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

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What our grapes need is a bit of that pedal power, so keenly and closely felt in Limoux when the Tour de France wheeled in and out of town earlier this month. Instead, they have been idling, dawdling, dragging their heels and promising us a harvest that may start considerably later than last year. But no complaints: they look healthy, plentiful and full of promise. It is just that they have not been going very far very fast.  But on a day like today, with the sun shining, the mountains smiling, and a hard blue sky of cyanic ceramic baking overhead,  you can positively hear them growing.  Like the wild flowers that have been spreading like wildfire throughout the vineyard.

Biodiversity is indeed the name of the game, and here is how we play it. Strapped to the tree is an infra-red motion-activated camera, which switches on at the drop of a hat or the breath of a bat, and records all the wild life moving between our woods and the vines. This information will help the Chamber of Agriculture analyse the effects of viticulture on biodiversity, as part of the European-financed BioDiVine programme.  We are one of their very enthusiastic  working partners, pleased and proud to be an active player in this project.


Pleased and proud, too, to be a part of the Vinifilles (Caryl, that is), Languedoc's association of female winegrowers, who aid, abet, and egg each other on to conserve, preserve and promote the region's culture of hand-crafted wines. Nineteen women proud to be vigneronnes, nineteen vigneronnes proud to be Vinifilles, nineteen Vinifilles bursting with enthusiasm, energy and esprit de corps. In short, eighteen good reasons for the nineteenth to dedicate our just-bottled chenin blanc Dédicace 2011 to them.

At the same time,  Dédicace 2010 comes on the market this month with a dedication to Georges Pauli, the famous Chateau Gruaud Larose director, who has been our friend, counsellor, conciliator, and consultant for nearly a decade: maestro, magician and master of the art of blending great wines, he richly deserves our sincere thanks.


It’s not magic, though lots of people call it the Magic Mountain:  not only because its oldest layers are at the top and its youngest at the bottom, but because aliens are said to be living in it. And there is hidden treasure in it.  And possibly the Holy Grail as well.  And also because it is a UFO service centre.  Naturally.

It is called Bugarach, and it is less than 40 km from us as the crow – or UFO -  flies, in a straight line between Rives-Blanques the vineyard and Rives Blanques the Pyrenees peak after which the vineyard is named.


Many New Agers, gurus, and messianic groups believe the only safe place on earth when the present Mayan Age ends on 21 December 2012, will be Bugarach. Its normal population of 200 is expected to swell to 100,000 – and all who are there then will be transported to the safety of another world by the mountain’s resident, and presumably friendly,  aliens.


This probably calls for a bin end/world end sale of our Blanquette de Limoux  on 20 December, to see out the old world with the world’s oldest sparkling wine.  (The same Blanquette, by the way, so full of bubble and bounce in the UK's Telegraph last Sunday.) But we will be back before then, with the more serious news of the harvest, in our next Vine Lines. Jan jr. will be manning the office until mid-August while his parents take a pre-harvest break, and he will welcome your calls and visits.


29 July 2012

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