May 2015 The Point to Points

A glass of sunshine: Limoux’s new-look logo (above)


The wettest March in recorded history, followed by what seemed to be the sunniest April, puts us firmly into Spring, as you will see from this little video. The vines are lapping it all up, moving rapidly from from bud-break to the formation of tiny little grape bunches. And that’s where we are, well on the road to Harvest 2015; there’s no going back now. Even the brand-new chardonnay and mauzac vines, planted only a month ago and still no taller than the wine glass they will fill, are roaring ahead and raring to go: they won’t be harvested for another three years, but there’s no stopping them either.

And it seems there’s no stopping our chenin blanc, Dédicace 2012. Last month it was one of only thirteen white Languedoc wines awarded a gold medal by the Competition of the Great Wines of France in Mâcon, the esteemed concours with the dubious distinction of being the world’s biggest Guinness Book of Records-breaking wine competition.

The Wine Advocate’s proverbial “Parker points” speak volumes in any language – and if those digits cross the 90 point barrier, they speak even louder. In fact, they positively shout. So of course we are doubly delighted that their Languedoc specialist, the immensely respected Jeb Dunnuck, gave top marks to Dédicace 2012 and to our ‘terrific’ Chardonnay, Odyssée 2013 (both 92 pts). In fact, they were two of the five top-rated white wines in this report. The other two wines we submitted were Le Limoux 2013 (89 pts) and the mauzac Occitania 2013 (88 pts), all billed as ‘some of the top whites of this (Languedoc) report” – and the tasting notes are right here.

Now to put a bit more fizz into things: we’re glad to say that our Blanc de Blancs and Vintage Rose Crémants de Limoux are back on tap, after a long, pregnant pause. The result justifies the wait, we think. The third pillar of our effervescence, Blanquette de Limoux – our newest release of the world’s oldest sparkling wine – is a bit of a departure for us, being made of 100% mauzac this time. And zero brut to boot. Very clean, very fresh, and very Rives-Blanques.

And at Rives-Blanques we are raising a glass of Blanquette to our son who has navigated his way through a flat-out, full-time, hands-on programme of ploughing, planting, blending and bottling, while burning the midnight oil and completing his 2-year Winemaking Certificate from UC Davis. Another milestone in the life of Rives-Blanques – chapeau, Jan-Ailbe!

Today he’s out there in the field planting the poles that support the wires that support the vines that he planted last month. It is a lovely thought for us that he will be making that wine when those vines are ready for picking in three years time.

With that, we take our leave until the next time, and wish you wondrous wines and wonderful times. And if you can spare a thought for the winegrower, please hope with us that the glacial Ice Saint Days (May 11, 12, 13) will be kind to us and to our vines …

The Panman Family
Cépie, May Day 2015