Tag Archives: Languedoc

Languedoc Vine Report# 24. September 18th

Last week I reported the Languedoc grape harvest was under way. The vendange has continued with picking at night. By first light, most growers were taking the last load of the day to the cooperative.

On one of my early morning outings, I found a local grower with an older harvesting machine, bringing in the last of his Sauvignon Blanc. The sun was up. I guessed he had a later slot at the weighing station. The driver was well prepared for hot Languedoc sun. His borrowed parasol made me smile.

Languedoc Sauvignon Blanc

with a parasol!

Here he is getting ready to turn into the next row. Cute, huh? I mean the parasol. Then he offloads into the waiting trailer.

So, we had a few days of business in the vineyards, the noise of the harvesting machines waking me at silly o’clock and then . . . nothing. It all went very quiet.

Languedoc vineyards

not a harvesting machine in sight.

Silence in the Languedoc vineyards

What was happening? I spoke to people in the know.

Yes, they said, it’s back to the waiting game. The reds are still not ready.

But what about the ones I saw going into the cooperative last week?

Probably Pinot Noir. Not a lot of it grown in Languedoc, but nothing else is ready to pick.

Here’s proof. Here’s our Mademoiselle Merlot. If they don’t pick her soon, won’t she turn into an old maid?

Languedoc Merlot

lady in waiting

So, we wait. And the cooperative stands idle. And the vineyards are quiet again.

Meanwhile, in Montpellier, scientists headquartered at INRA have been examining cells in grapes in attempts to discover where tannins come from.

The source is the tannosome, a previously undiscovered organism that is found in most plants. Up until now, no one knew exactly where tannins are made. Scientists could view them under a microscope stored in plant cells, but couldn’t work out how they got there.

However, techniques were employed to re-examine the cells, discovering that the organelles (smaller bodies within the cells) are the source of tannins.
One of the researchers, Geneviève Conéjéro, said that tannins “give a feeling of pungency in the mouth, the feel of a cat’s tongue licking your hand.”

So, now we know. Next time you get that cat’s tongue feeling, you can impress your friends and say,

Ah, that’s the tannosome effect.

Well, all that’s very interesting, but what can you do when you’re writing a Languedoc Vine Report and there’s no harvesting to film?

You can harvest something yourself.

Languedoc figs

what’s himself got his eye on?

There’s something interesting in that hedgerow.

And we’ve got shopping bags in the back of the car.

Hmmm.

Himself investigates.

Figs grow wild

figs growing wild

Aha! says he. There’s probably enough here to make something with.

I’ve never made fig jam before, but it can’t be that difficult can it?

He set to work. It helps being over 6ft tall when it comes to tasks like this.

fig harvesting

filling up a crate

They take some finding, these little free beauties. They hide under the leaves and it’s not until you get right in there you can see where they are.

figs hiding

ripe figs

The boy done good. There’s enough here to make a good few pots of jam.

Languedoc figs

how many jars of jam?

I looked online for a recipe. The figs went in the pot.

figs in the jam pot

smelling good already

Add sugar and lemon juice. How easy is that?

A nice loaf of Alien Bread fresh from the machine and – breakfast is ready!

Alien bread and fig jam

Yum!

Join me next week for more news on the late Languedoc grape harvest 2013.

And please write me if there’s something you’d like to know. I’ll do my best to get an answer for you.

Cheers!

 

 

 

Languedoc Vine Report #23 September 11th

The Languedoc vendange has begun. They started bringing in some of the whites last weekend. In the darkness of the early hours, the vineyards are alive with lights and noise. They’re harvesting at night as this is when sugar levels are most stable. Cool fruit means better control over the fermentation process.

Languedoc Domaine

this way to one of our favourite wines

One of our favourite Domaines always picks at night. Here’s a video from Domaine de La Baume whose Viognier regularly wins prizes.

