Favorite 2011 Harvest Photos

These are some of my favorite 2011 harvest photos from around the Languedoc Roussillon.  In no particular order.  Each photo links to the original site where you can find much more content.  I encourage you to go and visit the region’s wonderful winemaking bloggers.

And of course check out the fuller list of harvest updates I posted earlier or photos from 2010 harvest.

Mas de l’Ecriture – Grapes at harvest

Pech d’Andre – The last grenache grapes coming in
Grappe Gracias

Clos Romain – Density measurements of young juice

clos romain measures density of grape juice

Clos des Fées – Harvesters take a break in the Roussillon

break in the muscat at harvest 2011

Domaine la Rabidote – Photo of slate terroir

slate terroir domaine de la rabidote

Les Vignerons de Maury – Dramatically lit wine chai

dramatically lit winery

The Vigneron’s Wife – Portrait of a winemaker, Jerome

Jerome passing by

 

Rives Blanques – Portrait of a happy harvester

happy harvester at rives blanques

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2011 Harvest updates from around the Languedoc

I’m really stunned at the quality and quantity of harvest updates coming from Languedoc Roussillon winemakers in 2011.  We’ve come a long way and I can definitely feel the virtual groundswell.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite harvest updates in the region.

Favorite Harvest Updates

The Outsiders Facebook Page

I’m a member of this group of winemakers “from elsewhere”. Louise Hurren is curating the page very well with lots of fun updates from winemakers who don’t always have the time to post their own photos and messages during harvest.

 

Mas de l’Ecriture

The Fulla clan was doing awesome updates last year too. But this year’s harvest albums, I love how many photos focus on the harvesting team having a silly good time while they make their excellent wine.

eating grapes during harvest at mas de l'ecriture

Trinque Fougasse

This caviste in Montpellier goes around with his camera all the time and he doesn’t stop at harvest.  Lots of fun updates from some of the wineries represented in his shop and venue.


 

5000 Vines, Le Couvent Roujan

Ali gives Eileen a lesson in pigeageThe 5000 vines blog did an awesome six part day by day catalog of their harvest with lots of photos of everybody working together to bring in their ripe grapes.  They also did some video and even one audio clip of the bubbling sounds of a live fermentation! Very well done!

All of these are really swell collections of updates and deserve some attention!

If you find other updaters please let me know about them so I can follow along and add them eventually.

These updates are extremely important because they help communicate exactly how active and alive the winemaking community is in the Languedoc Roussillon.  It’s wonderful that some people are pushing so hard to get our lives out to the rest of the world!

Good work everybody!

 

Full Frontal Grapes!

Färdig SyrahLivet i Languedoc

5000 vines cinsault

dog smelling merlot grapes

grenache fermenting5000 vines fermentation

 Other Languedoc-Roussillon harvest updates

Hervé Bizeul talks about double rainbows and ennui.

arcenciel.jpg

Something in Swedish at Domaine de la Rabidote!

At O’Vineyards, I wax poetic about the whole country of France’s harvests.

A text based update from Domaine Guizard. Give him a break, it’s hard to take pictures when you’re covered in raisins.

Harvest update from Pech Celeyran.

Vendanges-2011.jpg

Girls and Boys split the winemaking duties at Pech d’Andre

Jus alicante

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Harvest starting in the Languedoc

It’s hard for normal people to understand what harvest means to a winemaker.  It’s an intense moment (a moment that can last a month) in which a whole year of hard labor takes substance.  So much can happen in so few days.  And since I’m in a slightly later-harvesting portion of the region, I always get to watch the signs of harvest at my neighbors’ before things really take off at O’Vineyards.

Seeing the turned over fruit crates and empty buckets gets me all worked up.

harvest prep at couvent roujan photo: 5000vines

As early as 2 weeks ago, I was getting reports about precocious harvests in some parts of the Roussillon and Limoux. Now, we’re getting to the bulk of harvest season.  Even though I won’t be harvesting until mid September, I can still share all the Languedoc buzz that’s going down today.

 

Domaine d’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux


Grenache Blanc and Marsanne coming in by hand at the Domaine d’Aupilhac. Video by intrepid caviste and videographer, Trinque Fougasse.

