Wednesday Vine Report May 29th 2013

Himself and I have been walking further through the vines. HImself has been cycling of late as previously reported and has discovered new tracks to explore. Well, motion is lotion, as they say so we have been striding out, camera at the ready to report what we find.

We found Monsieur Joseph. Here he is in his vineyards at the lower part of the village, cutting back the excess growth on his vines. He doesn’t know it, but I borrowed his name for a character in one of my stories. However, Monsieur Joseph is quite a character himself.

winegrower

Joseph cutting back the vines

In his eighties now, Joseph came from Spain with his wife to start a new life. His daughter moved to England and now teaches in a Manchester school. We are delighted to know the whole family. Every summer we meet for drinks and food and for the local fiestas. Joseph likes to enjoy himself and still dances  a mean foxtrot.

The weather remains very changeable. Here’s why.

snow in May

somebody left the fridge door open!

There is STILL snow on the peaks of the Pyrenees. The shifts in temeperature are unusual this year. We’ve had cold night blasts at 5 degrees rising to 26 degrees in the afternoon. Now we learn there’s heavy rain forecast. These are the spring storms we expect in April, not now it’s nearly June.

vine spraying machines

preparing for the next vine spraying session

When the wind drops, the growers are out with their spraying equipment again. This morning there was gridlock at the water pump where a queue waited to top up the tanks.

vine spraying

sprayingI

It was cold enough for top coats at 8am.

We’re all wondering when the real summer is going to arrive.

But, the countryside views are stunning. I’ve never seen it look so green. There’s actually grass growing in the verges. Green grass.

wine domain

one of the local wine domains

There are twenty growers in our village who send their crops to the wine cooperative – the Vigneron near the centre. They grow a variety of grapes and our Fleurs de Montblanc wines are loved by all who taste them. As well as the coopertive growers, there are four separate domains who produce and bottle their own labels. In the photograph above, Domain Prunelle benefits from its sheltered slopes.

new vines

new vines among the old

And so, what about our Mademoiselle Merlot? How is she doing? See for yourself:

Merlot vine

Mademoiselle Merlot

She’s in a spot that’s fairly sheltered from the worst of the winds here. So, I’d say she’s looking pretty damned good. Look at the close up where the baby grapes are forming.

new grapes

Merlot baby grapes

Walking through this beautiful wine-growing country is a real pleasure. And the best pleasure is yet to come: chilled Cinsault in a dewy glass with some savoury nibblies. Or, gently warmed by next winter’s log fire, our Merlot – a Languedoc ruby – precious as blood.

red wine

Cheers!

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