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Plaimont celebrates the French Paradox

Cotes de St Mont VDQS and Madiran AC celebrate significant anniversaries in 2007 – 25 years for St Mont and 100 years for Madiran. These anniversaries coincide with the recent interest in the Tannat grape for its health-giving properties. The Plaimont Co-operative has been key to the development of these appellations.

The French Paradox in South-West France is based on a unique combination of terroir, growing practices and grape varieties. In concrete terms:
• a growing process, described in the winegrower’s production specifications set up some 30 years ago – disbudding, leaf plucking, yield control through cluster thinning, health status control, etc. -, which enables the grapes to reach perfect maturity,
• “privileged” grapes: the grapes growing in the Pyrenean area have the advantage of late bud break and flowering. They are thus protected from bad weather in Spring, frost and poor berry set, and enjoy cool nights and sunny days during late Summer, which gives rise to the particular maturity that is specific to the region. Grape harvesting is left until late in September,
• in-depth knowledge of plot soils.

Also associated are traditional winemaking methods:
• beginning of vinification through slow fermentation, which promotes extraction during the non-alcoholic phase (pre-fermentation maceration under controlled temperature),
• traditional vinification with temperature control and long maceration,
• maturation on lees with controlled aeration (such wines require much oxygen).

The current techniques respect and reinforce these principles of traditional winemaking.

Within the framework of his work, Professor Roger Corder has analysed many wines from around the world. The results are to be found in his book The Wine Diet.

Among the wines analysed in this region, the following have been awarded an “excellent standard” rating:
• St-Mont, Château de Sabazan, Château de St-Go, Château du Bascou, Le Faîte.
• The Plaimont producers’ Madiran Plénitude
• Madiran Château de Crouseilles and Château d’Arricau-Bordes from the Crouseilles wine co-operative.

 Dr Roger Corder has a new book coming out in September 2007 – The Red Wine Diet

Plaimont wines in the UK are stocked by (amongst others) the Wine Society – the Chateau de Sabazan Cotes de St Mont VDQS has been a favourite of mine – a good oaked tannat red, but with a touch more fruit than many Madirans A gorgeous ripe tasting red from Gascony” (£9.50)

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