Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living vineyards

I've been down in the Languedoc for the past 10 days sorting out a family funeral which is why there haven't been any posts. But it was quite striking how different the vineyards were looking at this time of year.

I would say about half were carpeted in wild flowers and plants and the rest immaculately plant- and weed-free. This wouldn't have happened even five years ago when the health of a vineyard was judged by how tidy it looked.

The shot above was taken in the vineyards running down to Puissalicon - they could well have been those of Domaine Bassac who I was writing about the other day.

Below are the vineyards of Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine I visited last October and whose Sauvignon no. 2 I re-tasted with great pleasure the other day. Interestingly it was better 24 hours after it was opened than the first day but I failed to note what type of day it was on the biodynamic calendar.

You can't help but feel the vigour and diversity of these vineyards translates into the live quality of the respective wines.


  1. The white flowers are false roquette that seem to steal a march on the other flora both in the early spring and after the first autumn rains. Pleasantly edible but not in the same category as the yellow flowered wild roquette in a salad.

  2. Thanks for identifying them, Graham. I wasn't sure what they were. Do vignerons grow wild roquette among the vines too. Great idea if they do . . .

  3. Vignerons don't grow anything between vines to my knowledge - this stuff all grows naturally, the local weeds if you like. The only place it doesn't grow is chemically treated vineyards that look like scorched earth. In our area vineyards that resemble scorched earth are most likely owned by those who sell to the cooperatives. Fortunately these are in decline.

    Yellow flowered wild roquette comes a couple of weeks later and is not quite as prolific in the vines as the white "false" variety. Much more peppery than anything cultivated - probably the easiest to find and recognise of the more interesting salades sauvages. Best picked for eating young before they flower.