“Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it.” (Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)
The 18thC German physicist’s words struck home to me after visiting the vineyards for one last look around before I head back to the UK. They are a beautiful sight at this time of year, a rainbow of colours as I hope my photos will show. And all under a golden, morning sun, of which more later.
That the vineyards are so stunning at this time of year came as no surprise but they had one or two lessons to teach me, my fourth autumn here but still learning.
There is truth in Lichtenberg’s words. The vines are giving back to the earth some of what they took from it during the year, the leaves mulch into the soil, a repayment yet also an investment for next year. Together with the discarded bunches and berries left from vendanges, they will add life to the earth, indeed there were insects and butterflies, birds and worms aplenty. Healthy soils.
BUT. They are very, very dry. Cracks in the earth in October. Two mornings of light rain, otherwise next to nothing for four to five months. Parts of the Hérault are already being declared as an emergency situation because of the drought. The temperatures remain in the mid to high 20s, lovely for visitors but the local population and the earth need steady rain to arrive soon. The forecast shows no rain.
My other major lesson was the variation in varieties, not a tautology I promise.
Compare the two halves of Ste Suzanne taken from La Garrigue, to the left is the Syrah, to the right Grenache. In La Garrigue these two cépages show a difference, the Syrah losing its leaves, the Grenache still mainly green.
Meanwhile the Carignan leaves turn a vivid red colour, much more so than any other variety.
And in my favourite vineyard, Rome. The birds are back in numbers after the summer. Birdsong rings around the bowl of the parcel, the fig tree has given its two crops and the olives are turning colour just like those in Font D’Oulette, the Flower Power vineyard.
A beautiful time, a worrying time. Let it rain.
October 17, 2017 at 6:32 pm
So interesting to hear about all the grapes and all their idiosyncrasies… one commonality is the need for water though! Did you get my last message?
October 17, 2017 at 6:43 pm
I thought that I had Ed, I wrote this
“Vin Des Amis, Classe would be obvious substitutes. Also 5SO has a bit more power this year and is, in my view, the best ever of that cuvée.”
October 22, 2017 at 1:13 pm
Apologies, I missed your post, thanks for resubmitting! Vine De Amis sounds great, and a suitable name for wedding wine! 5SO also sounds intriguing. I’m in Limoges for Xmas so can get any wine delivered there. Ready to pull the trigger to be honest, what’s the best route to purchase? Would be good to get an idea on price per case… Have message Jeff, but I expect he’s in a concrete tank! Perhaps it would be better to move this to email, you can catch me on firstname.lastname@example.org hope you’re well and thanks for help so far! Ed