Vine Lines - February 2009

The events of this month fall neatly into one of three categories: the good, the bad and the indiffent. Indifferent indeed was the weather - which is to say it was good: a bit of this, a bit of that, and cool overall, allowing us to get out, get on, and get done. The vines are pruned, the cuttings from the pruned vines have been chopped up to be recycled back into the soil, the arms of the vines are being tied down to support and secure them. We're wonderfully on time and on top of it all this year.

Definitely in the ‘good' category is the March issue of the American Wine Enthusiast, which has elected our chardonnay, Cuvée de l'Odyssée as its ‘Best Buy' of the month. (A credit crunch punch at its rival Wine Spectator, still mistakenly listing all our AOC Limoux wines at $145.00). Closer to home, Drinks International honoured the Rives-Blanques chenin, Dédicace with four stars – the only white wine of the Languedoc from ‘an elite group of producers' to be included. The respected French Guide des Vins Gilbert & Gaillard leads the pack with its 2010 edition – bilingual to boot – and features the three wines we submitted: a great combination of “terroir and savoir faire” they said in French and in English (with nothing lost in translation).

You can tick one, possibly two, of the boxes for the 10-week long Limoux Carnival, which came to a crescendo this month and will finally peter out at the Nuit de la Blanquette in two weeks time. This early 16th century institution has yet again proven itself to be as sprightly and bubbly as the Blanquette partnering it, no matter what - and there has been a lot of 'what' around. Enigmatic and paradoxical at the best of times, one wonders what thoughts were running behind those ambiguous masks when Limoux was hit by news bad enough to knock the whole carnival and all who sail in it Sideways.



The world at large knows by now that the French Fraud Police is investigating a deal whereby twice as much pinot noir Vin de Pays d'Oc was sold to Gallo & Gallo in the USA as there are corresponding vines. In short, it doesn't add up. The supplier of this ‘black' pinot is Limoux's powerful and respected Wine Cooperative. Sieur d'Arques is to Limoux rather like Coca Cola is to Atlanta, so there is a burning interest to know exactly who the duper is, and who the duped. Which is not at all clear. The Fraud Police will make their pronouncement early next month, opening the way for Languedoc's Vin de Pays d'Oc organisation to step in and sue for defamation of character of the region's country wines.

There's no question which box to tick for all that. None of this has anything at all to do with Rives-Blanques, but it's true that it throws a shadow over the region as a whole. Our own thoughts right now are centred on Dusseldorf, where we will be exhibiting at Germany 's mega- maxi- international wine fest, ProWein next month. There will be rosés and reds as well as well as our usual whites, thanks to our friends from Domaine de Calet (Costières de Nimes) and Chateau Saint Jacques d'Albas (Minervois) who will be sharing stand C 60 in Hall 5 with us. If you are going, or anyone you know who might be interested in tasting our wines, then please do come and brighten our day ...

And if we survive all that weining und dining, we'll be back again after that with more news this time next month… unless you say: no! please

February 28, 2009