Arlebosc and neighbouring Empurany have traditionally been known for their vineyards, most of them facing South East and thus profiting from the intense summer sun – and the often warm Septembers – like this year. The grapes were mainly Gamay which produced very acceptable Vins du Pays which were exported to the Plateau de l’Ardèche and as far as Le Puy. Due to the altitude, the Syrah grapes, which produce the famous Hermitage wines in the Rhone valley were rare, but have now been introduced. A (positive) side effect of global warming perhaps?
This year was a turning point in the life of the Morlanche vineyard, which belongs to the Banchet family, our neighbours. In the spring Monsieur Banchet Père died and it looked like the vines would disappear with him. Thankfully a grandson has taken on the responsibility for it, but considering that he does not live locally we – and a band of his uncles and cousins – have been involved in pruning, tying up, treating, weeding … and of course harvesting.
The result of the harvest was to be expected: a great day, a splendid atmosphere, wonderful food and wine, but only 8 containers of grapes – half of the 2010 harvest. We were comforted by the fact that for nearly all the farmers in Arlebosc and Empurany the yield was severly reduced in relation to last year, caused by a nasty attack of thirsty wasps during the hot spell in late August. We are still optimistic and hope that the small harvest has produced the best wine of the century – which is well possible. Cheers!