Vine Lines May/June 2012: an unembarrassed embarrassment of riches.

Wine competitions can be fickle friends. So we are completely unembarrassed by the embarrassment of riches pouring from our wines: more gold medals from Decanter World Wine Awards than any other vineyard in the Languedoc (La Trilogie and Dédicace); the second gold medal in a row for our pink fizz, Vintage Rose 2009 from the Crémants of France; another one from the Chardonnay du Monde for our chardonnay Odyssée; a gold for our local yokel, mauzac (Occitania) from the Sommeliers of Britain. And there is a purse-full of silver too: our brand-new blend Le Limoux faced the fire and earned silver medals from Decanter World Wine Awards and the Great Wines of Languedoc on its first outing. The mauzac, Occitania, also came home with a silver from Decanter, which pleased us almost more than anything. And the fizz version of the mauzac, the just-bottled Blanquette 2010, also found silver at the end of its rainbow (Great Wines of Languedoc Roussillon). Happy we are, yes – but blasé, no: tomorrow’s another day, and who knows what that may bring…

But in the meantime, good news continues raining on us. The American magazine Wine Enthusiast tasted a series of Limoux chardonnays, and rated Odyssée the best: 90 points, and “the Editor’s Choice”. And then came the cherry on the top: La Revue du Vin de France France’s top wine magazine, published the results of its marathon nation-wide tasting of the 2011 vintage of all the country’s appellations. Limoux, they said, is at the very top of the Languedoc, with the best (white) wines of the region. And amongst the best Limoux wines – and the top 2000 in the country – they chose our mauzac, Occitania. Which is remarkable in itself, but even more remarkable is that this marks the 11th consecutive year an Appellation Limoux wine from Rives-Blanques has featured in this exclusive and elusive list – a record.

About the vineyard, there is not much sensible to say that makes much sense. The weather has been breaking all records in one form or another: hottest, coldest, wettest, dryest – but the truth is, every year has been like that. The very first flower appeared on the very first vine today, the same date as 2010 to the day. This means that in spite of it all, we are right on schedule and we can expect a normal mid-September harvest, if things continue

like this. The question is: will they?

We have one eye firmly fixed on vintage 2012, and the other on 2011; next week we’ll be bottling the 2011 wines, and clearing the cellars in preparation for 2012. For some of us, this is the most beautiful event of the year: watching those bottles roll down the bottling line like newly minted bars of gold, the perfect synthesis of the essential potential of Rives-Blanques and the hopes and aspirations of those who work it. In short, pure poetry.

But others of us, conducting this cacophony of cartons, capsules, corks, bottles and wine, don’t always see it quite like that.

June 7 , 2012