Limoux Carnival

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“Te Counaissi” – it looks and sounds familiar, and yet….. If you happen to be in Languedoc between January and thelimoux Carnival two weeks before Easter, and you’re passing through the town of Limoux, it could well be an expression you hear. It’s the tease or taunt spoken by the masked Pierrots taking part in the region’s famous Carnival; and it’s your cue to engage the Pierrot in some banter ! Te counnaissi is Occitan – it means, I know or I recognise you, and unlike many other pageants, in Limoux, those who go to watch, also have the chance to participate! Be warned though, they’re fond of showering you in confetti!

We all know the French love a party, and the Carnival of Limoux is a party of pretty extraordinary calibre. Thought to have its roots in the Middle Ages, not even the dark days of the French Revolution could halt proceedings, and it remains the longest running ‘fete’ in France.

Clos du Gravillas Vintage Report

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St Jean gravelLast week the Vin en Vacances team payed a visit to Clos du Gravillas, a boutique winery farming organically on limestone soils in the Minervois. They wanted to taste some of the 2015 wines to see how they are maturing and here is team member Marcel Van Baalens report:

MarcelOn our vineyard tours we get to taste a lot of wines on a yearly basis! Don’t worry, the spit-bucket is our best friend. Tasting so many wines gives us a fairly good idea about the quality and the character of a vintage. But what makes a great vintage? Every vintage is different, and so it should be. To describe a vintage we have to look at all the four seasons. Vivaldi was right! But conditions may vary locally.

We talked to John Bojanowski of Clos du Gravillas, a boutique winery in the tiny appellation of Saint-Jean-de-Minervois, famous for its sweet Muscat wine.

Season Highlights

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020As yet another season comes to a close, and the winter nights invite us to cosy up in front of the fire, it’s a wonderful chance to look back at the highlights of our year.

Vin en Vacances is a special business; it’s a ‘people’ business; it’s what we do, so here are some memories of us, our little team, making lots of people happy.

The 2015 Languedoc Vintage

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006This year I had the impression that the seasons had nudged forward by a month. Spring began during March and although I had the logs crackling on the fire in the evening, the days were often bright and perfect for hiking which I did a lot of. However, during winter we had seen a lot of rain, some of it torrential and the little river at the bottom of my garden was deep and fast flowing as spring arrived. The vines started to wake from their winter sleep in early April and the spring sunshine and warmer than normal temperatures soon had them sporting their tufts of greenery like ribbons twisted into little bows.  Flowering began just as it should and the little green flowers soon turned to baby grapes and by the end of May we had what looked like bunches of ‘petit pois’ beginning their short journey of around 100 days to become sweet juicy grapes.

Intrepid Intern

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Hi there followers of Wendy’s blog! Ever wondered what it would be like working for a Vineyard Tour Company? Read on for a little bit about my experience.

I’m Natalie (sans h), and it’s been 3 months since I started work as an intern for Vin en Vacances, 3 crazy months which have flown by, obviously caught on the back of that famous Languedoc wind. Now that it has reached September and the flurry of activity has started to gradually subside, I can look back on the last 3 months and say that I have absorbed the workload and lifestyle relatively well. I have still got 2 months left, so without speaking too soon, I think it is still safe to say that I’ve had a really fabulous and inspiring summer.