Sunday, October 14, 2012

The harvest is over -

and the news is very good for lovers of Côtes du Rhône. This has all the hallmarks of being an extraordinary vintage. Small, because of the dry year – but because of the dry year too, full of intensity.

Mind you, it was nail-biting stuff. For a few days the village was talking of nothing else, playing a white-knuckled waiting game, trying to guess what the weather would do. 

There had to be rain – just enough, but not too much; and the rain had to soak in deeply and quickly. And then the Mistral had to blow – just enough: not too much - and at just the right time.
And it happened like clockwork. 

The village was suddenly full of seasonal pickers, the roads were blocked by the tough little harvest trailers; 

the air was ripe with the smell of  must – a smell so rich and potent, it verges on taste. 

And then it was gone. 

And now we’re moving into the shorter days of Autumn: the quick early dusk - 7:30 now (and wasn't it just last July that I talked about light in the sky after ten pm?) The days themselves are decidedly cool, and in the evenings - oh, but I love evenings! - the nip of winter is held at bay by wood-fires and chimneys and shutters. 

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