Our visit to Catherine Roussel's Clos Roche Blanche wine-making caves yesterday was really interesting. Mme Roussel said it was okay for us to take some pictures, but she asked that no pictures be posted on the 'net. I'll honor that request.
Clos Roche Blanche exports a lot of its wine to the U.S. The wines are whites from Sauvignon Blanc grapes in several styles, and red from Cabernet Franc and Côt (a.k.a. Malbec). The cave is a series of "galleries" carved out of the soft limestone rock of a steep hillside. The spot where we stood around a barrel talking and tasting wines was 20 meters (70 feet) below ground. Again, sorry about the lack of photos.
The rain held off in the afternoon, and we had a good lunch with our friends but we ate inside because it looked like the skies might open up any minute. After lunch, we went outside and played with Callie and our friends' Bernese Mountain Dog, Gracie.
The sun's out this morning and we are supposed to have a hot, dry weekend. The grapegrowers, including Catherine Roussel and our neighbor Bruno Denis (Domaine de la Renaudie) will be able to relax for a few days. I saw Bruno out in the vineyard a couple of days ago and he said the stress level was high because of the negative effects the recent damp, warm weather could have on the grapes, which are nearly ripe.
The harvest, called les vendanges in French, will start in 10 or 12 days, which is earlier than usual. With any luck, the weather will be nice and the grapes will continue to ripen and sweeten up, sans mold or mildew, over these last days of August.