Since 1933, the Clos Montmartre, planted with some 1700 vines, has been one of the last remnants of the wine-growing past of Paris and Ile-de-France. This year, the 2016 vintage is offered for tasting and sale during the harvest festival.
Created in the early 1930s in response to the urbanization of the hill, it remains a symbol of the life of the small village of Montmartre. It is on this small sloping plot, facing north, that the teams of gardeners of the Paris City Hall, led today by Vincent (predestined first name) under the leadership of the oenologist Sylviane, are trying to maintain the local wine-growing tradition.
And we can say that it is a real challenge... Rainy climate, north facing, old and tired vines, not very well adapted to the lean and sandy soil... You have to keep faith to produce good grapes. Especially since today, even if the vineyard is not certified, it is cultivated according to the principles of organic agriculture, avoiding synthetic herbicides and pesticides.
However, each vintage, efforts are made to gradually improve the quality of Montmartre wine. Replacement of old vines by climate- and disease-tolerant varieties, better sorting of grapes, use of modern winemaking methods to protect the wine from oxidation during vinification, abandonment of sulphites,... Gradually, the wine becomes more and more drinkable.
1600 bottles of red and rosé wine will be available for the 2016 vintage, which was very mild. Unfortunately, the drought in July will have overtaken the quantity this year, and half as many bottles will be produced from the 2017 harvest onwards.
I must admit that I personally did not appreciate the rosé of the 2013 vintage... But given the progress made since then, I am curious to taste a cup of the new vintage. And then the profits from the sale benefit the good works, it's worth a try, isn't it?
Notice to Ile-de-France residents, meet at the Comité des Fêtes et d'Actions Sociales, place Jean Marais, from 13 to 15 October for the tasting!
Jules Lamon for Les Grappes