Video-La-Baume-51.html

La Baume was one of the first to pick the grapes entirely at night and to adopt and master micro-oxygenation to preserve the freshness and fruitiness for several years. Their oenologists have a unique approach to vine-growing, carefully managing the size and leaf surface area to maximise the beneficial effects of the Languedoc sun. Their wine-making process aims to reveal the aromas of the grapes with a minimum of intervention. The wines have the distinctive taste of the terroir that they handle with care.

We often take visitors to a wine tasting at La Baume. Nobody has ever been disappointed.

News from the devastated vineyards around Bordeaux

Some wine growers lost up to 80% of their harvest this year due to hailstorms.

Bordeaux vines

ravaged vines in Bordeaux

Enormous hail stones ripped the vines to shreds as you can see from the photo above.

According to Helen Tate of Cult Wines, the authorities have agreed a notion to allow Bordeaux wine producers to bend the rules a little and buy in bulk wines. They are supposed to source extra AOC wine from the same appellation.

Ah, but, I live in Languedoc where the wine is not of the same appellation. So why is it I have seen tankers with Bordeaux registration plates coming to our local Vignerons to fill up?

buying bulk from Languedoc

buying in bulk from Languedoc

You can make your own minds up about that one.

Weather has been changeable since last week’s report. On Saturday, the heavens opened. The sky looked like the end of days and rain lashed us for a good 12 hours. I went out afterwards to see how our Merlot was faring.

Languedoc Merlot

luscious

Now these vines look ready. We watched the forecasts and kept looking at the sky. In the distance, the peaks of the Pyrenees loomed like malevolent shadows.

Languedoc Pyrenees

distant shadows

Over the Montagnes Noir, more storm clouds were gathering.

Languedoc storm clouds

more rain on the way?

 

 

Fortunately, the storms passed us by. The sun came out again.

And then, this morning, lo and behold! They’re bringing in the reds! Yay! I dashed to the vigneron to see what was happening.

trailer weighing

getting the weight ticket

Each trailer is first weighed empty. The wine grower gets his ticket and drives to his vineyard to meet the harvesting machines.

When he returns with his loaded trailer, he is weighed again and his account credited.

The trailer backs up to the loading chutes. The tailgate opens and, voilà! The 2013 harvest has begun.

tipping the grapes

here they come!

Time to sort the good bits from the waste.

Soon, the village will have that yeasty smell in the air. I can’t wait!

Languedoc harvest

 Next week, I hope to have video clips of the harvesting machines in action in the vineyards.

See you then!

 

Languedoc Vine Report #22. September 4th

We had a visit from our mayor. You remember him – he’s always out and about in our village  attending all the festivities etc.

bank dispenser

our mayor at the opening of our village cash machine

our mayor in Languedoc

our mayor enjoying wine tasting

We’d had cause to ask him to intervene on a dispute with a neighbour who was burning foul stuff every Sunday morning in his barbecue.

I’m not talking chickens here. The smoke spiralling from the chimney on his barbecue was thick and black and toxic. I took photos for proof and after we’d complained to the neighbour, we took the photos to the Mairie as evidence of our grievance.

The French do like to get behind a good grievance.

At seven o’clock every Sunday morning, smoke like this stuff constitutes a good grievance, so off we went to complain.

By the way, we have an ally in reception at the mayor’s office. She lives at the corner of our cul-de-sac and was able to verify that she too had experienced the choking black smoke.

The mayor sorted the problem and the toxic black smoke ceased.

Then, some days later the mayor showed up at our gate. We thought he’d come to check everything was okay. No, he had come with a complaint from a neighbour about our hedge being too high.

Aha! we thought. This is a tit-for-tat issue, suggested this was the case and led the mayor around our property to show that there really wasn’t a problem with the hedge.

It turned out, he’d made a mistake. It was a different neighbour about a different hedge, but because the address was so close to our smoke complaint the mayor had made the same ‘tit-for-tat’ assumption as we had. He came back to apologise for his error. I made coffee, we sat for a Franglais chat and that was when we learned the harvest is 15 days late.

