September has been, and is, a very long month. For us, it started with the full moon, and it ends with the full moon again, in October. In between, it has dished out irrational - actually, unreasonable - portions of beautiful, bright blue benevolence … with equal parts of skittish, stubborn selfishness on the side. We find ourselves repeating what we have said before in previous years : this harvest was fantastic, fabulous – and quite unlike any other before it.

Not a single drop of rain fell on our parade - the weather was wall-to-wall wonderful. And so too the grapes, bouncing down the sorting table like perfectly formed marbles of emerald and jade – and not a single rotten apple amongst them, so to speak. The harvesting team was probably the best we've ever had: a happy, cooperative, hard-working, polyglot bunch. It was almost too good to be true, as we kept telling each other, and if you look deep into a Rives-Blanques 2009 wine, you will surely find all this there: pure perfection in a bottle.

But it wasn't all sunshine, although some might say there was perhaps even a bit too much of that: suddenly two remaining fields of chenin and sauvignon simply stopped developing in the way they should. So instead of frolicking joyfully down the homeward stretch today as planned, we find ourselves sitting and waiting. And hoping to finish the harvest next week, if Nature allows. She's already condemned us to a much lower yield than expected - mark these words, there will be a real shortage of Languedoc whites - so we're not counting our grapes before they're picked.

In fact, we've learned to not count them even then. Not since our state-of-the-art high-tech winepress threw a real spanner in the works by breaking down. With 6 tons of our most precious hand-picked low-yield chardonnay in it. And no replacement parts within a radius of 800 km and 48 hours. The solution was to shoot ourselves ... or to get into this cutting-edge winepress and press the grapes with our very own feet. So we thank our lucky stars for the good neighbour who gave us the lifeline of a lifetime, by lending the vital piece in an operation as delicate as a heart-transplant. And that is why the 2009 Dedicace will be dedicated to Le Bon Voisin, with our heartfelt thanks.

In the meantime, that self-same chardonnay Cuvée de l'Odyssée continues its unbroken record (excepting, curiously, for the 2005 vintage, our biggest-ever gold-medalist), and has been selected yet again by the famous French wine Bible, the Guide Hachette. The 2006 appears in the new 2010 edition with a star, and “an invitation to a voyage to the snow-capped peaks of Rives-Blanques.” Well, why not? You are very welcome. Come to think of it, we could do with some extra hands next week, when we harvest the remains of this month …

So it's been a September unlike any other at Rives-Blanques: exciting, exhilarating and exhausting. We're ready to put ourselves – and the winepress – to bed, but we'll wake up in time to be back again this time next month …unless you click on



September 30 . 2009