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Thursday
Dec042014

Mas de Libian: the low down on vintage 2014

A typically entertaining histoire de la vendange from Mas de Libian's Hélène Thibon. We were getting a bit worried there for a minute, but when all's said and done we guess a 25% loss isn't too bad given this yield-blighted domaine's recent history. We'll get to taste the young 2014 Vin de Pétanque in February and will let you know how it's looking.

 

Mas de Libian
Vintage 2014
Hélène Thibon


I’m writing, a bit late, to give you the news from Libian regarding this season, harvest, and our wines.

The beginning of the season was idyllic: the vines, the soil, the work, the anticipated crop, truly everything was going perfectly. For certain people, everything was working out almost too well, and they distrusted this perfect weather. But we allowed ourselves to be swept away by the beauty of the season. Work always seems so much lighter, easier, when nature is on your side. But then, on July 20th, as others had feared would happen, we were hit by the worst. The tornado, the hail… these simple words are grossly inadequate for the destruction Hail damage from the July stormthat occurred. We were experienced waves of stupor, resignation, acceptance… then the desire to act… with a feeling of despair, with the feeling that we must not, could not leave the vines to their sad fate, that we owed it to them to work as hard as possible.

After many phone calls, many emails that proved the solidarity of other wine-growers, even promises of donations… our hearts were warmed and our energy returned. The next morning we set out with Valerian, Calendula, Arnica, and Propolis treatments heavy on our backs, our eyes full of tears as we walked up and down the rows. We bore witness to each and every one of the pulverized clusters, shredded leaves, and bare vines we had so carefully tended all spring and summer. That night was filled with exhaustion and despair; we had earned a full night’s rest.

For more than a week afterwards, the vines were in a stupor. But then the first new leaves appeared, like a second spring, and we saw the energy was returning. Silica once, twice, then cupric protection, YES! We were back. How heroic vines are! So we went back to help out the vines, to participate in this new breath of life. Seven people with delicate pruners, we took off all the murdered, broken parts like a sculptor chisels away the flaws in marble. But what perfect clusters remained?

We were filled with doubt, with hope. Sunshine, clouds, rain… Come ON up there, help us out!

Finally, at the end of August: the MISTRAL!

The vines regained all their leaves and they ripened their grapes; only ten days behind schedule. We harvested and it was all over: we lost a total of 25% of our crop, not nearly as bad as we had feared. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. We were able to refuse all donations of grapes and wine from our kind wine-grower compatriots.  Cave Vinum, Vin de Pétanque, Bout d’Zan, Khayyâm, Calade, they are all here!

Nestor the farm's Comtois doing his thing at the end of the 2014 harvest

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