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


Taille, tasting and temperatures



One of the new fruit trees planted at Peilhan


First visit of 2016 to Mas Coutelou this morning. We tasted the 2015 wines, now mostly assembled, and whilst I am sworn to secrecy about what they will be I can confirm that the cuvées are looking excellent. There is a real elegance and refinement to them already, Jeff has compared them to Rhone and Loire wines rather than the typical, fuller Languedoc wines. They are still in their infancy of course, tasted from tank, and in midwinter they are still coming around. However, the structure, aromas and flavours are in place for wines of real quality.


The weather was much discussed as the temperatures in Puimisson and the Languedoc remain above average (see last post). The effect on the wines can be important, the wines restive, troubled in warm conditions, for example they don’t clarify. A few colder days early this week has helped them to settle a little more, Jeff has already noted changes.

The warm temperatures were evident in the vineyard too. I went to see Julien who is carrying out la taille (pruning) this year. He showed me how some of the precocious vines, such as Muscat, are showing signs of the buds swelling already, way too early. This fits in with the wider vegetation, fruit trees showing signs of blossom, even our tomato plants have flowers!


Bud swelling in the vine

Julien was busy in Peilhan vineyard and explained how he was trying to prune the Muscat in a gobelet sur fil style, rather like guyot, pruning to create two main canes for growth in 2016.

This weekend sees a huge wine salon, Millésime Bio, in Montpellier. Nine hundred domaines represented with many more at various ‘off’ events around the city. Jeff will be preparing bottles for Les Affranchis. Then it’s on to the Loire for more salons. So the cuvées will make their first public appearance. I shall be explaining some of the different Coutelou cuvées in my next couple of posts as well as reporting on the Montpellier salons.


Icare playing with his Christmas present from Pat, a toy sheep