Category Archives: Languedoc

Languedoc Vine Report. March 13th

The Languedoc Vine Report began last year on April 3rd. Here’s the first photo I posted. It shows the vineyards near my home where I selected the one particular vine I photographed throughout the year.

Languedoc wine village

vineyards near my home

Mademoiselle Merlot turned out very nicely. We followed her growth right up to harvest and very tasty she is too.

This year spring arrived so early here in Languedoc we’ve all been taken by surprise.

We had a short cold spell before Christmas and it’s been mild ever since.

Languedoc spring

blue skies and pruned vines

Work is well under way in the vineyards across the village.

irrigation for vines

new irrigation system in the Chardonnay vineyard

The other vineyard we followed closely last year was the Chardonnay field. The other day, I saw this new irrigation channel being dug all around.

Do the growers know something we don’t?

Is this summer going to be one of those where we hit 40 degrees plus?

We’ve been very dry already through this early part of the year. Normally, as the weather warms, we go through what I call the transition period between cold and warm weather where we get a lot of rain. That hasn’t happened. We’ve gone straight into warm. We’re all wondering when the rain is going to come.

Languedoc vineyard

watering system

When I went back a few days later, the trough was filled in and the watering system already in place. Elsewhere in the vines, spring weather makes for pleasant work. I’m going to keep my eye on this newly ploughed area to see what is planted.

Languedoc new vineyard

I wonder what’s going in here?

In another area they are replacing the wire supports.

Rolls of wire are trucked into the vineyards; those cute little tractors ferry the materials to where they’re needed. The guy in the cab has his coat on, but the temperature reached 25 degrees in the shade that day. I know because we had our lunch outdoors on our little terrace.

Languedoc terrace in March

lunch outdoors in March

In the sun, of course, the temperature goes off the scale. Here’s what we recorded.

40degrees

fantastic for early March

 

 

 

Languedoc vineyard

cute tractor, huh?

new wires for Languedoc vines

gotta keep your vines supported.

As a rule, this post goes out on Wednesdays. It’s the Wednesday Vine Report. Regular readers will be aware I was knocked down by a car in December and I’m still recovering from injuries I sustained. So, the report is late. It won’t be every week until I’m better able to handle my camera.

Thank you for your kind messages on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m still hanging in there!

Even though the physiotherapy is agony!!!

At least, I can still lift a glass with my good arm.

Languedoc aperitif

Noilly Pratt made in Languedoc

Cheers!

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Languedoc in February

February is the month we bought our home in Languedoc. I had arrived to finalise the purchase wearing boots and thick woollens and needed to peel off layers of clothing in the Languedoc winter sunshine. I admit to feeling smug. We thought winters were always going to be warm and sunny. What a fantastic life in the sun. Each February since then has brought frost and even a bit of snow.

Languedoc snow in February

just to prove we can get snow in the south of France

EDF always save Red Days for February so they can make the most profits out of us as we snuggle up by the log fire. Red Days, you remember are when electricity costs nearly ten times as much as Blue Days.

This year we were prepared for another February cold snap. We had logs up to the eaves. We had gas bottles aplenty. We had a freezer full of ready-prepared meals to save on cooking.

And then the sun came out . . .

And so did the flowers . . .

Languedoc Magnolia in February 2014

what a sight!

February 2014 has been the kind of south of France winter everybody dreams of.

Mimosa is earlier than ever.

February Mimosa

Roquebrun in February

Japonica is in blossom everywhere.

Languedoc Japonica

It makes a stunning contrast with the yellow Mimosa.

One week after the Roquebrun Mimosa festival, we went back to walk by the river without my having to worry about hordes of people banging into my painful arm.

At the restaurant Le Petit Nice we had dish of the day. We make a rule to have dish of the day whatever it is. That way you try things you might not normally choose. So, we had sanglier, wild pig, and very nice it was too marinaded in garlic and thyme and bay. We sat outside on the terrace overlooking the River Orb.

