‘Les Vendanges’ (harvest) will begin remarkably late for us this year, with picking beginning as late as one week from now. Yes we’re enjoying beautiful sunny days in these first few days of September, but the grapes are having a hard time ripening due to 2013’s fairly cool Spring and late Summer. Waiting waiting waiting. Benji’s getting those annual, pre-mens vendanges nerves and I’m keeping food on the table…
But even if the grapes aren’t all sweet and ripe for the picking, there is some ripe fruit to be had… After an evening’s inspection of the vignes (vines), we’ve been tucking into the wild mures (blackberries) out the back!…
It’s Thursday and our turn poker night at our house. The guys were insepcting the labels for a new wine of Benji’s that’s about to be bottled and then got stuck into drinking some others.
I was so excited, Benji put a great bottle of white in the freezer and I left them (wringing my hands in anticipation) in the kitchen as they sat down to play. Half-an-hour later I reminded Benji about his bottle chilling and he held one up and said ‘Oh this one? It’s finished’. My mouth dropped. The scoundrels!
Time to come to the computer and vent some steam.
(I should admit I got to bring a twentieth of a glass of chardonnay with me – so generous of you fellas)
I’d been meaning to put up some long-overdue photos anyway.
So for you, here’s a round-up of the 2012 grape harvest in our little area, the village of La Liviniere, in the Minervois region. In our village alone, of approxiamtely 600 people, there are 16 vignerons (winemakers/vineyard owners producing their own brand) and about 150 viticulturalists processing their grapes with the local Cave Co-operative.
It’s been a good harvest and people seem pretty happy about what they’ve picked – despite the kaleidoscope of weather. Essentially, we had good rain, good sun, good wind and the vineyard owners and vignerons are happy to see their babies off the vines and in the tanks.
Gone for the moment the need to check on the weather patterns 24/7 and the worries of the wiles of Nature , it’s now time to work inside the cellars and nurture the juice.
While the viticulteurs take it easier, the vignerons need to keep up a a seven day working week. It is now that crucial decisions, with their accompanying stress, need to be made regarding the precious juice and its management and development.
However, I can say that the general climate in our house is now pleasantly mild with fewer storms brewing on the front .
It’s so warm here right now and after all the rain we had in the last couple of weeks –
– the landscape has switched into overdrive with growth and colour. The vineyards are looking very happy with their new leaves and once again, as far as the eye can see in the Minervois, the vision is GREEN!
‘I love this time of year!’ I can hear Benjamin saying this at least 100 times a Spring – for the last 15 Springs. Like I’ve said, it’s quite something to experience the onset of Spring in France. So much excitement and promise after all that cold! Such a contrast – something I never fully appreciated in Adelaide’s mild climate.
Yes, Spring has well and truly sprung and I want to share some of the sights around here with you.