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

If this page is a blank, please click here


Here you see what Galileo's equation is all about: wine = liquid sunshine. Now we just have to add it all up. The harvest of 2011 is over. Short and sharp, it was the most compact and condensed anyone can remember on our plateau. Eclectic, electric, confusing, we were kept on our toes all the way from the full moon in September up to the new moon. In all, only two weeks. But what an extraordinary two weeks.


A torrential downpour of monsoonic magnitude in early September threw a real spanner in the works. Another half-day mini-monsoon two weeks later drove the nail in. What had originally been sauntering in as a smiling, blameless, utterly pefect vendange suddenly turned temperamental and troublesome. We were pushed to the limit, watching our fields like a hawk, changing our plans on the run, and then pouncing in on the grapes when the moment was ripe. Day and night, night and day.


It has to be said, we have never seen grapes more beautiful than the mauzac rolling into the wine-press for Occitania. The Odyssée field surprised us all by going into overdrive. It will deliver a rich and powerful Odyssée reminiscent of 2004. And the chenin blanc did a Goldilocks act on us, presenting grapes that were under-done, over-done and just right - all on the same bunch. We redoubled the hand-sorting both in the field and on the sorting table, and ironically, the chenin blanc Dédicace may turn out to be the most interesting wine of the year.

So that's that. All the wines are alive and well, fermenting happily intheir barrels. More and more of them are being powered by natural yeasts from the vineyard that cling to the skins of the grapes, instead of commercial yeasts. The winery is loud with the chattering and gossiping of the barrels. If you click on this picture and turn the volume up high, you may hear some of the stories they have to tell. Stories of a harvest that can be described by one word only: extraordinary.

Our Dutch friends might be interested to know that Rives-Blanques won the competition for two of the three official white wines of the Embassy in Paris - and also, unhampered by being a Crémant de Limoux, our pink fizz Vintage Rose, was one of the two winning 'Champagnes'.

We will be back with more news when we've got our wits together again, though if you would prefer not, please just click on to be permanently released

October 5 , 2011