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

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We’ve had a lot of the wrong kind of right weather recently: a seamless stream of uniformly brilliant sunlit days and clear skies right through the month of March and into April. In a word, pure perfection. But the trouble is, we we want rain. Lots of it. So far less than half of what we need has fallen, and people are already talking of an impending drought. On the sunny side, so to speak, all this mindlessly magnificent weather means we were able to address all 96,800 of our vines, one by one, hand by hand, and today the very last vine stands tied to its very last wire, ready to face come what may. And with July spreading itself all over our plateau in March, ‘come what may’ may be coming at us rather sooner than we had thought. The vines are all in bud, and if this goes on, they’ll be leafing and flowering before we know it.


This brand-new chardonnay bud heralds the beginning of the 2012 vintage, trumpeting this news with exquisite timing, just as we finish blending the 2011 chardonnay. Rain or shine, drought or no drought, at least Odyssée is back on tap again. To complete the celebration, we get the good, glad news at exactly the same time that our 2010 chardonnay, Odyssée, has won the gold medal of the Chardonnay du Monde competition. Every vineyard must have its ChardonDay, and this was ours: three generations of good news wrapped up in a single bud.


Chardonnay is the flavour of the month, not just at Rives-Blanques, but in Limoux. Its wine Co-Operative’s famous Toques & Clochers auction of chardonnay (the most important in France after the Hospices de Beaune) clocked up 8,800 euro for a single barrel last Sunday, with the average price hovering around the 5,200 euro mark. Being (resolutely) independent producers who grow, make and bottle their own wine, we do not sell our grapes to the Co-Operative for this or any of their wines, but that does not stop us from applauding this resounding success that spreads the good word about Limoux's chardonnay ....


After a spell of ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), we welcome the age of BBC (Bring Back Chardonnay), and are proud indeed to see ours dressed in the livery of the famous two-Michelin-star restaurant, Midsummer House in
Cambridge.    This un-oaked chardonnay (with a touch of
chenin) will be bottled as their house wine next week: a
wonderful moment in the life of the Rives-Blanques Country

On that happy note, just one last word about chardonnay: a witty and wonderful review on the Rives-Blanques chardonnay blended with chenin blanc and mauzac in last weekend's Volkskrant ... too bad for most of us it's in Dutch!

We will be back with more news, though if you would prefer not, please just click on to be permanently released

April 4 , 2012