Friday, 8 March 2013
Saint-Chinian: some old varieties with Thierry Navarre
Mid to late afternoon of the very wet Wednesday (March 6th) we went with Thierry Navarre to see his vines high above the picturesque little village of Roquebrun. The last time I was there it was high summer with the little Italianate village that nestles up the steep hillside over the River Orb full of visitors. The contrast was marked – wind, heavy rain and the river overflowing its banks.
We were with Thierry to see some of the vines that have been virtually lost. Varieties that were around before the arrival of phylloxera – Oeillades (amorous glances) and the more unusual Rybeyrenc, which is the last variety to be picked. "This is the oldest variety in Languedoc," explained Thierry. He has become known for his interest in preserving old varieties – in part because they are part of the history but, more importantly, because they make attractive wines lower in alcohol those the grapes that now dominate the production of appellation reds in the Languedoc.
2011 Vin dOeillades, Domaine Navarre
Due to the rain I'm afraid I have no photos of the hillsides nor one of a Rybeyrenc vine, pruned in a bush style (gobelet). We did, however, taste both an Oeillades and Rybeyrenc starting with the 2011 D'Oeillades with lovely light, juicy fruit with a touch of spice. Not a wine to analyse but one to drink with friends – un vin des copains!
2010 Rybeyrenc, Domaine Navarre
The 2010 Rybeyrenc has a little more concentration with attractive red fruits.