Posts tagged: grenache

Costieres de Nimes – A Walk in the Vines

Earlier this year, a group of bloggers participated in a very interesting introduction to the Costieres de Nimes.

Costieres de Nimes

As I mentioned in last year’s Secret Wine competition, Costieres de Nimes is an interesting wine country that sits between the Languedoc and Rhone (both geographically and stylistically).  This unique position allows them to create their own style of elegant, rich wines.

A few observations:

  • Mostly red and rosé; syrah, grenache, etc.
  • Most producers I met seemed to have relatively large properties (40+ hectares)
  • about 100 wineries and 400-some growers.
  • Approximately 4500 hectares
  • mixed agriculture and viticulture
  • The vines were at least 3 weeks ahead of schedule in May 2011

I just popped a bottle of Chateau Mourgues du Gres yesterday with my dad.  It was one of my favorite producers from the trip, and the bottle I brought home was just as good as I remembered.  Here’s a video of the winemaker at Mourgues du Gres recorded by Christian Pennaud from Vinblog.

Costieres de Nimes is a region where people can make rich wines with a lot of balance. My kind of place.

I might also note that this is a slightly more agrarian landscape than many parts of the south of France. Beside vineyards, you could find fruit orchards, squash gardens, and other signs that there’s a little more water in the Costieres de Nimes than you might find in the heights of the Coteaux du Languedoc. It’s not ALL garrigue here. And that’s not a bad thing. The ultimate proof that this is an interesting terroir is that we tasted great wine (and enjoyed a beautiful walk too!)

Vignes Toquées

The Vignes Toquées event is a really wonderful opportunity to taste wine in context amidst the vines. You walk along a route that connects six vineyards. Each vineyard has a food station so that, by the end of the day, you’ve had a six course meal, tasted dozens of wines, and seen several different properties.

You really get to roam around where the wine comes from. See the vines. Kick the dirt. Feel the Mediterranean sunshine (and this May, it was out IN FORCE).

The biggest problem with tasting wine this way is that you can get really really hot (and somewhat exhausted). But the producers did an amazing job of keeping wines at temperature and the food was delicious.  And they had lots of water at all the stations.  Seasoned wine tasters know that water can be a rare commodity at some tasting events.  But there was plenty here to keep us hydrated as we walked in the warm Mediterranean sunshine.  Though I will admit that even I started to falter somewhere between the bull meat and the cheese course.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was drinking more water than wine by the end of the walk (liters of both! ;D)

All in all, these sort of ballades gourmandes are really awesome. Although you should remember to pace yourself!

Toward the end of the day, I caught up with Daniel Roche who has helped to organize the Vignes Toquees and other ballades gourmandes around the region.  He refused to take credit for how well the event ran, but you can tell he’s very pleased!  “Il faisait beau. Il fasait chaud.  Mais on est comme-même dans une région de chaleur et de soleil donc c’est bien qu’il faisait beau et chaud!”

What kind of people come to Vignes Toquees?

I also love how varied the crowd was. French and foreign. Young and old. People came as couples, family outings, or just a fun day with friends. It’s great to see that the event appeals to such a diverse array of people.

Some of the other bloggers’ accounts

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Grenache Day – Harvesting Grenache in the south of France

You’re thinking to yourself, Ryan only posts aggregated updates these days.  Well, I have long dreamed for the day when I can just sit back and feature the brilliant multimedia buffet of other wine producers in the Languedoc-Roussillon.  And around harvest time, it seems all the blogs, youtubes, flickers, facebooks, twitters, etc. come back to life.  People are posting absolutely amazing content all around the south of France and I am here to bring you my highlights.

And this post will be about Grenache, because today is International Grenache Day, as determined by the Grenache Symposium which Love That Languedoc covered extensively.  This day is devoted to Grenache in all its forms, blanc, gris, noir, whether it be sweet or dry.  It can even call itself Garnacha and walk around wooing the girls with its thick Spanish accent and Mediterranean flair.  It can also sometimes go as Garnatxa, Ґарнача, Cannonau, グルナッシュ, ренаш, and גרנאש.  It’s no surprise that the grape has a name in every language seeing as how it’s the most planted red grape on earth, and it surely would have won “Most likely to succeed” in its high school superlatives.  That is if Grenache weren’t such a cool dude who almost never gets credit for his work.  He stays behind the scenes, making the wine world go round and he is cool with that.

But not today.  People have decided that we are going to make a big deal and throw an International parade for #Grenache.  And hoorah!