February Languedoc lunch

view from Le petit Nice

After lunch, a walk by the river and look what we found –

 

Roquebrun oranges

ready to eat

The mineral rich soil in Roquebrun benefits from the village’s unique position and stays warm. In potager gardens along the river lettuces are growing abundantly in the shelter of the rocky mountains.

Languedoc February mountains

keeping out the winter

I simply love this place!

We found a spot where the river was still; the reflections were superb. You can barely discern where the reflection begins.

Orb reflections

 I think the best time to see reflections like this is before the trees are in full leaf.

But look at this! Last year I posted on March 14th about the early blossom. It’s earlier still this year. Here are the same trees –

Languedoc blossomYes, Languedoc is a good place to be in February.

Mimosa Festival at Roquebrun.

Roquebrun Mimosa

spring in Languedoc

 

Roquebrun holds the Mimosa festival each year on the second Sunday in February. This year the weather was perfect and the crowds turned out for a day in Hérault’s spectacular winter sunshine.

Roquebrun Mimosa

sweet scented Mimosa

The mountain village of Roquebrun enjoys its own unique climate. Sheltered from the worst of winter winds, the village nestles in a picturesque valley by the river Orb and is a tourist attraction for walkers, picnickers and canoeists all year round.

Mimosa flowers in February when the air is filled with its sweet perfume. At the Mimosa festival, you can buy a bunch to take home, but don’t leave before you’ve tasted the local wines or visited the Mediterranean garden centre which clings to the rock face above the village.

Roquebrun

February in Roquebrun

In the afternoon, the parade of decorated floats takes place and children in fancy dress take part in the following procession. People with broken arms (yours truly) are advised to keep away from the crush and let someone else take the photographs.

mimosa festival

competition for best decorated float is wicked!

Himself handles a camera very well from time to time, but I find I need to be specific about the kind of photographs I like to use in my website posts. As soon as my back is turned, he finds something he likes better and i’m sure to find pictures of his favourite things when I look through.

Like this one.

 

Harley at the Mimosa festival

on himself’s wish list

Bikers love the twisting climbs through Hérault’s river gorges. I get just as much of a thrill standing still and looking at it!

mountain road

stunning scenery

Who wouldn’t feel great after days of grey winter weather getting outdoors into pleasantly warm February sunshine and breathing in all that clean mountain air?

Colour comes back into your life with springtime Mimosa and new almond blossom. So just to please his old lady with the sad arm and wrist, himself took a lovely closeup. The boy done good.

 

February blossom in Roquebrun

more signs of spring

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Till next time. Broken bones permitting . . .

TROBAIRITZ. Who were they?

Trobairitz

Trobairitz songs were called cansos

Trobairitz were troubadours. Female troubadours. They sang songs and poems about love, tradition and current affairs. Their songs were called cansos. Their language was Occitan – the language that gave its name to the region of southern France where they lived and worked.

Langue means language.

Langue d’Occitan became Languedoc

The region of Languedoc stretches across southern France from west to east.

This where the Trobairitz came from.  This is the area they covered when they travelled in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Not much is known about them. Very few of their songs remain.

Trobairitz Azalais de Porciragues

Azalais came from Portiragnes

Azalais de Porciragues lived in the twelfth century. Her home town is called Portiragnes now and is a popular beach resort in the summer.

Women like Azalais were strong and independent. It’s thought they must have had their own means to support their lifestyles.

This is where I live. The departments might have slightly different names now, but the rivers are all in the same place and the mountains funnel the winds as they always did.

land of the Trobairitz

land of the Trobairitz

Languedoc is a land of tradition and superstition. Its people love the Arts: it’s in their genes. This is where I’m writing about a twenty first century Trobairitz. She has stories to tell. About love, tradition and current affairs. Her name is Weed. Like the Trobairitz of old, she’s strong and independent. She has her own means to support her lifestyle. She travels the land of the troubadours in her truck. She tells her stories at an overnight truck stop.

 

Edit: Book One – Trobairitz – the Storyteller is available on Amazon from Friday 28th November 2014.