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Virgile's Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Inheriting a badly neglected house in the south of France, Patrick Moon sets out to discover how the Languedoc has managed to transform itself into one of the world's most exciting wine regions. Virgile, a young winemaker passionately devoted to perfection, offers to initiate Patrick into the mysteries of each season's work. At the other extreme is Manu, Patrick's dipsoman ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by John Murray Publishers (first published April 17th 2003)
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Virgile's Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country is a bit of a mixed bag. Since the book is advertised as a memoir, I expected more of the author's views on his time in the Languedoc; yet the author / narrator / main character really takes a back seat in the telling, and his opinions are rarely voiced. And the remaining main characters, with the exception of Virgile, are very caricatured, which becomes grating.

While I like the idea of using three different "characters", the vigneron (wi
Isaac Baker
Jul 11, 2016 Isaac Baker rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Exploring Languedoc Wine Country in "Virgile's Vineyard"

I picked up “Virgile’s Vineyard” during a January trip to the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. Virgile Joly, the subject of this wine narrative, was eager to give me a signed copy. We’d dined together in Montpellier and I tasted through his wines at Millesime BioFair, a trade show focused on promoting organic and biodynamic wines.

Virgile struck me as a genuine man, devoid of all pretension. He listens closely before speaking
Apr 19, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it
I read this as part of my preparation for staying for a month just twelve miles from where it was set. Patrick tells of his first year in his new, inherited house in the Languedoc wine region. He teaches us as he learns about the wines, especially those of Virgile Joly who becomes a good friend. Patrick is also taught by Manu, a local who is keen to drink as much as possible while showing Patrick the various local "caves", and by Krystina a wealthy lady who is also keen on Patrick, with as her s ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, wine, food
In this first book, we join Patrick as he spends a year in the Languedoc at the house he inherited from his uncle. As well as exploring, taming his land and getting to grips with the unique water supply, Patrick sets himself a challenge to discover and understand the wine of the region. With his three self-appointed experts we learn alongside him; the history of the area (from an expat divorced history teacher), the way of the locals (from Manu, his wine drinking neighbour) and the art of Langue ...more
J.P. Bary
Jun 10, 2013 J.P. Bary rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Wine tourists
This book has independent literary merit, but it is as an introduction to the culture and history of the Languedoc and particularly, its winemaking practices, that it is best judged. In the clever guise of an entertaining account of a sabbatical year in the Languedoc, Moon simultaneously provides a guide to the region and its traditional winemaking techniques. This is clearly by design, as his vividly drawn cast of characters and fortuitously timed exploits are too well crafted to represent a li ...more
Dec 02, 2013 John rated it liked it
An easy read, a nicely composed account of 'a year in Languedoc'. Virgile the winemaker is the star of the book, other characters generally have walk-on parts, I felt I wanted to know them better. The author has a tendency to over-caricature them; they deserved a more sympathetic treatment at times as some reward for helping flesh out the text.

I'm not sure I would read another book by the author, but I have recently imbibed Monsieur Joly's wines, and they are most certainly worth further study!
Jun 20, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it
This memoir of a British attorney who takes a year off to live in the Languedoc and learn about winemaking is quite wry and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of his neighbors and the British woman on the make who was introducing him to the history of the region, as well as the young struggling winemaker and his eventual choices. Part memoir, part travelogue, lots of fun.
Feb 25, 2008 Michele rated it did not like it
Honestly, I thought I would never finish this book. In the reviews it sounded interesting, but instead it was mind-numbing. The characters of the lust-crazed British history teacher & the pilfering neighbor did nothing to lift it from the curse of tedium. Sadly, I felt compelled to finish it for some reason (Lent?) but doing so was a sheer exercise of will, with no pleasure involved.
Susan Bogart
Mar 03, 2011 Susan Bogart rated it really liked it
This is great--if you're a Francophile like I am! Most of the wine information is beyond me, but the descriptions of the countryside, historic sites, food, and Moon's odd neighbors are wonderful!
Julia Stagg
Really enjoyed this. Have already bought the next in the series. Perfect for whiling away the hours on a lazy Sunday!
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