A story of an illicit wine, one with a history of a hysterical hunt to destroy these vines with bad blood in them. This wine is still illegal, and I have to say after reading the story, that I’d love to get my hands on a bottle, it sounds delicious.
“This cuvée hails from the tiny, remote village of Beaumont, where it’s been perfected by five generations of local winemakers,” whispers Borel. For the past 84 years, the French government and, most recently, the European Union, has sought to eradicate Beaumont’s grapevines due to their American “blood.” Although the vines are French-American hybrids, they are more than 140 years old. Beaumont’s Association Mémoire de la Vigne makes just 7,000 bottles a year.
“This wine should be celebrated as others are,” says Hervé Garnier, the 66-year-old Association Mémoire de la Vigne president and founder. Garnier loves Beaumont, which is situated in Cévennes National Park along France’s highest mountain range, and is home to groves of chestnut trees, wild boar, and high rocky cliffs. Its centuries-old stone buildings have terracotta roofs and rocky terraces, and are etched into the hillsides overlooking the Beaume River. Since its founding in the 11th century, sheepherders have practiced transhumance—moving herds to summer in alpine meadows—by way of traditional paths. They are some of the last in the world to do so.
“What wine do you think they carry when they go?” fumes Garnier. “For 150 years, the Cuvée des Vignes d’Antan is the taste of this land. And yet, a ridiculous archaic law tries to destroy it!”
Indeed. If it wasn’t for Garnier and a group of unruly older winemakers, Beaumont’s wine would be lost to history.
You can see and read much more at Atlas Obscura.