Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ripley-esque truth is stranger than fiction

A vineyard has been located in the little known Gers region of southwest France with vines believed to be at least 190 years old. There are apparently 20 varieties, including seven unknown to authorities. The seven unknown varieties have been named Pedebernade 1 to 7 in honour of the family which has tended the vineyard for eight generations. Judging by the photograph, these are indeed extraordinarily old vines.  The question is why phylloxera didn’t leave its calling card.  It may be sandy soil, but it’s also possible the remote location and lack of awareness of the vineyard may have meant that no infected material was brought to the site in the 19th/early 20th centuries. This is in turn consistent with the grapes having never been made into a discrete wine; rather, they have been sold to the local co-operative. Plans are now afoot to make a wine from the vineyard, but whether it will be from the unknown vines or from tannat and fer servadou (both red grape varieties) isn’t known.

The head of the Ger region cultural affairs department has honoured the vineyard as a historic monument, of slightly less importance than the moves for UNESCO recognition of the historic (and ongoing) importance of Burgundy and its appellations.

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