Vine Lines October-November: when Vine meets Swine

The party’s over.  Last week the last barrel sighed its last long, slow, sigh of fermentation and settled down into silent slumber. Millions of grapes have been picked, sorted and pressed; one hundred thousand litres of liquid sunshine have fermented and been transformed into wine. And this year, it was all pretty painless. Quantity is a bit down, but quality is a bit up, and the trick now is to save and savour all this wonderful potential and put it in the bottle.

But last Friday we found ourselves at it again, embracing the pain and the pleasure, as we late-harvested the last remaining chenin blanc, still bravely hanging out there like forgotten laundry. The weather had time enough to kill – this is always the risk and the vulnerability of late harvests – but a happy combination of dampish, humid mornings and bright afternoons gave us the reward of the risk: noble rot. Yes-sir-eee! So today fermentation took off again, in four barrels full of sweetly humming chenin blanc, and now we can truly draw the line under Harvest 2012.

And a very, very good one it was too.

As if they know the game is up, the vines have gone gold, and a slow glow ripples over our lands. There are other things rippling too: wild flowers in a riot of colour at the wrong time of year … and biodiversty running riot, as vine meets swine under cover of dark. Click on this infra-red video to see what happens when the lights go out. Very diverse indeed, the four-footed biodiversity at Rives-Blanques.

The incomparable Jancis Robinson, wine critic par excellence, recently tasted 180 Languedoc-Roussillon wines, and gave top points in her Purple Pages two weeks ago to our Limoux blend, La Trilogie (“a wine of real personality and integrity”), with our chenin blanc Dédicace following hot on its heels. She also put our pink fizz, Vintage Rose, at the head of the region’s rosé wines. And if that wasn’t enough vie en rose for us, the respected French wine magazine, La Revue du Vin de France, promoted Vintage Rose to the top of the Crémants of France, in this month’s issue. You can read all about it, and the surprising similarity of the tasting notes, here.

This, you understand, is hugely encouraging, particularly as we stand on the threshold of the 2012 wines. And about those, more information will surely be forthcoming, unless you chose to click on to be permanently released from this newsletter. Which we hope you do not do, but will forgive if you do!

November 1: Outsider Tasting London
November 3, 4 Leon Colaris Tasting, Netherlands
November 3, 4 Pegasus Tasting, Belgium
November 9, 10, 11 Justin Mondard ProVino Tasting, Belgium.

We hope to see you there!

October 30, 2012