Late harvest

The cold weather I reported throughout spring has indeed led to a much later grape harvest than is usual. It’s much worse in other areas in France. In the Bordeaux region, they’ve had hail as Cult Wines reports. Hailstones big as ping pong balls. Ouch! And similar problems in the Champagne region. So, I guess, we’re lucky to be only late rather than damaged. According to Monsieur le Maire, some reds may be as late as October.

I set off on my rounds as usual to see what I could find.

What’s happening this week

My next door neighbour is growing grapes over his car port.

Languedoc vines

grapes in the garden

Netting keeps the birds off. It looks as if he has a good crop for the table this year.

In the vineyards, even though everybody is playing a waiting game as far as the grapes are concerned, there are still jobs to do.

hedge trimming

clearing the path for the harvesting machines

Hedges grow rapidly in Languedoc sunshine. This winegrower is busy trimming back wild Cotinus trees that flower with pink, smoke-like tendrils in spring. These ones, however, are right at the point where the harvesters need to turn round into the next row. It’s another example of good Languedoc housekeeping.

Further up the hill, another winegrower is clearing out between the rows.

harvest preparation

getting ready

Cuttings and weeds are going into the container. He’s also smoothing ruts in the soil to prepare the way for the grape harvesting machines.

At the cooperative Vigneron, they’re running the machinery and making checks.

Languedoc wine cooperative

home of ‘Fleurs de Montblanc’ and ‘Larmes d’Alexandria’

Here is where the grapes will arrive for our lovely Fleurs de Montblanc and the new range Les Larmes d’Alexandria.

I’ll be there to film as the grapes are dropped into the chutes.

Today, they were busy checking to see everything is turning as it should.

They were running the belts.

waste collecting

where the skins go

Nothing is wasted. They collect unwanted grape skins for making compost.

This morning, they were also testing the lifting screws.

grape chute

where the grapes go

The Archimedes type screw lifts the grapes up out of the chute. Once everything gets going, the village hums. No, literally. It hums. The wine machinery hums until you get so used to hearing it, you can’t hear it any more.

Along the lanes, it’s beginning to look like autumn.

Languedoc autumn

September colours

Dried grasses and early morning mistiness add to the end-of-summer atmosphere. Snails cling to what’s left of their grazing grounds.

snail grass

hundreds of tiny snails

 

 

 

Yet when you look  closely into the vines, there’s obviously some way to go before they’re ready. In amongst all the dark reds and purples, there are green youngsters, nowhere near mature enough for harvesting.

Languedoc Merlot

not ready yet!

Back home along the lanes, I’ve spotted blackberries and other autumn fruits.

almonds

one furry almond case has split open

It’s a wonderful time of year for grandmas to take little ones out into the countryside to see what they can find.

I saw this charming couple and couldn’t resist snatching a photograph. Together, I think these two are an artist’s dream subject. I love the way the light catches them as they crouch to look at something on the path.

 

looking at insects

finding something interesting

That’s all for this week’s Languedoc Vine Report. See you next week.

 

 

 

 

Languedoc Vine Report #21 August 28th

 

Writer in Languedoc has had her short break back in the good old UK. It’s great to see family and friends and revisit old haunts.

Now I’m back to see what’s happening in the vineyards near my home in France.

Here’s this week’s photo of our Mademoiselle Merlot.

Languedoc Merlot

almost there!

Compare photos from previous weeks.

Merlot August 14th

August 14th

Languedoc Merlot

August 7th

 

 

 

Languedoc weather has been perfect for ripening the grapes. The vineyards look as if they’re ready to burst!

Languedoc vines

heavy with fruit

The whites are looking just as luscious.

Languedoc Chardonnay

yummy!

Looking back toward the village, you can hardly see the houses through lush vine growth.

Languedoc wine village

can harvest be far away?

It’s a waiting game now. A quiet time.

Many holidaymakers have already left. This coming weekend will see the last mass exodus when traffic is nose to tail at the péage. (Road toll)

Only a few visitors remain – retired folks and families with children under school age. Oh, and the bikers. Last week in August sees the Harleys and the Goldwings filling the promenade at Cap d’Agde, their owners occupying all the seats at Moules a Volonté – all you can eat mussels – or oysters. Cap d’Agde is the setting for my summer short story Aquapark Blues. Read it soon before I put up a new story.

