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Plaimont Producteurs re-introduces ‘long lost’ Tardif grape variety

Published:  14 September, 2017

Plaimont Producteurs, one of France’s leading co-operative, has gained permission to re-introduce long lost grape variety Tardif, which is thought to have been lost to phylloxera long ago.

The grape, which was discovered in the Pédebernade vineyard in the Gers village of Sarragachies around 1999 alongside 21 other varieties, is to be re-listed in the official catalogue of permitted varieties in France.

It is expected wine produced with Tardif, the first grape variety to have been inscribed by Plaimont into the French catalogue for grape varieties, will be making wine for commercial production by 2020.

Since the 1980s, the co-operative has been surveying old parcels in order to collect rare and unknown species and replant them in their private vine conservation vineyard, which it claims to be the largest of its kind in France.

Nadine Raymond, Plaimont technical co-ordinator for ampelography and winemaker for the rediscovered grape varieties, said: “We are delighted that we can reintroduce an indigenous grape variety of such high quality, adding the nursery was coming along nicely with plans in place to start planting next Spring.”

Tardif has unique characteristics; indigenous to the region, it is much slower in its vegetative development with optimal maturity peaking around the end of October to early November. It also has a “significant” percentage of Rotundone, the compound causing peppery and spicy notes, andis is directly related to another unknown ancient grape variety named Pédebernade 4, also discovered in the Pédebernade parcel.

In the context of global warming, the grape variety could eventually become of “great importance,” said Raymond.

Another ancient grape variety to be championed by Plaimont is Manseng Noir, which already existed in the catalogue. The Co-operative gained the right to plant it and now uses it in Côtes de Gascogne IGP wines.