Portraits Vignerons - Je milite pour les cépages rares et oubliés - Les Grappes

"I'm a campaigner for rare and forgotten grape varieties."

Diary #2: I was the archetype of the overbooked urban girl. I left the TV sets to become a winemaker: the choice of a life.

I don't regret having embarked on this adventure!

Marc and Laetitia

Enthusiasm of course, but also a good dose of stress, a bit of fatigue, a touch of overwork... In short, the archetype of the overbooked urban girl. That's what you would have told yourself if you had met me a few years ago!

The enthusiasm is still there. For the rest, my life changed last year when I decided to take over the family winery located in the Southern Alps. I might as well tell you right away: I don't regret having embarked on this adventure!

This estate, it is eleven hectares of vines and a particularity: it grows on our slopes a rare and forgotten grape variety of the Alpine Arc: the mollard (literally "small mountain", "small mountain"). My father fought for 15 years with the help of the Institut Français de la Vigne to rehabilitate it.

Mollard is the emblematic red grape variety of the Hautes-Alpes.

Mollard is the emblematic red grape variety of the Hautes-Alpes. It is an integral part of the history of the vine in our valleys. It is well adapted to the altitude and the mountainous soil. The resulting vintages give light and fruity red wines that do not exceed 12 degrees of alcohol. Their colour is a deep ruby red. Their nose, spicy and slightly peppery, is characteristic of the grape variety.

However, in the 80s, many winegrowers decided to pull it out to replace it with international grape varieties such as Cabernet or Syrah and thus appeal to a wide range of consumers.

Plots of mollard then remain in the Hautes-Alpes, but due to lack of renewal, their sanitary state deteriorates and the grape variety is threatened with extinction.

At the beginning of the 90s, aware of the potential of this grape variety and concerned about preserving biodiversity, Marc, my father, began experimenting to save the mollard. He is a pioneer and few winegrowers are betting on his success!

He patiently selects the healthiest and most vigorous plants from the high alpine vineyards. After 10 years of study, two of these plants are finally chosen to be conserved and reproduced in order to restart the production of mollard. At the beginning of the 2000s, a "mother vine" was planted and maintained by the German estate.

The adventure is long and costly

The adventure is long and costly, but Marc's work eventually bears fruit. In 2005, Le mollard made its official entry in the French catalogue of grape varieties. A great reward for the winegrower and the institutions that supported him!

This work of safeguarding has made me aware of the incredible richness of our terroirs... All over France, winegrowers are fighting for the diversity of aromas and pleasures against the standardization and uniformity of tastes!

Find my wines on Les Grappes

Laetitia Allemand, winemaker of the German Domain

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