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

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There's something interesting going on in the vineyard. Look at these pictures of the same vine taken at the same time this year and last year : late last month, the grapes were about three weeks ahead of themselves. Today they are almost back to normal. Why ? The most convincing theory is that they are unusually abundant and beautiful this year, and the vines have slowed down in order to nuture and nurse them through the onset of ripening. And magnficent they are too, hanging happily like freshly washed laundry. So we're doing a quick recalculation and are placing bets for an early September start to the harvest...

Nothing fishy going on in the vineyard though. This month an inspector called, doing a surprise spot-check on some randomly chosen Limoux vineyards. He counted the number of vines per hectare, the number of grapes per vines, the way the vines were pruned, everything in short to make sure there was nothing untoward going on. The Inspector himself will be spot-checked by an even higher authority, to make sure there's nothing untoward about him either. A South African winemaker with us at the time looked on in open-mouthed amazement. <

Well, no sooner had we got used to calling ourselves a Grand Cru vineyard, than we had to clamber down and eat humble pie again. It's official : the brand-new elite classification of the top 9 Languedoc appellations including the white wines from Limoux, has been declassified by the overriding inspection body, the INAO. For the time being, that is.

Ah well, what's in a name ? Quite alot, when it comes to our chenin blanc, Dédicace, which we dedicate every year to someone really special. The 2010 was bottled late May to the acclaim of La Revue du Vin de France which listed it as one of the six 'Exceptional Successes' of Languedoc white wines. So we are doubly pleased that the dedication on its label is to Georges Pauli, of Chateau Gruaud Larose fame, our agronomist/oenologist Consultant and friend who has seen us through thick and thin for nearly a decade. (Seen here on the right, inspecting the vines).

We will be spending the first two weeks of August in Ireland, sailing Blanquette, a dingy of the Ette class fueled by fizz – but the office will be helmed by Céline who will be happy to help you. And then the harvest will be upon us before we know it. Here, to finish off, is a graphic illustration of how time flies ...







No apologies for this vine-centric Vine Lines; it is all we can think about at the moment. We will try to do better this time next month, unless of course you click on to be released

July 19 , 2011