July 2014: Flying the flag



The grapes are almost at ‘veraison’, which puts our harvest start date in the second week of September.

Luck has nothing to do with the stars.  Luck is just a question of a few hundred metres.  And luck was against the Languedoc winegrowers of the Minervois, Cabardes, Carcassonne and Malepere regions, growing their grapes on the 15,000 hectares of vines that were hit by hail this month.   There were no lucky stars to thank.   Some lost their entire crop.  We’re not talking about decimation here, we’re talking about total annihilation. The vines will take at least two years to recover – but some of the growers may never recover.  Their situation is almost too awful to contemplate; their vines too dreadful to behold.  And just a few hundred metres on either side of this stark devastation, the sun continues to shine.

It is certainly shining on us.  Once again our chardonnay-chenin Pays d’Oc wine emerged from a blind tasting organised by the IGP Pays d’Oc organisation as one of the region’s top ten white country vin de pays d’Oc wines.   Naturally we’re as pleased as punch to see our entry-level wine ranked as Ambassadress of the Pays d’Oc, flying the flag for the wonderful diversity of the region’s country wines.

Talking about flying the flag, Holland’s flagship carrier, KLM,  has selected our blend  Le Limoux for its World Business Class passengers on intercontinental flights.  Never before has this blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc and mauzac taken off to such heights, and we are, well … walking on air. Flying high, in fact, and delighted to see Limoux taking to the skies.

Back on the ground, things are looking very good in the vineyard. The vines powered through flowering, and produced an abundant crop of beautiful berries. Today we saw the very first signs of veraison on the very first vines, when the grapes begin to turn from a hard jade into shades of soft green celadon: from here we count 45 days to the beginning of the harvest. All going well. That puts our earliest start date at 11 September … or thereabouts.

So time to go on holiday, and leave the kids in charge of the vineyard. The Tuesday Tour, Talk & Tutored Tasting will continue unabated, and business goes on as usual … in the capable hands of Jan-Ailbe and Xaxa, flying the flag on the home front.

And flying the flag for holiday fizz in Le Monde newspaper, is our ‘joli’ Blanc de Blancs, news which greatly enlived our weekend breakfast reading. In fact, this is the second time in as many months that Le Monde has recommended one of our wines. If you too are going on holiday, we hope it will also be full of bubbles (and if you are not, then we wish you double bubbles). We’ll be back again after that, unless you click on takemeoff@rives-blanques.com – and in the meantime, wish you bonnes vacances!

July, 2014