Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Clos Montmartre, the oldest vineyard in Paris

When I moved to France a few months ago I knew my life would have been filled with wine, and it has been exactly like that: I am fully absorbed by French wine production and I am tasting and learning every day more.

But I was not expecting to find in a big modern metropolis such as Paris a beautiful and functioning vineyard.
Yes, a proper vineyard in the middle of the city and more precisely in one of the most touristy areas! 
To be honest, I also found out that there is actually more than one vineyard in Paris, but the oldest one (and the one I have randomly bumped into) is on the `Butte Montmartre`.

Here there's a long story: vines were present on this popular hill since the the X century. The monks of a Benedictine abbey were making wine at the time. When the abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution the vineyards continued to be used by the locals but they were later abandoned and completely disappeared in the XIX century when the wine trade in Paris was mainly dominated by the Loire and Burgundy wines and the urbanization expansion in Montmartre had invaded all the space.

A restoration project led by a group of independent artists has made the replanting possible in 1932. Now the vineyard is property of the city of Paris and it is taken care by the capable hands of the city gardeners.

It covers around 1500 square meters, producing around 500 liters of wine from  approximately 2000 plants of various grape varieties. The wine is labelled as Clos Montmartre and the labels are designed by local artists.

As I have never tasted it, I cannot express an opinion on the quality of this wine...so I am planning to attend the annual Fête des Vendanges, taking place from the 8th to the 14th of October this year...and will let you know!