Plaimont co-op unveils pre-phylloxera cuvée

South West France co-operative, Producteurs Plaimont, has released a wine made from a pre-phylloxera vineyard that has been carefully restored.

The wine is predominantly Tannat with a little Pinec as well. The vineyard, one of three remaining pre-phylloxera plots that Plaimont has access to, is only half a hectare in size and a mere 1,342 bottles have been produced.

It was planted in 1871 and has been protected from the vine-destroying bug by a sandy top soil.

Technical and managing director, Olivier Bourdet-Pees said that the winemking had been the “least interventionist possible”, with pigeage done gently by hand to avoid over extraction and most of the wine aged in old barrels.

The founder of the co-operative, André Dubosc, told the drinks business that of the remaining plots, the one used for the wine was the most interesting “in terms of winemaking” but that the others, which are filled with a variety of Pyrenean grapes, many still unknown, were more interesting “ampelographically”.

Bourdet-Pees explained that work had begun on restoring the vineyard in 2007, the vines – which had become increasing low-lying due to their age – needed to be gently raised again, bit-by-bit to grow up posts so they could be properly managed.

Not all made it (see photograph above).

Bourdet-Pees said it was important to preserve the region’s heritage and this was one of the drivers behind making a wine from such old vines.

Plaimont already has the largest private ampelographic collection in France, the Conservatoire Ampélographique du Saint Mont, and it is busy trying to identify more grape varieties so that they can be saved for the future.

Bourdet-Pees said that he hoped “one day to be able to present wines from these unidentified varieties”.

Plans are already in place to produce five further wines from native varieties, all red as Bourdet-Pees noted: “We are doing well with whites for now so I wanted to develop the reds, I think it’s more exciting.”

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