When all the summer visitors have left, we get the beaches back to ourselves. Picnic spots are deserted. Touring dance bands are heading north. The noisiest things left are cicadas singing in the trees.

Summer holidays are consigned to memory. Soon, our village will be noisy again, with the sounds of the vendange – bringing in the grapes to the cooperative and I’ll be out and about, bringing you the sights and sounds of the grape harvest courtesy of my trusty little Coolpix. I’m a writer – I always have my camera with me. Besides, I’m one of those people who enjoys spotting something unusual. And, I usually do.

My short break in Norfolk, England brought a few surprises. On a familiar lane I found an unfamiliar sight.

vines in Norfolk

young Norfolk vines

I didn’t expect to see young vineyards stretching across Norfolk fields.

Last time I looked, the place was full of sugar beet!

There are no fruits. The plants are too young, and, I have to say, are looking a little spindly. However, I’m fascinated to find out what they’re growing under Norfolk skies, and, more to the point, what it’s going to taste like.

vineyard in Norfolk, England

vineyard in Norfolk

vines in Norfolk

a new English landscape

Oak trees and grape vines  in the same shot? Is this the changing face of the Norfolk countryside?

I’ll have to wait and see.

Join me next week when we should have news about the first grape picking.

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Languedoc Vine Report # 19. August 7th

Here’s our vine. This is the same plant we’ve been watching since week one.

Merlot vine

developing later than her sisters

She’s being a bit slow. Other bunches on the same row are turning red in advance of her.

vine changing colour

getting there!

Further along the lane and into the next vineyard and the grapes are even further on in their change of colour.

Luscious vine

Looking good!

Skies were grey this morning. Humidity was up again. I met another grower filling large plastic containers from the water pump on top of the hill by the cemetery and we had a word. He was another elderly grower, originally from Spain whose French came bursting forth with rapid Spanish intonation and left me floundering. But, I got the gist.

The Marin is to blame for the dirty weather, he said. He shook his head and pulled a face. He believes we are at least 15 days behind our usual harvest dates. The first problem was the cold weather that went on into June. Now, it’s the Marin wind, bringing coastal fog and humidity from the Mediterranean. There’s more information about this wind here on weather online.co.uk. At its worst, the Marin can lead to devastating flash floods. Let’s hope the wind changes soon.

I didn’t take a photograph of this grower. I think I’m getting a reputation amongst the old fellers in the village. I don’t want them getting the wrong impression. Fortunately, Monsieur Joseph can put them right about my marital status. Remember him? We’ve met with his family from Manchester and had a barbecue together.

Last year, the daughter was a girl. This year she’s a young woman. Groomed eyebrows and everything. Beautiful girl. How does time fly. Here am I watching the grapes grow from week to week and out of my sight massive changes are taking place. My friend’s daughter has left childhood behind. It’s cause for celebration that she is turning into such a delightful young woman, but it’s tinged with sadness for what is past. Those days are never coming back. You can’t live them again. They’re memories now. I remember saying goodbye to my daughter’s childhood.

Enough. I’ll be writing a novel about it if I don’t stop. Or, I’ll be blubbing.

I walked further. The Marin was blowing. The cicadas were still singing.

Past the cemetery and down the other side of the rise there’s a mausoleum. It’s beyond the boundaries of the cemetery itself, at the edge of a vineyard so I wonder if it’s on unconsecrated ground. I wonder who was buried here?

tomb in the vines

couldn’t bear to be parted from his vines?

Maybe next time I’m passing I’ll investigate more. I didn’t want to linger. The clouds were gathering.

vineyard lane

the way back home

Later, we had rain. The humidity is off the scale. It was too hot to sleep. I got up at 4am, put some mix in the breadmaker and switched on my trusty iMac to complete this week’s Vine Report. I hope you can sleep where you are!

