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Domaine LABRANCHE LAFFONT - Madiran
Tannat grape variety in Madiran by Labranche Laffont estate
Christine Dupuy is in the head of Domaine Labranche Laffont (Madiran appellation) since 1993, when she completed her oenology studies. When she settled in the family estate, she perpetuated a tradition that goes back to the French Revolution ... nothing but that! She became the youngest winemaker of the Madiran appellation, and decided to move the lines to the Labranche Laffont vineyard, shaking up the tradition.
Christine Dupuy initially began to reduce the chemical inputs, until receiving the organic certification, with a concern for the respect of the land and its vines. And not just any vines! Indeed, the estate Labranche Laffont has a small jewel of half a hectare only (on the twenty hectares that counts the estate), which is the great feature of the estate, and pushes the vine grower to pamper his vines more than any Which: prephylloxeric tannat plants.
What is a Prephyllox Vine? It is a foot dating from before the phylloxera, this nematode which decimated the French vineyard from 1870.
This is not a simple "weird thing", with little consequence on the vines and the wines, (apart from the fact that these vines are more than 150 years!). Christine Dupuy explains very well the stakes hidden behind the "folklore" of this testimony of the past. In fact, in order to fight phylloxera, the French winemakers have put in place the rootstock, produced from American plants naturally resistant to the disease. Today, all plantations of vines are made from seedlings created from a rootstock and a clone, multiplied to infinity. This unavoidable practice impoverishes plant material and genetic diversity. The prephylloxeric plots, which are therefore planted with vines "franc de pied", are the last testimonies of these vines with plant material still very diversified.
The yields of such old vines are very low, but what a concentration! In the great years, the grapes are vinified separately into new ones of 500 liters, in whole grains, just scratched. Breeding is long, at least 36 months. The wine from this single vineyard has a deep, deep-rooted material, one of the last testimonies of the original flavor of tannat.
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