Viella is a warmful village in the well-known Gers, with an extraordinary wine : the Pacherenc.(click to "vignoble") (and another one, the Madiran)
Pacherenc du Vic Bilh (8000 hl) is an aromatic dry or sweet white wine.
The vineyard, enhanced by the Benedictine monks in the XIth century is located on the borders of the Gers, Pyrénées Atlantiques and Hautes Pyrénées départements.
Madiran (75000 hl) is a sturdy and intensely coloured red wine, AOC since 1948.
Visit the village (to go to Viella, click to "aller à Viella") and discover its pleasures, especially during the last day of the year.
There are the famous haricot tarbais (a bean from Tarbes), cassoulets, cheeses, poultry (duck&goose), confits (preserved meats), foies gras and garlic from the Gers, pigeon madiranais...and onions from Trébons
On 31 DECEMBER :
AN ORIGINAL WAY TO SPEND NEW YEAR'S EVE IN THE GERS FOR VISITORS WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GRAPE HARVEST.
THE LABEL ON THE WINE MADE FROM THESE GRAPES WILL BEAR THE DESIGNATION " HARVESTED ON 1 JANUARY "
The New Year's eve festivities in the village of Viella are an authentic village
fête and people come from far afield to share these very special festivities.
The wonderful story of the Saint-Sylvestre harvest
After a day filled with occasions to meet people, the grape pickers noon dinner,
a visit of the vineyard and demonstrations by coopers and wooden shoemakers, a
bell rings. The grape farmers go off to attend mass at the church in Viella. The
preacher blesses the fruits of this terroir: bread, bunches of grapes dried by
over maturation and wine. During this mass, people in costumes: the pilgrim,
Pierre de Viella, Jacob de Labay, the grape farmer-shepherd, the Magi, Raymond
de Saint-Mont, assemble in a pastoral scene to retrace seven centuries of
harvests. A torch-lit procession follows, with a rendezvous for a grog where the
start of the harvest of the Saint-Sylvestre Pacherenc is declared, under
garlands of frost lit by torches. Thereafter, the entire party warms up at the
Saint-Sylvestre New Year's eve party and at midnight, the Plaimont grape farmers
take leave, the time to pick the grapes at optimal over maturity.
The New Year's eve dinner is open to the public, subject to places available. It
costs about 90 €uros.
Information and reservations, please ring + 33 5 62 69 74 16.
The grape variety Pacherenc has been harvested late in the season for a very
A 1745 edict forbade harvesting before 4 Novembre. In 1991, there was a frost
and the grapes had not attained the requisite level of overmaturity. Given the
circumstances, a decision was taken to wait until 31 December to harvest these
grapes. The altitude and proximity of this vineyard to the Pyrénées mountain
range, where autumn days are warm and nights are cool, the absence of fog, hence
of rot, permit the conservation of these grapes dried by over maturation and
whose degree of natural alcohol attains 19%. Yields are an astonishingly low:
five hectolitres per hectare. But the wine farmers at Plaimont need to protect
the crystallized berries from birds with nets and noisemakers that drive off
thrushes, blackbirds and other birds with sweet toothes. The wine: the rare,
syrupy wine made from these grapes expresses aromas of honey, spices and exotic
fruits. It is onctuous and very ample, and makes a great aperitif or
accompaniment to foie gras
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