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A vineyard at the heart of History and Legends

                   A vineyard in the heartland of the garrigue

                                      A vineyard in the heart of men 

“Of the Mediterranean, today, we only seem to see the scenery, the alliance between sea and sun, relief and vegetation, the graceful gift of a generous, gorgeous yet hostile   Nature: just beneath the flowers the bedrock appears. No sooner does man let up on his attention and care then the terraces he has patiently established on hillsides fall down, overgrown with bushes, maquis growing again . All along the shores of the Mediterranean, this cycle of dramatic development and desertion occurs and recurs, as if man had difficulty controlling a space always at the point of escaping him, never achieving a complete, uniform domination of the land. Maurice Aymard, la Méditerranée, under the supervision of Fernand Braudel.

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The Pic Saint Loup and Hortus mountains are at the cross-roads of Legend and History. According to a children’s story, they were born from the blow of a club given by a giant who had flown into a terrible rage. Since then the mountain weeps from the Mascla spring. Pic Saint Loup also evokes the name of the sainted knight Loup who, in memory of his lady, became a hermit, singing his undying love from the top of this rocky peak.

These mountains were also the place where the Neanderthal men   found refuge in the caves of the Hortus cliff. Overlooking the valley from their balcony, they were the first to barbecue caribou meat. Hortus was also the name given by the Romans when they discovered with astonishment so many gardens in this area. This valley was also the place where the bishops of Maguelone retired to their country homes when, tired of business, they came to recover in the peaceful hilly setting in the hinterland.

This is a land of vines and olive trees, crossed by shepherds and coal makers of every origin supplying the cities on the sea shore with wool and charcoal. 

Pic Saint Loup and Hortus are the first ramparts of the Cévennes hills, overlooking the Gulf of Lions, surveying the scene from the Mount Ventoux to the Canigou. 

This is a country with rocks and cliffs; with olive trees and broom scattered throughout  and peonies and dandelions nestled in the fallen rocks; caves are a sanctuary for owls and eagle owls, fowl and game ; thickets of holm and pedunculata oak trees offer a festive setting to roe deers and wild boars; scores of rabbits and young partridges play in the branches of rosemary bushes among the scents of thyme, musk and cade. 

Since the time when the first men settled, in the shelter of the Hortus cliff up to now, he has never ceased creating landscape in his own image: clearing the land for cattle and crops, building terraces to prevent the stones from falling down the hills, canalizing rainwater, building shelters: sheepfolds for the animals, houses or little sheds for men and tools. They have blazed trails linking villages to the vineyards and sheepfolds to the summer pastures; they have built castles and hermitages to the glory of our Lord.

Landscapes have evolved along with man’s aspirations, his will being to turn the hostile garrigue into a place of good living. Indeed this country is characterized by a complex balance.

Since the beginning of time, vineyards have been part of the continuity of the country, its climate, morphology and history and are the portrayal men had of themselves in their minds.

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"In essence, the Mediterranean finds its equilibrium in the trio olive trees, vines and wheat."Maurice Aymard, la Méditerranée, under the supervision of Fernand Braudel.



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