Press release21st June 2012
Phylloxera defying vineyard gains protected historic landmark status in France
A parcel of vines close to 200 years old in the Saint Mont appellation, South West France has become the first vineyard in France to be officially recognised as a protected historic landmark by the French government run Regional and Heritage Sites Commission of the Midi-Pyrénées (CRPS).
Situated in the heart of the Saint Mont appellation in the village of Sarragachies in the Gers department, this unique parcel of vines of just 0.5 acres was listed due to its “exceptional character and cultivation methods over the past century”.
The vineyard benefits from a sandy sub-soil which has enabled it to resist Phylloxera, the insectresponsiblefor decimating entire wine regions around Europe in the late nineteenth century.
For generations, the owners have passionately protected this vineyard using traditional viticultural methods such as double vine-stock planting (plantation en pieds doubles disposés en carré) where two vine-stocks are planted together in a square layout rather than traditional rows. These methods have all but disappeared in modern winemaking.
Showing the biodiversity of the region’s vineyard, this plot contains around 20 individual different grape varieties, including seven unidentified to date by leading viticulture and ampelographic experts such as Jean-Michel Boursiquot, Thierry Lacombe and Olivier Yobrégat.
This recognition, a first in France, is the culmination of a longstanding commitment by Plaimont Producteurs and their desire to not only preserve the heritage of these historical vineyards but to guarantee the future of these appellations from the Pyrenean foothills.
Commenting on this recognition, Oliver Bourdet-Pees, Managing Director for Plaimont said “We are absolutely delighted to gain such a prestigious recognition. It is inthis regionthat a great number of grape varieties used in the South-West and Atlantic coast were born, such as cabernet sauvignon” he explains. “Some varietals in this ancient vineyardhave been completely forgotten and we are still carrying out tests to determine what they are.” Bourdet-Pees adds.
Plaimont Producteurs are actively involved in ampelography (the study of vines and grapes) and set up the Conservatory of Saint Mont in 2002,where they have saved many grapes from extinction, including Pinenc, Petit Courbu and Arrufiac, which are now used in the majority of the company’s wines.
In 2010, Olivier Bourdet-Pees and Plaimont founder André Dubosc held the inaugural Ampelographic seminar in Saint Mont to highlight the studies and the 60 unique, lesser-known grape varieties, synonymous with the South-West of France.
Notes to editors:
Born from the union of Caves de PLaisance, Caves d’AIgnan and Cave de Saint MONT in 1979, Plaimont is located in South West France, nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is the largest wine supplier in South-West France: 38 million bottles produced (55% exported) and now represents over 1000 winegrowers dedicated to the recognition of their region.
Plaimont in figures
1,000 producers – 5,300 ha of vines – Appellations Saint-Mont, Madiran, Pacherenc, IGP Côtes de Gascogne (Colombelle and Florenbelle), Gers, Comté Tolosan and Condomois
385000 hl produced
19 000 m2 air conditioned cellars
38 million bottles sold in 30 countries over 5 continents
70 million euros in consolidated sales
For further information, high-res images or samples please contact:
Alex Layton at Westbury Communications
T: 0208 682 9020