October 2010


When all is said and done, it was a Very Good Year. Tricky, but good. Unusually low yields throughout France can be blamed on a number of things, and they all have to do with the weather – which yo-yo’d all over the place under mostly covered skies the whole year long. Grapes like luminous light as much as any of us. One of the coolest millésimes and lowest yields of the decade, the grapes were delivered to the threshold of our harvest high in acidity and low in sugar. The tricky bit was to wait, then get in and get them out between threatening drought and an unscheduled downpour in mid October. In short, to get it right. Our harvest, as a result, was a very compressed, round-the-clock sort of affair, not to mention intense and intensive. (Note the word ‘tense’ in both!)

Happily, those of us anchored to the sorting table could report with satisfaction on the quality of the grapes passing through our fingers. We have acidity/sugar levels we could hug, so yes, we think Millésime 2010 has given us something quite special: something fine and elegant, blessed with beautiful keepability. And it’s already on its way! The last grapes were picked on October 5, and twenty days later fermentation ended as the juice turned to … wine. That’s the stark fact, but it is unfair to make so little of such a big miracle. While nothing can really describe the sound, sight and smell of barrels busy in happy fermentatation, please click here for a little idea of it.

Today the cellars are plunged in deep, thoughtful silence as vintage 2010 quietly gets on with becoming what we hope it will become. Big encouragement comes in the big book published by Gault Millau, the last important French wine guide to come out this year, which endorses the entire Rives-Blanques range. Out in the vineyard, where it all begins and all ends, the leaves are turning bright yellow, alight like lanterns. And from the skies above comes a voice of even greater encouragement: a happy passenger on KLM takes the trouble to write about his magic mauzac moment at 36,000 feet, within days of our Cuvée Occitania being introduced on board this month

… Back to earth, we’ll be having our own magic moments with Occitania and our other wines over the next two weeks: please meet us at the Outsiders Tasting at the Maison de Languedoc in London (November 10), at Leon Colaris Wijnhandel in Weert, the Netherlands (13 and 14 November) and at Bollicine mon Amour in Parma, Italy, 13 – 15 November. We hope to see you there, if not, we will be back again same time same place next month. …. unless you click on takemeoff@rives-blanques.com to be released