The Larzac of France, essentially the southern end of the Massif Central mountains, is an area whose name remains relatively unknown to most of the earth’s population, yet conjures up much in the mind of the French. Given its remoteness and sparse population, the Larzac became the place to be in the 1970s for the “back-to-earth” movement in France. Hippies, revolutionaries, and Luddites found cheap land and privacy on the mountainous plateau and engaged in their agricultural adventures. Remember José Bové, the pipe-smoking, barbell-mustachioed farmer who bulldozed a McDonald’s under construction in 1999 and went on to become the icon of the anti-globalization movement? That’s the Larzac for you. Working small parcels of vines planted by rebellious, off-the-grid farmers decades ago, Les Vignes Oubliées puts that spirit right into bottle. This is a wine proud, unpolished, and unique.
In the 1950s, Tour du Bon was owned by a family originally from Champagne, and they baptized each vine planted on the estate with a dollop of bubbly from Bouzy. Agnès Henry and her family arrived in 1968 and continued that kind of attentiveness, becoming pioneers in the region for organics, biodynamics, and natural winemaking. For this cuvée, Agnès takes Mourvèdre, the dominant grape here—which she compares to a Spanish bull, with heavy feet anchored to the ground—and blends mainly with Grenache, which she sees as an airier counterpoint, a sort of mellow cherry brandy, which smooths out the bull’s raw power. Years of care, trailblazing, and experience clearly show at first sip.
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