A regular newsletter on the wines, vines and times at Rives-Blanques

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This has already been a momentous year, even though it has hardly started.  Yet the blaze of brilliant sunsets splashed across our horizon nearly every day this month surely portends a beautiful and better tomorrow - which is what we wish you.



Well, the good news is, our Pays d'Oc est arrivé! Yes, the chardonnay-chenin blanc is back on tap. We have been sold out of it ever since last summer, and a cellar without its easy-going, happy-go-lucky, clean, fresh and refreshing everyday wine is like … well, like a pub with no beer. We bottled it only last week, and it's come out like a good New Year's resolution properly fulfilled – and promising great things to come in the rest of our 2014 wines (still slumbering in their barrels).




Our sparkling Blanquette de Limoux has also started 2015 on the right foot. We have just released our 2012 vintage of the world's oldest fizz, and for reasons best known to itself, it is a zero brut 100% mauzac this time. When we blended the base wine at the end of 2012, it told us in no uncertain terms it wanted to be a pure, unadulterated mauzac: unblended and untouched by chardonnay or chenin blanc, please. Then after its second fermentation in the bottle and a long two-year lie-in on the lees, we tasted it for the dosage before letting it loose on the world. Again, the message was clear: don't mess with me. So it has zero sugar - and we like it very much. We trust you will too...



In the vineyard, we are practicing Zen and the art of patient pruning, the essential, not-to-be underestimated foundation of vintage 2015. It is a tough job meticulously done, vine by vine, row by row: backbreaking work for anyone, but more so if you are over 2 m. tall.

Which is why Jan-Ailbe insists that this year's plantings will be trellised 25 cm higher…





And then we have some sad news. Rives-Blanques has lost its best salesman ever: Bruno, the 17 year-old Springer Spaniel who charmed every visitor to our tasting room with his winning smile, has died. He was immortalised on Decanter's inside-back-cover as one of its Top Dogs (“the best nose”), but it was a customer who had the last word: she wrote in our guest book, "I love your wines. But I love Bruno more".




If you are a wine professional going to Montpellier for Millesime Bio this week, we hope to see you at a couple of 'offs' on Sunday night: one is the stellar Vinifilles tasting hosted by Languedoc's female winegrowers and the region's top 13 Michelin*Chefs, and the other is that maverick bunch of vintners called the Outsiders, who have come to the region from elsewhere to make their wines. (No prizes for guessing who at Rives-Blanques is the Vinifille and who's the Maverick …) If not, then we hope to see you at some other up-coming wine tastings, which are listed here.

Assuming you don't leave us by clicking on, we look forward to being in touch with you again shortly in the future.

Until then, best wishes from