The breaking news from Rives-Blanques is that the vines have started flowering … just a few of them, and then only just – but still a giant stride towards Vintage 2014. What we need now is good weather over the next few weeks; no more of that thunderously downpouring rain or violently volatile winds. Does it help us to know that this year we are about one week ahead of 2010, way later than 2011, almost on a par with 2012 and miles behind 2013? No, it does not (though 2012 was a great year).
Proof of which (the greatness of 2012) is that our special blend, La Trilogie, having distinguished itself with a gold medal from the Concours Général de Paris, has gone on to be included by the celebrated French wine critic Thierry Desseauve in his top twenty white wines of the Languedoc in this month’s issue of Terre de Vins. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate called it “beautifully done” in the May issue. And Decanter World Wine Awards is giving it a silver medal this month – a step down from Trilogie 2010’s gold medal (2010 was also a great year!) but then you can’t win them all the time.
Having said that, what pleases us beyond reason is this: La Revue du Vin de France, the oldest wine magazine in the world and one of the most highly respected as well, works its way through all the appellations of France every year in a gargantuan nation-wide speed-tasting of the new vintage. They say that 2013 was a ‘great year’ for Languedoc red wines, but when it comes to white wines, those from Limoux are the ones that excel. And of those in Limoux that excelled, the most excellent was our chardonnay, Odyssée. This is the thirteenth year without exception that our wines have been included in this elite list of the best of the vintage, and we are as pleased as Punch with this unbroken record: a wonderful pat on the back for our terroir, which does white wines so naturally.
Last week we bottled three of our 2013 wines: our two blends La Trilogie and Le Limoux, and the 100% mauzac, Occitania, which, with unusual foresight and good planning on our part, had run out just the week before. It is clear that a really desirable characteristic of this vintage will be a certain fresh tension, making that second glass even more delicious …
Tension it was indeed, just over a week ago, when suddenly the temperatures plummeted and hail – yes hail – cut a cruel swathe of destruction from 10 km to the west of us to 30 km to the east of us, right into the vinelands of the Corbieres. And yes, it passed directly overhead. But the hail degenerated into rain at that point, before turning back into hail again. So you cannot win them all the time … but it does help to win them when you really need to.
We keep our fingers crossed for the next few weeks, and will be back again after that. Until then, with our best wishes for a very bonne journée to you all from all of us here
June 3, 2014