Vignes du Maynes proudly bears a crest at the top of the bottle with the year 910 AD.  There is also speculation that the enclosed vineyards (16 acres) have never been treated with chemicals since the beginning.  If so, this may make Vignes du Maynes the oldest organic vineyard in the world?

Whether this is completely true or not may not be known for certain, but it seems that it is plausible and there is an excellent piece (with fantastic photos!) about Vignes du Maynes on Vinography, and I will quote from from it regarding what may be the worlds oldest organic vineyard:  “…an enclosed vineyard that has been continuously planted with vines for 1100 years, sown originally by the Benedictines of the Abbey of Cluny. The vines have never, ever had a single chemical treatment used on them, ever. Nor has the vineyard ever been planted with any modern clone of any grape. Instead it has been replanted over the centuries with the classic selection massale method, which simply takes cuttings from the existing vineyard’s best vines. Most of the vines are at least 50 years old, and some, close to 100 years old.”

This is a pretty amazing story, but the ancient organic card is only one of the pieces that makes Vignes du Maynes such a noteworthy producer.  The cellars, in part, date back 2000 years to the Roman era and feature an underground river.  An underground river, hell yes!  If that wasn’t enough, they are Demeter biodynamic certified and they typically use no sulphur (SO2) at all from harvest to bottle.  Okay, this should have wine geeks salivating and natural wine hatters rolling their eyes at this point.

But wait, there’s more:  the wines are great too!  Here are a couple of bottles I tried recently from Chambers Street Wines, but don’t take my word for it, read the full story on Vinography and go out and try some for yourself.

Vignes du Maynes 2010 Macon-Cruzille “Manganite” $35.99

With no sulphur added, the Manganite opens with some reductive notes (a funk metallic nose), but don’t worry, this fades after about an hour.  Carbonic maceration is employed, followed by fermentation in old vats; yielding a wine pure pomegranate, fresh fig, blackberry, and violets.  There is a very caressing sense to this Gamay; it is pure and a pleasure to drink (once the funk moves off).  Decant for an hour for maximum enjoyment.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Vignes du Maynes 2010 Macon-Cruzille, Pinot Rosé $15.99

Rusty orange peach in color, the nose has a sort of nutty Hibiscus thing going on with hints of tangerine and peach.  On the palate there is a nice dry acidity and the wine has a little bit of that singular WTF factor.  Awesome natural rosé, I like.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED