Many of France’s vineyards have ancient origins; regions that were settled by the Romans certainly saw the planting of vineyards (if the Celts of Gaul had not already done the job). Some regions still bear traces of this early Roman presence, the most evocative piece of evidence I have seen being a beautiful tesseri floor at Château La Gaffelière, excavated in a corner of their vineyard, and believed by some to have been part of the villa of Ausonius.
It is not just Bordeaux or Burgundy that can claim such superb heritage though; Pouilly-Fumé also has similarly ancient origins. Even the name, Pouilly, is derived from the latin Pauliacum super fluvium ligerim (literally, Pauliacum above the river Loire, today simplified to Pouilly-sur-Loire). A Roman road, now the route of the A77 which cuts in front of the cellars belonging to Michel Redde, follows the course of this ancient highway.
To the north of Pouilly-sur-Loire, very close to the route of this old Roman thoroughfare, lies the vineyard of L’Arrêt Buffatte, which derives its name from an old stop-off point on the road, where travellers could rest and horses be refreshed. With desirable Kimmeridgian terroir and an elevated aspect it is a vineyard with the potential to produce some very fine wines. It is, today, in the possession of Annick Tinel-Blondelet (pictured above).
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