Cheers! See you next time.

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Languedoc Vine Report #18. July 31st

It’s HOT. This Vine Report is going to be a short one. I haven’t the energy to walk far. My apologies to readers who look forward to lots of new photos of what’s happening in the vineyards. However, here’s this week’s photo of our chosen vine, Mademoiselle Merlot.

Merlot vine

Merlot on the turn

The sun is beating down as I stand beside the vines to take the picture. I think I might have been a little weary – it isn’t the best picture I’ve taken. My hands must have been shaking; it’s a little fuzzy. Blame it on the Féria wine.

It’s too hot to walk much further for more photographs. Fortunately, it’s only a short step to take a picture of the other vines we’ve been watching.

Across the road in the next vineyard, Chardonnay vines are plump.

Chardonnay vine

Chardonnay grapes looking lush!

Chardonnay grapes are used in Languedoc’s bubbly – Crémant de Limoux. Sometimes called Blanquette depending on who’s making it and where, it’s champagne in all but name.

Blanquette bubbly

lubbly bubbly!

We tasted quite a lot of it during the Féria. It’s a great drink for celebrations.

After the three hectic bull-packed days of the Féria, we’re all feeling a little worn as well as more than a little warm. Temperatures have held at the mid-thirties these last two weeks with nights not dropping below 26 degrees.

And the HUMIDITY! Don’t talk to me about the humidity. The Marin brings cloud from the Mediterranean and locks in the heat like a blanket. There’s no escape. Visitors from England learn why we close the windows and fasten the shutters.

Why are you living in the dark indoors? they ask from their sun beds as their skin turns red and crinkly.

For the relief of it, we tell them.

Humidity can be a huge problem in the vineyards.

Powdery mildew is a white fungal growth affecting the leaves and fruit. Affected parts may become yellow and distorted, and the mildew may kill small areas of plant tissue which falls away leaving small holes. The fungi are most prevalent in dry soils but where the air is humid. Plants suffering from drought stress are more likely to be affected. So, the growers have been out spraying and trimming again.

vines

looking toward the village

It’s a relief to reach the shade of home.

lonely bench

lonely bench

In the square outside our gate. Where is everybody? Hiding from the sun.

Home

a welcome sight

Ah! Home! Anybody fancy a cold beer?

Cheers! A bientôt!

Féria festivities Day #3.

Rejoneador at the Féria

bullfighter on horseback

The rejoneadors are bullfighters on horseback. Not the same as picadors, these are matadors who are also dressed to kill. They don’t wear the suit of lights. Their costume is less flamboyant, but very smart.

They come to our Féria to demonstrate their horsemanship and to take part in the afternoon session devoted to riding skills. The horses are beautiful and very well tended.

Féria horse

waiting to perform

After, the horse show it’s back to fun and games attempting to outrun the bulls. The lads lie down in front of the entrance. The first bull comes tearing out.

racing bull at the Féria

the bull cleared the line of boys

Those boys are glad the bull can jump! Now they scramble to get up and clear out of his way. When he turns around, chances are he’ll be very angry.

This bull was particularly energetic and very clever. He spotted a gap in the fence and made for it. Soon, he was running in the space reserved for the toreros.

Four bulls come to chase the boys around the arena. To escape, the lads must either clear the perimeter fence, or jump in the pool of water. In theory, the bull won’t want to get in the water. In theory!

Toro piscine at the Féria

so bulls don’t like water, huh?

Sometimes it’s best not to move a muscle.

bull at the Féria

whose move next?

There’s never a shortage of youngsters who want to chance their arm.

young bloods at the Féria

getting ready for the next game

There are prizes for the best performance. Top prize went to a local young man, Antoine, who can somersault a charging bull. I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to catch a good shot. Here’s one I borrowed to show what I mean.

bull somersault

are they crazy?

Antoine did a clear somersault first, as in this photo.

On his second one, he landed on the bull’s head between the horns and then pushed off into a forward somersault. Amazing.

