Vine Lines - April 2009

So much rain fell on Rives-Blanques this month that our plateau was in real danger of slipping its anchor and drifting gently off over the Pyrenees into Spain . April was a pretty wet and cool affair. Carried away by the current, the vines burst into leaf literally overnight, and between the vines, wild flowers and clover fall over themselves in uncontrolled glee. Which is all very well, excepting that weeds quite enjoy these conditions too, and everything that was ploughed so perfectly weed-free will have to be ploughed again. Never a quiet moment, even when it's quiet.

But could you hear the joyful clinking of Cuvée Occitania 2008 being poured like liquid gold into its bottles on the single bright, clear day of the month? It was an omen, a benediction from the gods. This is the only still wine with an appellation label made from 100% mauzac in the world – literally a unique product, and we've been out of stock for a long time. Everyone deserves to have some things go right some of the time, and we think Occitania 2008 has gone very right indeed this time

Whereas our flagship chardonnay, Cuvée de l'Odyssée had a bad moment; something to do with pride before the fall, when it was awarded a mere bronze medal by the 10,000-bottle strong Competition of the Great Wines of France this month. Even if it was the only medal-winning wine from Limoux and one of only 21 white wines from the whole of the Languedoc. So we'll skate over that and concentrate on its little sister, our country wine the Chardonnay du Domaine 2008, which put things right and came home with a silver medal from the Competition of the Great Wines of Languedoc-Roussillon today.

Decanter's April Fool joke that Sarkozy had banned consumption of wine out of doors could almost have been true, so determined are the attempts to wash wine out of our culture. Yet everything that is great and good in human creativity is partnered by wine: take the W-word out of literature, and we're minus the Bible, Shakespeare, Goethe and the whole of Hemmingway to name a few. Put the W-word into an instrument, and what do you get? : “music, the wine that fills the cup of silence”. So we're really pleased and very honoured that self-same wine, the Chardonnay du Domaine, is currently carrying the colours of the famous Bath Festivals of Literature and Music in the UK *....

… and today, just to illustrate how wine and art really do go hand-in-hand, we have a polyglot palette of painters in the vineyard right now, drawing their common inspiration from the vines and everything around them.

Almost forgot to mention that 10% of every bottle bought with the Bath Festival label is contributed to the Festival fund by our importer, the Great Western Wine Company.

And that was the month that was. We'll be back again at the end of May unless you click on

30 April 2009