Local, forgotten grapes are put into use again in Languedoc

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Interest in local, half-forgotten grape varieties is increasing. Thierry Navarre, a skilled wine grower in Saint Chinian, Languedoc, has discovered that the ribeyrenc, morastell, terret and œillade grapes have a lot to offer, not least a lower alcohol than is otherwise customary in the Languedoc.

The region has changed a lot in the last 40 years. Many local grape varieties were not included in the regulations when the new Languedoc appellations were created. Syrah was introduced as a so-called improvement grape and is now the most widely grown grape in Languedoc. But nowadays, Thierry often harvests grenache, the frontrunner grape of the region, with 15% alcohol, and syrah cannot manage without irrigation. No wonder he is trying something different.

He started, several years ago, with ribeyrenc, which ripens late and which he harvests at the end of September. It gives only 12.5% alcohol content, even in really hot years.

Read more: Mon-viti

Winery and vineyards in Languedoc
Winery and vineyards in Saint-Chinian, Languedoc, copyright BKWine Photography

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