Today rights all the wrongs of a month cocooned in gloom and gloam, as we find ourselves ahead of the game: no sign of fungal diseases like mildew and oidium, and the vines' young grape-bearing branches still intact after heavy winds. We've been flat out, mind you, but it's paid off. To top it all, the sun came out … briefly (yesterday, but what a difference a day makes), and we saw the very first signs of the flowering of the vines. What we pray for now is a couple of weeks of good weather, because the equation is succinct, simple and straightforward: no flowering, no grapes. But we are optimistic, for as you can see, everything truly is coming up roses at Rives-Blanques - and not just at the edge of the vines.

France's first and foremost wine publication, La Revue du Vin de France released its verdict on the 2008 harvest today in the June issue, and finds us on our knees in gratitude. Limoux is the best white wine region of the Languedoc, they say, and the Rives-Blanques mauzac CUVÉE OCCITANIA is the best white wine of Limoux. When we first started making OCCITANIA, nobody would even taste it, let alone buy it - and now this little Cinderella has more bespoke slippers than even Imelda ever dreamed of. We are delighted to have made the cut again – for the 9th consecutive vintage, which must be something of a record - and particularly so because this means that CUVÉE OCCITANIA has really come of age. With heartfelt thanks we pass on the editor's comment that this region's wines are so modestly priced that it is impossible to make this kind of quality for less.

So it was our local grape variety, mauzac, that trumped the whole Rives-Blanques pack … but we still have a wild card up our sleeves: a bottle brimful of surprises. If you are looking for in-your-face sweet/sour aromas of quaffable sweaty passionfruit, cats pee, and grass 'n gooseberries, then sauve qui peut, this is not the bottle for you. In fact, the aromatic complexities of this wine made us go right back to the very origins of the word Sauvignon to find a name for it : SAUVAGEON The Wild One, a sauvignon blanc that is an exception to the rule. In every way, in fact, because it also stands well apart from the crowd of other Country Wine Vins de Pays d'Oc (but we couldn't find another name for that). Fermented and aged in oak barrels, SAUVAGEON will be bottled next week, and we're hugely excited about this new wild child that fits so well into the Rives-Blanques range of food-friendly 'gastronomic' wines.

Well, every white wine vineyard must have its ChardonDay, and so this must be ours. This month the 2008 CHARDONNAY DU DOMAINE was commended by the International Wine Challenge, a nice little medal to add to its Silver from the Great Wines of Languedoc Roussillon; while the ‘big' chardonnay, the CUVÉE DE L'ODYSSÉE, commended by Decanter, won Silver medals from the Chardonnay du Monde, the Concours Mondiale de Bruxelles, and the Independent Winegrowers of France, to add to its Bronze from the Great Wines of France.

The weather forecast for next week is very good, and we are keeping our fingers crossed – however, if it's bad, we'll cheer ourselves up with a bottle of mauzac, the vintner's prozac, and report back to you again in a sunny mood this time next month. Unless, of course, you write to



May 31. 2009

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