Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Best Wishes 2014

Mas de l'Houvande wishes all his friends and guests all over the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

May 2014 fulfill all your wishes and bring you success, friendship, love and - last but not least - good health.

Cheers. Cin cin !

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Beautiful autumn colours

This year - due to the mild temperatures and enough of rain - the colours in the vineyards are very beautiful again. Especially as it hasn't frozen yet.

Look for yourself : some pictures I've taken in the neighbourhood.

Have a nice week end near the fireplace.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wine harvest 2013

The wine harvest 2013 is finished : after some rain in the beginning the weather changed to almost summerly temperatures of around 25 °.

As could be imagined with the bad weather in spring the yield is very small.
It will depend largely on the skills of the winemaker if the millesime 2013 will be a good year for the consumers.
But for that we'll have to wait still a while.

Premiere this year : compared to the years before smaller harvesting machines were used in our vineyard.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Still nice flowers in the garden and on the terraces

Allthough it is already october a lot of plants begin to flower again - thanks to the nice weather : sun and above 20 °.

The first is a special kind of hibiscus, the second a salvia.

This year the wine harvest will be very late, later than in the past 20 years.
It will only start this week - not only for the white wines (normally mid september), but also for the red ones. This is about two to three weeks later than normal.
The explication is simple : bad weather during the blossoming and after a too hot summer a lot of rain in the first half of september.
Expected are : a very low yield and a lot of extra work for the winemakers.
It will be - as they call it - a very technical wine year.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Most of you know, George, our toad that comes along every now and then after the evening dinner.

Well, George - and his female of course - have been very productive this year.
Since a little while we see a lot of little Georges and Georgettes.

They stroll across the walls of the house to do their ancestral roads; afterwards they turn back all the time and do the same ways again.

I didn't know they were so small.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cahors wines vinified in a different way

Since shortly Cahors winemakers use different methods of vinification to try to give an extra dimension and aspect to the red AOC wines.
One of the methods we already described earlier in this blog (see this entry) is using amphores like in ancient Roman times.

Recently they hit the news with another method : wine making using ovoid tanks.

The vertical ovoid tank takes its inspiration from the Roman “dolia”, a large jar for storing wine.
It takes advantage of the micro-oxygenation that is made possible by the clay-cement material.
In this giant “egg”, the lees are continuously forced upward by an internal current resembling a vortex.

Amongst the pioneers in the Lot using this method is one of our neighbours, Philippe Pontié of Château Les Grauzils.

See for yourself :

Here is the direct link to the tf1 website.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Two spectacular bird rescues in recent times

In the last days Griet and one of the guests did some spectacular bird rescues.

First of all a little "rouge cul" that didn't succeed well his first flying experience was saved out of the mouth of our cats and put back into the nest.

Today a little church owl was rescued out of our chimney and put to liberty again.

Happy bird life.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bicentennial of Marshal Bessières

As some of you might already know : during the weekend of Ascension (10 - 12 May) the most famous native of Prayssac was celebrated :
Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières

who fought under Napeoleon and whose statue is in the middle of the central square under plane trees.

Probably you don't know him at all.
Nevertheless he has been very important in French military history.
His importance can be best illustrated by the words of Napoleon himself.
Napoleon once said that "he could have won at Waterloo if Bessières had been there".

From 10 till 12 May the bicentennial of his death was celebrated.
Highlight of the programme was the reconstruction of a battle between the French and the Austrians.

Of this battle now a video was published on Youtube.

For those highly interested in his life achievements : everything you want to know you find in wikipedia.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

White wine of Cahors : a very promising development

As the AOC Cahors is always a red wine of the Malbec grape one often forgets that in the Cahors region also white wines are produced and harvested.
This is a recent development - say of the last ten years.
Today the white wine production represents only about two percent of the total wine production.

White grape varieties cultivated in the Lot are esp. chardonnay, viognier, sémillon and sauvignon.
As they can't be called AOC Cahors the name on the bottle is Côtes du lot or vin de pays du Lot.
But this is not at all an indication of less quality - think for example of excellent Italian "vino da tavola".
As we and many of our guests have been able to experience and taste, a lot of them are wines of high quality.

I am glad to say that in Prayssac quite a few winemakers follow this new trend.

More information on this evolution in two recent French articles, one in the newspaper Le Soir and the second in a wine blog , "translated" into English here.

I would say : toast to the long Pentecost weekend with a nice white wine. Cheers !

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The history of the red wine of Cahors

In a nice article - for some of you unfortunately only in French - a small but good review is given of the wine of Cahors through the ages : from Roman time over the Middle Ages to our days.

Nothing is left out, not even the bad moments : to mention here especially two :

the competition of the Bordeaux wine and the privilege given to the Bordelais by the king in 1241, first by the English king, then by the French which did a lot of damage to the spreading and commercialising of the Cahors wine for more than five centuries (ended only at the end of the 18th century)

the near death blow at the end of the 19th century due to the phylloxera epidemic which destroyed most of the vineyards.

The revival began after World War II in 1947.

Nowadays the Cahors wine is again reknown, also thanks to the Argentinian wine which uses the same Malbec grape.

Have a nice wine tonight.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter 2013

The best Easter wishes for everyone from a sunny Mas de l'Houvande.

Happy Easter
Joyeux Pâques
Vrolijk Paasfeest
Frohe Ostern
          Buona Pasqua
                   Feliz Pascua

Enjoy the first day and evening of "summer" time.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Photo album of the Lot

Found a nice photo collection of the Lot on Flickr : of cultural places, nature views, in all seasons. Very nice.

To see the photos in slideshow click here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mas de l'Houvande : the photo album of 2012

At last, this week I could finish the photo album of 2012 that presents the photos received from our guests.

Thanks to everybody who contributed.

As you can see from the pictures it was a hot summer during which even the cats longed for shadow.

I hope you like it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Winter time is truffle time in the Lot

As every year between December and half February the black fever is taking over the Lot : Truffles are everywhere : on the markets (esp. in Lalbenque, the capital of truffles), in the menus of top restaurants, etc.

Discover all about truffles in company of Cyril Lignac, the chef and owner of the gastronomic restaurant Le Quinzième in Paris (1 Michelin star), born in Rodez : a reportage of M6.

Click on the image or here

Miam miam.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First stroke of winter

During the last seven days we had two strokes of snow in the Lot at Prayssac.
It snowed at times so heavily that most of the traffic came to an end.
Last Wednesday it snowed for nine hours in a row; on Sunday the whole morning and a bit of the afternoon.

The weight at places was so heavy that trees broke down in front of the house, on "our eternal hill" la Cevenne. It blocked the road between Belaye and Pescadoires. Even yesterday they were still cutting the fallen trees.

The swimming pool cover was bending so dangerously downwards that we had to clean it three times in a few hours to make it snowfree to restore it.

Nonetheless we adore the snow. Contrary to cities no salt spreading is done so the snow remains virginally white untill it melts naturally.

Some impressions :

For the moment everything is back to normal again.

See you.