February judiciously dished out even-handed portions of the good with the bad, just to stop us from becoming complacent,
and also gave us a new word of the month to think about: “mulct” ...

But it started brilliantly, with a five course dinner designed by Michelin-star chef Alex Clevers and his Bocuse-finalist sous-chef, around our white wines at the Vivendum restaurant in Belgium . Two nights were sold out within 24 hours, so a third sitting was tagged on: three times the same five-course menu, three times the same five white wines, and three times perfection! (You can never have too much of a good thing.) Not even the most die-hard red wine drinkers called for a glass of red, and declared themselves completely converted. It was almost too easy.
(The award-winning French wine magazine
Terre de Vins also champions the cause with a showcase of white wines selected by the famous duo, Bettane & Desseauve for its latest edition ... and, we are proud to say, it includes the our chenin blanc, Dédicace.)

February also found us in very good company with 1600 other fellow wine-producers at Vinisud, the huge wine fair of the Mediterranean, which opened its doors and its heart to over 33,000 buyers last week. There was a real feeling of energy, action and interest, long lacking from previous editions, which got us up on our feet, and put a smile on our faces. Could this be the turn-around for Languedoc wines (unless that mulct factor gets in the way)? The next big trade fair, less than three weeks away, will tell: please cheer up our day and come and see us in Dusseldorf at ProWein, Hall 5 D 100. Or if not you, then anyone you think may like to know our wines.

Mad, glad, and very nice to know: Vinifilles rocked into action this month, and what a pert, pertinent and impudent bunch of fun-loving party-going, hard-working, driven and dedicated female Languedoc winegrowers they are! You can see the best and the worst of them partying if you click on this picture, and close inspection will show the faces behind some very famous wine labels amongst them. The aim of Vinifilles is to help women thrive and survive in the world of wine - which itself could do with all the protection and promotion it can get, right from the bottom of the vine to the top of the wine … No apologies for the quality of the film: it was a great night! For a more sober view on the aims and the people involved:

We finish on a sober note ourselves, with that word ‘mulct': both a noun and a verb, meaning ‘to punish with a fine' as well as ‘to swindle ' or ‘fraudulent' – take your pick, they all apply. The Case of the False Pinot came to some sort of conclusion this month, when a handful of producers and dealers, including Limoux's respected Co-Operative Sieur d'Arques, were fined and/or given suspended sentences for selling twice as much pinot as is grown in the Languedoc, largely to E&J Gallo. Mulct all round. It was the French themselves who uncovered this fraud and followed it over 12 months to its conclusion; the consumer was happy enough with his glass of Red Bicyclette Pays d'Oc so-called pinot noir. The coming months will tell if this is going to blow up, blow out or blow over, but one thing is for sure: for the small, independent, quality-driven vineyards labouring in the shadow of the big corporations, this whole affair is not happy news at all



We hope for better and brighter things next month, unless, that is, you have already been thoroughly persuaded to

Sunday 28 February 2010

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