VINE LINES - July 2008

July got off to a flying start with the good news that KLM has again selected our mauzac, the Cuvée Occitania 2007, as its ‘Special Wine’ for its highflying World Business Class passengers – a true flight of fancy in every sense. Mauzac is hardly your ordinary everyday grape variety, and we are honoured and extremely pleased that this is the second year our Cuvée Occitania reaches for the sky with the Dutch national carrier.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane – no, it’s a(n Air)bus, landing on our mauzac field, with a Chinese delegation of pilots, technicians and sundry flight engineers on board. They had been sent to Toulouse to pick up China’s first Airbus and fly it back home next week. These jet-getters spent their day-off at Rives-Blanques ... and that is how the first toast to the first landing of China’s first Airbus was proposed to its first Captain with a Blanquette de Limoux, the first bubbles in the world.

In the meantime, the vines too are taxiing down the runway ready for takeoff. Our Manager, Eric, (a man of few words) has described them as magnifique! (Above all, note the ! for he is also a man of few !!). Our Consultant, the célèbre Georges Pauli, who doubles up as the Directeur-Général of the famous Bordeaux Chateau Gruaud-Larose and knows a thing or two about ‘big years’, says we have the potential of ‘un grand millésime’ on our hands. Irrigation is not allowed here, but Nature ignores the rules and has given us a nice neat average 50 mm of rainfall per month – while coolish weather with a prevailing headwind has put us back on our normal schedule. ETH (estimated time harvest) 15 September.

And now for some news that really matters. True, there was a marvellous 4-page spread about Limoux in general and Rives-Blanques in particular in the July edition of the glossy Dutch wine magazine Perswijn. True too, in Britain this month, The Spectator described our Chardonnay du Domaine as ‘gorgeous’, while the Sommeliers of the UK chose our Blanquette de Limoux as the runner-up sparkler in their Sommelier Wine Awards 2008. But what can compare to Bruno being written up as Top Dog in Decanter magazine? ‘The best nose at Rives-Blanques’, says the best wine magazine, and rightly so. He's also the best receptionist and salesman, and most popular member of staff at Rives-Blanques. Every dog must have his day, and Bruno richly deserves his.

Thursday July 31, 2008

You may be reassured that next month will be Vine Lines-free, and we won’t be back again until the end of September – and even that can be avoided (takemeoff@rives-blanques.com) If in the meantime, the triumphs, trials and tribulations of the 2008 harvest interest you, then please click on "Diary of a Vineyard" on www.rives-blanques.com for the latest update.