November in Languedoc
November can be a strange month in Languedoc. Weather is changeable. The wind tests itself, blowing a hooley one day, stroking you the next. But not cold yet. No. That comes later. November is often humid when the Marin comes from the south and brings some dirty weather, grey and grotty.
The vines are not pretty. But you might get lucky and find some bunches left behind after the harvest. They are often right at the bottom of the plants where the machines have missed.
It’s good walking weather, though, and there are plenty of routes to keep the ramblers happy.
Hang on a minute. Didn’t this used to be the Vine Report on Wednesdays?
It did. But the vines are empty now. They’re getting ready to go to sleep. In some vineyards, the growers have already begun the mammoth hand-pruning work.
You can see their white vans when you’re out walking the hills.
However, as promised, my route has taken me not to the great outdoors, but to a selection of venues for wine tasting. So it isn’t the Wednesday Vine report now – it’s the Wine Tasting Report.
There’s a lot of wine tasting to be done in Languedoc. You could spend a lifetime and still have only scratched the surface.
On his 101 Books to Read, writer Robert Bruce is currently reading book #63 on the Times Magazine 100 greatest novels list. His blog is really popular and rightly so. He reviews the books as he reads them, but his most popular posts are the ones where he gets sidetracked a little. Don’t we all get sidetracked? That’s why I call my blog page Random Thoughts.
Robert’s ambition is achievable. You can read 101 books. I don’t know what he’ll do when he’s finished the Times list. Maybe he’ll start another list, but what I’m getting at in my roundabout way is I could never taste all the wines there are sitting waiting for me out there. I could kill myself trying or end up in some rehab clinic. So, my ambition must be achievable.
Wine tasting in my own back yard
This is where I’m starting. It makes sense. Everybody and his aunty makes wine in my neck of the woods, so I won’t have to travel far.
This looks like Happy Land to me.
Himself and a friend enjoy discussing what they like best in a wine.
We’re not experts. We can’t tell you the finer points of winemaking and tasting. But we know what we like and what we would buy to take home and give to our dinner guests.
Languedoc wine has come a long way from the cheap plonk that might have been better on your fish and chips. Some of this stuff is superb. So, we have made it our business to visit Domaines and cooperatives where we haven’t visited already and taste their wines. (Rubs hands with glee.)
Vinopolis in Florensac is five minutes away. Why haven’t we been there before? Don’t people often tend to overlook what is right there on their doorstep? We’d heard about it from friends who use the restaurant there. What a great idea, huh? A lunch time venue where you can get great food and try wine from the cellar before you buy cartons to take home.
We tasted several wines from their fabulous range and because the day was warm we decided to stay with the whites.
One of the biggest surprises for me was their Muscat. This is a wine I usually overlook, having been disappointed before on account of it being too thin and sweet for my taste.
Not so. I loved it. It had much more depth than I was expecting – a really fruity taste that made your whole mouth sing. We bought 6 to take home to give a good old try out.
We also bought their Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc which, as you can see from the lable on the right has won the gold medallion at the Paris nationals.
The Rébus and the bottle of petit grain came from the vigneron at Bessan, one of our favourite places to sample.
And so, there is much to look forward to this coming season. I look forward to posting again.