Part of the allure of Pibarnon wines lies in its captivating site overlooking the Mediterranean, where the vines are planted on restanques (traditional Provençal dry-stone retaining walls) up to 300 metres above sea level. Here the plants live in perfect symbiosis with a carefully preserved ecosystem and an exceptional local soil. Those factors on their own would justify the estate’s classification as a “clos” or a “climate”, like the great wines of Burgundy.
As a result of a geological anomaly purported to have taken place at the end of the Mesozoic Era, Pibarnon’s soils contain large quantities of blue marl and limestone, as well as fossil material which is 150 million years older than that found in other parts of the appellation. The dearth of nutrition provided by these stony, fossil-studded soils ensures that the vines achieve maximum vigor through their daily struggle to survive.
In the mid-1950s, Modesto Ramognino, an Italian stonemason from Piedmont, acquired land at Pibarnon with the aim of growing 3.5 hectares of Mourvèdre vines on the hillside. The spot was superb but isolated and arid, without water or electricity. Impelled by an irresistible force that made up for his lack of technical expertise, he nevertheless succeeded in producing a wine somewhat reminiscent of the great Italian Barolos that are so renowned for their simplicity and elegance.