Now that it's almost over, we can safely say 2009 will be a very good year as far as its wines go: not just at Rives-Blanques but in Limoux generally; not just in Limoux but in the Languedoc generally; and not just in the Languedoc, but in the whole of France generally. The “Magic 9” is making magic again. And because the year is almost all over, we can also safely say that 2009 has been a very good one for Rives-Blanques as well: in fact, it's been our best year ever, in almost every way: cash flow, incomings, outgoings, on-goings, new products and new prospects. As if by magic, you could almost say.

One of the big high points was this: a blessing from the High Priestess of Wine herself, Jancis Robinson in the pink pages of The Financial Times, and on her website two weeks ago. “One of the most fascinating appellations in France,” she says of Limoux, “ a surprising enclave of interest to anyone seeking French finesse and good value”. So there you have it, in black and white ... err, sorry pink, from the hand of the world's favourite wine critic, renowned and respected far and wide for her perceptive perspective.

But hear this: “By far the most interesting wines there are made by a small group of individuals", Jancis wrote - and the individuals concerned were mightily heartened and encouraged. But when it comes to certain unnamed individuals at Rives-Blanques, well, they are still somewhere up there on Cloud Nine: the whole range of Rives-Blanques wines - dry and sweet, still and sparkling - was highly endorsed by the most famous wine woman on this planet. Including our 'rather delicious oddball Xaxa' ... the wine in this case, not the daughter.

Back to earth, we face yet another Nine: just nine months to go to the 2010 harvest. That concentrates the mind somewhat. What the vines need now is winter rain for next year's grapes; what we need now is cold weather to start the crucially important business of pruning them. (This explains why we are both cold and wet.) And what everyone needs right now is a lot of care and attention spent on the previous crop – presently maturing happily in its barrels, tantalising us with whispered promise - and keeping us on our toes.

We hope that next year will fulfill all its promises for you too. This will be the last Vine Lines of 2009, and it comes to you with our very best wishes for everything good, glad and happy … as well as our sincere hope that when it comes to wine, your Christmas will be white.

(But if in the meantime, you plan to be at Le Grand Tasting organised by France's famous wine-duo, Bettane & Desseauve in the Louvre in Paris this weekend, please do look us up there. Otherwise … we hope to see you next year, unless you resolve to )



November 30, 2009

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