July 2017: Halfway house …

Monday July 3 2017

bio-pictureWell, this month has started off all in a rush.  After a cool and covered week, the sun threatens to shine through again.  Or does it?  But we do get a nice bit of sunshine from an unexpected source: Scotland.  Its leading daily newspaper, The Scotsman, carried a wonderful review of Limoux by its leading Scottish Master of Wine writer, Rose Murray Brown over the weekend.  Her two top tips happen to be two top Rives-Blanques whites, and we are delighted.  Quite objectively speaking, of course,  we thought it a rather good and very insightful article … : www.rosemurraybrown.com/rose-uncut/articles/limoux

And this comes hot on the heels of the new 2017-2018 Guide Hubert des Vins which chose our chardonnay, Odyssée, as its ‘Tenor of the Year” … yes indeed, it may be coolish, but the sun is shining at Rives-Blanques as July rolls in.


Tuesday July 4 2017

Ambassador2013“Oh yes!” I say to Jan while reading an email.  “Oh yes oh yes oh yes!’

“Yes what?” he asks, rather sharply.  A bit crotchety, if the truth be told.


Our entry-level wine, the chardonnay-chenin Pays d’Oc has been chosen as one of the 14 white wines to represent the region, at home and abroad.  They call it the Ambassador Collection, and this is the third time this wine has reported home with  this trophy.

Which is really quite something, considering that the number of wines bottled under the Pays d’Oc label,  equals the entire national production of New Zealand.   For instance.

Yes indeed, we are really pleased.

And now instead of variously calling it “simple but not stupid”, or “our aristocratic country wine” or  “not a dumb blonde”, or even as a friend unforgivably said, “the Rives-Plonk”, we will now call it “Your Excellency”.


Thursday 5 July

Erick Vialade,  our winemaker/vineyard manager, came in to formalise his retirement today.   Jan-Ailbe, our son who has been in-waiting all this time, now officially takes over.


Thursday 13 July

BriceCousiniéWe were wiped out by the end of the morning.  For a start, he talks so much.  But the bigger problem is that he has so much to talk about!  Even so,  we mustered our strength to ask him to stay for lunch (because there was still so much left to talk about …).

Brice Cousinié is comfortably tall, and might almost pass for a Panman were it not for the braceletted arm and the ringed finger – the one pointing right now, at this very minute,  with intent at the fractured bark of a vine.

He’s our soil scientist, the one who measures the electro-magnetic fields of our parcels, insists on the land lying fallow for years and years, is horrified at the amount of copper  permitted in organic farming, pulls his hair out when we admit to using a pine-based product to help our (organic) fungicides stick to the leaves, digs holes all over the place to measure the minerals in the soil, and proposes letting the rootstock, on to which young vines are grafted, grow for two years in situ before grafting a vine on to it.  That’s for a start.  He also almost begs us to go back to the ‘old ways’.  Les anciens knew what they were doing .. and off we go on a jolly side trip into all the things the old anciens did before technology was invented.

His T-shirt says it all.

It is a way of life, and it is hugely stimulating.


Monday 17 July

is a day that leaves us lost for words.

And a good moment to end the Diary for the month.

And a great moment to go on holiday!




…/to be continued next month.