Olivier Bernard, owner of Domaine de Chevalier and Domaine de la Solitude in Pessac Léognan, is to vinify the oldest vine(s) growing in the Bordeaux region for the first time, with the 2015 harvest.
The vine(s), which are in fact just one single plant but with the canopy grown across a pergola with around eight shoots, belong to the city of Bordeaux and are growing in Place de la Victoire.
The grape variety, Txakoli Noir (also known as Tchacouli), is highly unusual and thought to have originated in the Basque country.
Until the 1970s there were six vine plants in Place de la Victoire, four red and two white. The surviving vine, that was harvested on the evening of 23rd September by Bernard and a group of local volunteers, is at least 200 years old.
‘The challenge of making wine with this historic grape variety was impossible to resist,’ Bernard told decanter.com.
‘And the possibility of taking cuttings and planting them in other parts of downtown Bordeaux is wonderful. I love the idea of helping the city reclaim this piece of its history’.
Until 2015, the grapes were harvested and vinified by an agricultural college in Blanquefort on the outskirts of Bordeaux. This year they will be vinified in Domaine de la Solitude and will be called La Vigne Bicentenaire.
‘We will vinify in a single barrel, and make perhaps 40 bottles that will belong to Bordeaux. On first taste of the grapes, the skin is fairly fragile, with good sugar levels and a touch of rusticity. But that’s allowed after 200 years of life…’.