Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Saint Mont is at once a very unusual location for an emerging wine region and, at the same time, the most natural place in the world for one to be found.
Saint Mont is named after a town so small—only 350 people live there—that it can only be found on the most detailed of French regional maps.
Saint Mont has the perfect climate and terroir for growing grapes and making wines and has been doing so since time immemorial. When Benedictine monks founded the Saint Mont Monastery in 1050, they brought new savoir-faire to the region's vernacular wine culture. That monastery's vineyard, a beautiful plot, is still in production today.
The dynamic founder of Plaimont, André Dubosc, also successfully spearheaded the drive to have the region officially recognized as Saint Mont. Today, about half of Saint Mont's more than 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of vines are used to make red wine, with Tannat as the lead grape. The remaining half is split between rosés (30 percent) and whites (20 percent) from regional grapes. Export activities to the U.S. are now being ramped up.
Eric Fitan is head of the Saint Mont appellation and manages Plaimont's Conservatoire Ampélograhique in Pouydraquin, a living library of around 60 vines. "About half are grape varieties used to make wine in the South West and half rediscovered vines."