I wished I had a real movie camera to capture that moment.

When the games are finished on the third and final day, it’s time to relax with food and music.

At the very end of the three day Féria, Toro de Fuego blasts off with more fireworks.

toro de fuego

more fireworks to end the show

 

A model of a bull, loaded with fireworks ends the show with a bang!

 

 

Féria festivities Day #2. Dressed to kill.

The first day of the Féria ends with disco music and foam party that goes on way past midnight. Best to wear your not so best clothes. You are going to get very wet. Kids love it, as do mums and dads. Even grandmas like me have been known to enjoy a little dip in the suds. It’s a great way to open the fiesta. Kids go home exhausted.

foam party at the Féria

pumping up the action

They’ll sleep like logs ready for another fun-packed day.

On day two of the Féria, the professionals arrive.

They wear their suit of lights, the traditional costume of bullfighters.

Matador at the Féria

Matador in his suit of lights

The traditional design of the torero’s costume is steeped in history. The description, suit of lights,  refers to the thousands of sequins and reflective threads of gold and silver embroidered on the silk. The donning of this 18th century costume is a ritual in itself, whereby the torero attended by his squire is literally dressed to kill.

Here’s a lovely video by Mike Randolph about the making of a suit of lights:

After the morning session of our Féria is over, lunch is usually paella cooked in enormous pans or a variety of meats grilled over vine wood on open fires. In the afternoon, it’s time for the Games.

Languedoc bull games

waiting for dancing with bulls

This is going to be exciting. Mothers and grandmas wait with bated breath. Their sons are gathering in the ring to pit their wits against this great beast. Grandfathers look on proudly.

The young bloods of the village lie down in front of the bulls’ entrance.

When the beast charges into the arena, he will, in theory, leap over the prostrate bodies in the sand.

There’s a bellowing noise. The crowd goes quiet. The bull is coming. Look out!

at the Féria

glad he made it!

That was some weight that just went thundering by. The boy in the green shirt near top left of the photo can hardly believe his eyes. There’s more fun to come.

I think he lasted all of three seconds.

These boys have got to be fast. In my next clip, one of them wasn’t quite fast enough.

Day two of the Féria ends with live music from a big band with dancing girls and fireworks at midnight.

Sleep well. There’s another full day tomorrow.

Féria fireworks

fireworks light the night sky

Siesta, then Fiesta! Summer in Languedoc

July is time for Fiesta. Here in our village, every July sees three mad days of celebration. But, it’s hot. It’s hot, Hot, HOT. You can’t sleep it’s so hot.

 

So, if you want to enjoy the three days of Féria, take that afternoon siesta when you can. You’ll need the extra energy to get you through the nights.

First Day of the Féria

The first day of Fiesta begins with games in the arena. A travelling company sets up their bull ring and apprentices from the bullfighting school in Béziers demonstrate their skills with the cape.

Fiesta bullfighting

a proper Paso Doble!

The young man in the photo above is a native of our village and, as you can imagine, raised great cheers from the crowd.

Fiesta crowd

young men admiring bull ring skills

This trainee matador also had female admirers. One young lady in front of me took off her hat and threw it into the ring at the end of his performance. Maybe her telephone number was tucked inside. Who knows?

He bowed and acknowledged her gesture of respect and admiration before returning her hat.

Another young trainee who raised hats from heads and bottoms from seats was a young lady!

female matador

brave female matador in training

There’s interesting history on the question of female matadors. Until 1975, women were banned from the top job. In 1999, Cristina Sanchez, Spain’s only female professional matador at that time retired after 10 years, blaming male attitudes for her decision. There’s more information on this subject here, on WikiGender.

And here’s a video about other women matadors:

 

There are strong arguments against bullfighting, but here at our fiesta, there are no kills. You have to admire the agility and elegance of these performers. That bull can weigh up to 700 kilos. You need guts to stand in front of that.

Oh, and by the way, that T on the boarding there? It doesn’t mean this is the way to the toilets.

bulls' entrance

Toro!

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.

Cheers!