Plaimont permitted to reintroduce long-lost Tardif grape

Plaimont Producers, the co-operative in South West France, has succeeded in gaining permission to reintroduce the long-lost grape variety ‘Tardif’.

The grape variety was discovered in the Pedebernade vineyard in the Gers village of Sarragachies in 1999 by Jean-Paul Houbart, Plaimont’s technical wine researcher, along with Jean Michel Boursiquot and his team.

The Pedebernade vineyard is pre-phylloxera and thought to date back to 1830.

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 is the largest of its kind in France.

Natalie Raymond, Plaimont’s technical coordinator 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. The nursery is coming along nicely and we are looking forward to planting it next Spring.”

Tardif has unique characteristics; indigenous to the region is it much slower in its vegetative development with optimal maturity peaking around the end of October to early November. In the context of global warming, this grape variety could eventually become of great importance, according to Plaimont. It also has a significant percentage of Rotundone, the compound causing peppery and spicy notes.

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 Cotes de Gascogne IGP wines. Around 40 hectares are being replanted to be used in the cuvee Mooseng, which is currently a blend of Merlot and Manseng Noir, but aiming to become a 100% varietal cuvee within the next couple of years. 

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