Pech d’André, Minervois

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Some Clairette at Pech d’André.

Le Couvent, Roujan

http://5000vines.com/wp-content/gallery/blog-downsized/IMG_1116.jpghttp://5000vines.com/wp-content/gallery/blog-downsized/IMG_1132.jpg

Bringing in Grenache in the foothills of the Parc Naturel du Haut Languedoc.

Château Pech-Céleyran, La Clape

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Harvesting Sauvginon Blanc in Côtes de Pérignan (think La Clape)

 

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Laurent Vaille – Grange des Peres

A friend of mine just posted this video interview at Grange des Peres, and it’s everything you’d expect. Laurent Vaillé is the enigmatic and reclusive winemaker at the heart of this property, and he would sooner kick you out of the tasting room than wax poetic about his wine.

This interview captures his disarming charm in the awkward silence after questions, in the quiet giggles, and so on. My kind of interview! Well done, Obiwine!  And I’m glad there’s some footage with the dad Alain too.  All very cool.

For the wine nerds

I often claim that I’m writing this blog for people who just like wine and don’t necessarily obsess over it.  So I’ll step back from that claim for a second and say that this next bit is very nerdy.  In my mind, there are several important Languedoc personalities around Aniane and two of them are pretty much direct neighbors.  There are certain overt similarities between their projects, and then they’re almost exact opposites in every other way imaginable.  And I am fascinated by this pair of great men.

From the beginning of the video, JJ Carré sets up how special Grange des Pères is, notably because its a Cabernet intensive wine.  Since Cabernet Sauvignon is not an indigenous grape varietal to the south of France, this choice forces Domaine de la Grange des Pères to abandon their French AOC status and instead be labeled as simple Vin de Table.  This is a truly rebellious move.

Vaillé alludes to his training at Trevallon, an estate in Provence that also works with Cabernet Sauvignon (with remarkable results!)  But whether we’re with his dad Alain Vaillé on the hilltop parcel of vines above Aniane or down by the irrigation canal with Laurent, I can’t help but notice the elephant in the vineyard.  The subject nobody is talking about.

The big reference here that nobody seems to be mentioning is that the direct neighbor of Grange des Peres also planted Cabernet Sauvignon in this area (in the 70s) and also makes an expensive vin de table with it.  Now, having tasted both of these properties, I assure you that they are very very different.  And I’m only bringing this up because there’s such a charming and unlikely dichotomy formed by these two neighbors.  A dichotomy which adds a lot of color to the region.

Laurent Vaillé is a quiet man, his answers to every question seem restrained and shy.  He’s known for being a bit reclusive and journalists often have a hard time getting in touch.  He’s not afraid to say no to a visit even if it’s a critic or other emblematic wine figure.  In his first vintage, the 15 hectare property only produced a few thousand bottles.  Grange des Peres is a remarkable wine that (whenever I taste it) almost always seems a year or two older than it says on the label (perhaps a sign of that elegance and maturity he refers to during the interview!).  And Laurent’s only forty something but he seems like a very sage winemaker with a lot of patience and an ability to wait quietly.

A few minutes away, you’ll find Aimé Guibert at the Mas de Daumas Gassac.  This neighbor is also making a top quality wine with its own style and flavor.  But even when I’m drinking 8 or 9 year old vintages from Daumas Gassac, I always feel like I’m drinking his wines too young.  And the man seems that way to me too.  He’s 80-something, but he’s still incredibly alert and bouncing off the walls at times.  His demeanor is so comically opposed to Vaillé’s that I can’t help but think about them in a room together.  Guibert is boisterous and press-savvy, and he always seems to have the right answer on the tip of his tongue.  Vaillé seems quiet and withdrawn, uncertain that any of the questions even have “right answers”.  They’re really wonderfully different.

And yet they both have this sort of steadfast, rebellious defiance about them.

Anyway, this has been a tangent, but I really hope it’s a fun insight into Aniane.  You have these two winemakers who both seek out excellence.  And they have totally different personalities.  But they’re both sort of infamous for being rebels.  It’s wacky.  I hope neither of them gets pissed off by this write-up because I like what they’ve done and what they continue to do for the region.  But even if it does irk one or both of them, I have my rebellious side to think about too. ;D

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