It’s October 3rd and I’m sitting in my Languedoc garden soaking up the bright autumn sunshine. Did I say autumn? It feels more like summer. Although a few leaves are turning golden the bees are still buzzing the birds are singing like its springtime. The peace of my garden is only disturbed by a distant dog bark from across the village, probably from near the little castle or by the church. All that is missing is the gurgle of river water that is normally running swiftly just beyond the wall at the bottom of my garden next to where I am sitting. The river has been dry since sometime in July for we have had not a drop of rain since early June.
Summer was late making an appearance this year and I can remember thinking ‘this cold and grey weather is not why I came to live here!’ However one of the old ladies in the village told me not to worry, once we pass June 21st the summer will arrive and her prophecy was spot on. As we entered July little did we know that we were entering one of the driest, hottest summers we have ever experienced.
In April vine shoots had a cold welcome into the world and back then we were predicting a late harvest but as is their
way the vines caught up when the sun began to shine in July and during August ripening was pretty much as normal give or take a few exceptions. But the lack of rain has brought problems for many growers who last month started their harvest and have been bringing in tiny berries that give great concentration but are lacking in juice. Languedoc is too large an area and filled with too many different terroirs to speak in general terms. Although some producers are bemoaning the low yields and predicting that the vintage will be far from memorable others have told me that they have picked their best crop ever.
The hot summer may not have been ideal for wine growing but our customers have loved it. On a wet miserable day a wine tour is ideal for holiday makers as they are kept dry, warm and well entertained in our vans, by our guides, in wineries and in restaurants. But when the sun shines, as it has done almost every day this summer its wonderful to tour Languedoc and witness the beauty of this place in its full glory. With such predictable weather we have been able to enjoy wine tastings outside in shady spots or on canal cruises and tuck into the gourmet lunches alfresco in beautiful surroundings. We’ve strolled through vineyards and ancient settlements such as Minerve and Lagrasse soaking up the south of France atmosphere and luxuriating in this delightful climate.
To those who have traveled with us this year we say thank you and raise a glass of Languedoc sun drenched wine to you. And to those who we are yet to meet we toast the day yet to come. Let it be soon.