Like at own risk:
After liking a Facebook page about rare grape varieties I was fed this link about a small young winery in Aveyron, France looking for crowd funding. Philippe Rousseau and Aline Solignac want to resurrect the old winemaking traditions of the St-Cyprien-sur-Dourdou village close to Marcillac by founding their winery, Le Verdus.
They looked for the reasonable sum of €2500 with the aim of planting a new parcelle of Chenin Blanc (one of my favourite whites) and one I’ve not heard of before: Roussellou.
I decided to spend €100 which would give me six bottles of wine and a tour of the winery. Enough supporters were found and the aim was surpassed, 151% was collected.
The wines were supposed to be delivered in September and to save the winery the higher postage fees to Germany and to get my free tour of the winery it was decided to visit St-Cyprien-sur-Dourdou in the Massif Central, on this years tour through France.
We did arrive one day earlier so we had some time to check out the neighbouring village of Conques, a quaint village set on a hillside retaining the mood of the middle ages and being officially one of the most beautiful villages of France.
Yes, it is quite hilly here. We did cycle here from St-Cyprien, which was ok on the way to Conques as it was going slightly downhill and the wind was blowing from behind…
A film location for a knight and damsel in distress movie anyone?
The Camping-ground in St-Cyprien-sur-Dourdou is set between the sporting ground and the municipal outdoor swimming pool. It looks as if used to be part of the parking lot, the wash rooms are quite rudimentary and are shared with the sportlers.
But who can complain: €14.40 for the camper van, exlectricity, 2 persons, a shady levelled parcelle, own water supply included. Bakery and deli/butcher/grocery within 5 minutes walking distance.
Le Verdus lies slightly outside of St-Cyprien aon a hill. After first day reconnaisance tour with the bicycle we went there with the camper van to meet Philippe, who gave us the tour.
The terrain belongs to his partner’s family. The family were making a lot of wine before the Phylloxera-crisis but emigrated to Argentina where they made their fortune only to return to their origin and rebuild the family estate. It was decided: No more wine.
Instead cattle, wheat, fish were going to be the mainstay. The wine cellar was kept intact, built into the hillside to keep temperatures low and constant.
The building was built about 300 years ago, two storeyd. The bottom part is built into the hill, the top part has direct access to the vineyard via the backdoor. This is where the wine press was installed.
The pressed must can then be channeled down to the bottom floor using pipes and hoses without using any pumps.
The wine is fermented here in the cooler bottom. The barrique barrels are used (5 seasons) and release no more oak aromas but enable a soft ripening. This room is also used to store the bottles and exudes all the charm of an old stone building.
Of course we got to see the newly planted vineyard too..
Two different Chenin Blanc clones were planted here, both of them originating from the Aveyron region. The Roussellou was planted using massal selection, collected by a specialist from old vines in the region.
Roussellou is the local name for St Côme, a white wine variety that Philippe got to know at a friend’s winery who has an experimental vineyard with lost vines of the region. After tasting some wines they both decided to go for this variety.
The grapes that eventually ended up in my wine are 70 year old Fer Servadou (90%) and Jurançon Noir (10%) from a rented vineyard in neighbouring Salles-la-Source. The vineyard can be used for Marcillac AOC but Philippe decided to go for a Vin de Pays de l’Aveyron for his first wine.
Philippe wants to plant a parcelle of red vines for Marcillac AOC wines but to conform with french law he has to show his ability to make a Marcillac wine first, thus the chances of him making a Marcillac in 2015 are quite high.
La Mitat in the local dialect: Half, Semi.
The vineyard is only half planted, the cellar is only half ready and the wine was made by Macération Semi-Carbonique.
Mitat is also used by traditional Aveyron dancers to call for another round of music if the musicians want to pack up. Hey guys, you’re too early to pack up, it’s just half time…
The wine is non-filtered, unfined. Indigenuous yeasts, no additives but a small amount of sulphur prior to bottling.
The nose: Beet root, violets, black currants, artificial raspberry.
Refreshing acidity with only light tannins on the palate. Joined by cassis some pepper and fermented cucumbers.
A perfect summer red which doesnt complain if served slightly cooler. 7€ at the winery.Ok, I did pay a bit more but that’s not what counts in crowd funding.