Virgile's Vineyard

How did a region, so long notorious for mere quantity, transform itself into one of the world’s most exciting vineyards? And what does it take to make a great wine – even on a shoestring?In Virgile’s Vineyard, Patrick Moon explores the world of Languedoc wine. Among the cast of characters that Patrick meets during his year of discovery is Virgile, a young local wine-maker who offers to initiate him into the mysteries of each season’s work in the fields and in the cellar. Virgile is passionately committed to perfection, even though his limited means afford him just a handful of hectares and the smallest cellar imaginable. At the other extreme is Manu, Patrick’s dipsomaniac neighbour, a diehard traditionalist producing a private wine-lake of unspeakable rouge. With Manu as his self-appointed guide, Patrick embarks on a quest for the revolution’s leading lights – a succession of lively encounters with growers as diverse as the wines themselves – interwoven with entertaining digressions into the history of the region’s wine-making. Meanwhile the author struggles to deal with his long-neglected French home – an unfamiliar and unpredictable world where the brambles have grown as tall as the olive trees, the water supply has just dried up and there is a ferocious animal under the roof tiles...

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