Languedoc Vine Report #17 July 24th

Summer storms build quickly here in Languedoc. Yesterday’s forecast map looked like this:

Languedoc weather

weather map

Storms all over the place. Worse, the dreaded G means grêle which is hail. You remember Master of Wine, Juliet Bruce Jones listed hail as a wine grower’s worst nightmare at this time of year. Languedoc summer storms may be short but they can be very violent. Hail stones are sometimes enormous.The resulting damage to fruits on the vine doesn’t bear thinking about.

Incidentally, you’ll notice from the map that Tuesday was the day of St Brigitte. This is the St Brigitte of Sweden (there’s another Irish St Brigitte of Kildare). I mention this because I’m a writer and these things interest me. St Brigitte of Sweden was the only woman ever to found a religious Order. I’m tempted to make a bad joke about Hail Marys, but I better not.

Back to the weather forecast. The worst of it is further north. It appears that here in Languedoc we’ll be spared. However, the blue sky has temporarily abandoned us and the humidity has shot up again. They’ll have to keep spraying.

Languedoc grey skies

misty grey skies over the vineyards

Close up, though, things are beginning to happen. Here’s our Mademoiselle Merlot:

Languedoc Merlot

the beginnings of change

The grapes look less vivid green than two weeks ago.

By chance, I met with another wine growing friend who I hadn’t seen for a while. He suggested I have a look at his vines further up the hill. He’s the only grower in our community who grows a variety called Alicante. He told me they are always the first to redden. Robert has offered to take part in my Vine Report posts and I look forward to learning more and passing it on here.

In the meantime, here’s a photograph taken yesterday of his Alicante grapes just beginning to turn.

Languedoc Alicante grapes

turning red

Eventually these grapes will be deepest purple. I had no idea they did that! I thought they were born purple. That just goes to show how much of an amateur I am. But, you know, that word amateur doesn’t necessarily have derogatory undertones. Doesn’t it come from French lover of and before that from Latin?

So, it’s perfectly okay to be a wine amateur and write a Wednesday Languedoc Vine Report just because you love the stuff and get such a kick out of watching it grow.

Join me next Wednesday for report number 18.


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