to the impact of prohibition in 1926, the distillery buildings still exist (in part) today with some original markings on the walls and doors hinting at its glorious past. Indeed, the colour we’ve selected for the label of The Lost Distillery Stratheden matches the colour of the warehouse doors that can still be seen to this day.
Stratheden was also known as Auchtermuchty towards the end of its distilling life. It was owned by the Bonthrone family, who had been significant local brewers and maltsters in the area, dating as far back as 1600. The founder of the distillery was Alexander Bonthrone who reputedly distilled until his death in 1890. At 92 years old he became the oldest distiller in Scotland. His whisky was reputed to be ‘one of the best.’ One of the key attributes of this whisky was its unparalleled water source, known locally as the ‘Lovers Pool’. It took three years to carve an aqueduct in solid granite to channel crystal clear water from the Lovers Pool to Stratheden Distillery’s three water wheels. The water powered the entire site as well as contributing to the whisky’s unique character. The great whisky explorer, Alfred Barnard, described it thus: ‘It is splendid water, and as pure and sparkling as crystal.’ Who are we to disagree?
The Leperchois family has been growing vines for several generations in Roquemaure. Christian Leperchois bottles his biodynamic wines under the Lunar Apoge label. The wines are 100% certified by Demeter. The Estate has been 100% organic/ biodynamic since 1977. Below, in its own words, Christian explains what it means for him to be biodynamic.
Organic viticulture! Why not simply call it natural viticulture? After all, great wines can only be produced by working with nature, not struggling against it. All grape growers must integrate this notion into their way of thinking. Which is why, after 25 years of observations and occasionally bitter experience, there is no longer a place for the ethics of productivity in the natural equilibrium at Lunar Apoge.
Harsh reality – the demise of a tree that afforded welcome shade to generations past, a completely decimated hedge, a bank swept away by erosion through being stripped of its plant cover.
Pollution – a tragic answer! At least, that would seem to be Man’s response by the use of weed killers, insecticides and chemical fertilizers – a host of new synthetic molecules, initially heralded as environmentally friendly, only to be discredited a few years on because of the risks they represent. Consequence – the microbial activity of certain vineyards is as poor as that of desert sands. Terroir is no longer able to manifest itself and wines lose their richness and individuality, only managing to retain the genetic origins of their grape variety.
Mindful of these factors, the inspiration for our vineyards is taken from the rhythms of our ancestors. Autumn announces the arrival of the vines’ dormant period. This is the moment for improving the soil by spreading annually composted grape pomace, which is then ploughed in thoroughly and forms a protective blanket at the base of the vines.
The vines are pruned vigorously to select the fruiting canes. Old, inactive vines are removed and burned to prevent the possibility of disease spreading. Spring ploughing starts with the arrival of bud burst, and is repeated as often as necessary to keep at bay the vegetation that may otherwise compete with the vines.
Manual hoeing is a necessity around the vines themselves. The first shoots mark the start of manual disbudding. Early selection of the best shoots - before the growing season is fully under way - helps ensure the quality of the grapes at harvest time.
The viticultural protective cycle comes into play in the fight against downy mildew and powdery mildew. By closely monitoring the vines on a virtually daily basis, keeping an attentive eye on the weather and interpreting climatic factors, the number of treatments by dusting or spraying with copper or sulphur can be kept to a minimum.
Veraison provides the occasion for appraising the future crop. Vines bearing too much fruit will have their clusters thinned out by hand.
The heat of the summer and the dry Mediterranean climate are guarantees of grape maturity and concentration of anthocyans and tannins – the natural treasures produced by the fruit. And, finally, we come to harvest time, with its celebrations, hopes and eagerness to do justice to a juice brimming with terroir, grape variety, colour and fragrance. The cellar turn into a sparkling clean, bustling scene of activity in which the harvest’s ‘wild’, or natural, yeasts are left to develop.
Traditional methods to foster the most natural and complete embodiment of the fruits of the vine - the product of outstanding soils and the passion of the men and women who toil there.