Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc

Stress and grapes – Vendanges 17


Day two and the weather remained overcast and humid, there were even a few drops of rain. Rain which has been sorely missed in the last two months, there has been no real rain since June 26th, almost two months now. Some vines have found that stressful and virtually shut down therefore not ripening the grapes as well as they ought to do. Others, with underground water supply more available, are more vigorous and channeling their energy into the grapes. Judging what to harvest and when, is therefore even more difficult and stressful for Jeff.

The picking today began in Peilhan where the Muscat À Petits Grains was golden, starting to raisin in places. The berries are a little smaller than usual, another sign of the lack of recent rain. Nonetheless they were sweet, ripe and ready, measuring 15° of potential alcohol. In the press the lack of juice means that even a decent amount of grapes will produce only one barrique this year.

Then on to Clairette Musquée, a couple of rows in Peilhan, next to the red grape vines. This cépage is so rare that an ampelography expert recently failed to identify it on a visit. Into the mix was added Grenache Blanc from La Garrigue, which has fared better than some in that vineyard with the drought. Indeed one berry seemed to have thrived as you can see in the following photo.

GrBl huge

Whilst Roxane, Max and myself picked the Grenache the others moved into the newer plantation of Peilhan and picked Riveyrenc Noir, Riveyrenc Gris, Piquepoul Gris and Morastel. This really was a day for ampelography fans like myself. All of these grapes with the Clairette will help to make the rosé for 2017 and the first glass, hot from the press, tasted very good indeed over lunch.

Friday lunch was leisurely, we were joined by the excellent Paco Mora of La Cave D’Ivry, and some good bottles opened including a fabulous Sauvignon Blanc 002 from Jeff, 15 years old and still in great shape. Julien opened his new cuvée (one of only 50 bottles) from Faugères (Grenache Blanc and Roussanne) which was very good too. Monday will see the start of more full on days, bigger quantities, more work and faster lunches – so allow us this convivial interlude. Meanwhile, Icare continued in his inimitable style.


Author: amarch34

I'm a recently retired (early!) teacher from County Durham in North east England. I am going to be spending most of the next year in the Languedoc leaarning about wines, vineyards and the people who care for both.

2 thoughts on “Stress and grapes – Vendanges 17

  1. It’s Ribeyrenc actually Alan. Seems a shame to blend it into a rosé given its rarity.
    Aspiran is looking excellent in general so far. Winter rains put the water table back to normal so yields are back to normal (whatever that is) but no doubt there will be the usual vineyard variation. Regis is very pleased so far.
    Mini heatwave forecast here for Monday.


  2. I checked it out Graham and it is definitely Riveyrenc. It’s an alternative spelling but the nursery which provided the plants use v not b and Jeff has too on his forms. The reason it’s going in to the rosé is that it’s a new plantation from 2015 so the vines aren’t old enough to provide more characteristic wine on their own so they will add colour to the Clairette etc.
    Pleased about Aspiran, I was hearing from Paco Mora who was there and at Grégory’s that all was well.
    Generally there are some excellent grapes, the Carignan, Rome’s Cinsault and Grenache and the Ste Suzanne Syrah and Grenache. The more recent drought has just taken the edge off others though, everything was set fair after the winter and spring. We shall see what emerges.
    Hopefully I’ll work in the cellar all day Monday then 🙂
    Courage mon brave, look forward to seeing you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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