It’s harvest time and I’m super busy, but I wanted to assemble some of my favorite Grenache-related posts for you from the Languedoc Roussillon.  Enjoy!  And open a bottle of Grenache!

This is the Grenache coming off the sorting table at Domaine Gayda. Gayda is also the home of Vinécole which had a big Grenache Day bash today.

And here is footage from Vinecole’s actual Grenache Day brut de cuve tasting!  It’s several youtube videos in a play list, so you can watch them all in one go.

harvesting grenache gris at <a href=

Finding the Grenache Gris at Domaine Jones can be a task in itself.  I think this is one of those vineyards where the gris is planted here and there amidst the grenache noir.

really excited french guy harvesting at mas de l'ecriture

I’m not actually sure if this is a Grenache harvest, but it’s at Mas de l’Ecriture and they definitely do have delicious Grenache.  Judging by the look on this guy’s face, it’s coming in really well this year!

Roadside in the Roussillon. This video from les vignerons de Trémoine is 100% honest, showing some Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris coming in together on the trailer.

A little over edited for my tastes, but I love the effort to bring the whole Domaine Sainte Rose harvest to you in a short video. Although, hold the uninspired indie music please. Thank you.

And here’s a link to more 2010 harvest fun in the South of France. Enjoy a bottle of Grenache with some friends!

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Wine Tourism at the Grenache Symposium – Love that Languedoc

A subject that came up a lot at the Grenache Symposium was oenotourism, or wine tourism.  The idea is that tourism creates potential fans and potential ambassadors of your wine.  If there’s one thing better than somebody who drinks your wine, it’s somebody who gets all their friends to drink your wine too!

So there are two little clips I want to show.

In one clip, Reva K Singh discusses the possibility of creating a capital for Grenache.  By creating a sort of Ground Zero for Grenache, she can motivate her readership in India to travel to that capital with the specific goal of tasting delicious Grenache.

We talked about a lot of different areas that were viable candidates to be the “capital” of Grenache.  While I want to say it’s the Roussillon or Catalunya, I understand that we can’t hog all the glory in the Languedoc-Roussillon.  It might actually make more sense to favor an idea that the Mediterranean is the “capital” of Grenache.  Mediterranean vacations speak to people all over the world as a sort of luxurious vacation spot.  That high-profile can benefit the grape more than just saying the name of one city or one specific appellation like Chateauneuf du Pape.

Maybe this is a place for umbrella brands like Sud de France.  That name is a lot catchier than Languedoc and it encompasses a lot of the Mediterranean wine producing regions.  But then maybe it would alienate our friends in the Priorat and other Grenache producers who don’t consider themselves French.

I wonder if Australians, Americans, South Africa and everybody else producing delicious Grenache far from the Mediterranean would be okay with this idea.

Then Robert Joseph had an interesting bit to say about the lack of well-developed wine tourism in France.  And this hits home.  We really have a responsibility to set up an infrastructure for tourists who want to come to our country and taste wine.  It’s our responsibility!  I might translate this into French, because it will do more good in French than in English.

But anyway, Joseph talks about how French wine tourism is lacking and how we can learn a lot by observing Lafitte’s efforts in China. There’s money and power in tourism.  It could be a major source of income for winemakers in the near future.

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Réduire l’Alcool des Vins Issus de Grenache – Les Viticulteurs du Symposium du Grenache Offrent des Solutions

Le Premier Symposium International du Grenache a rassemblé beaucoup d’experts et j’ai eu l’opportunité de capter une des interventions où on a adressé un sujet très important pour le marché Français et pour le Grenache en particulier: la question du niveau d’alcool.

Pour les lecteurs du site qui ne sont pas initiés, le Grenache est un cépage qui peut accumuler beaucoup de sucre et atteindre des niveaux de maturité assez élevés. Et la tendance dans certains pays comme la France et le Royaume Uni encourage les vignerons de faire des vins plus léger en alcool.

Donc il est normal que le sujet sur l”alcool soit adressé au symposium.

On entend un peu de tout. Il y a des méthodes pour extraire l’alcool du vin et il est aussi suggéré qu’on peut simplement vendanger plus tôt. La question de l’importance des phénoliques est soulevé.  Tout cela est très intéressant pour le geek du vin.

Ma solution favorite est peut-être de verser un centimètre de moins dans chaque verre de vin pour arriver a un taux d’alcool plus modéré!

On fait beaucoup de manières mais peut-être cette dernière solution toute simple va apaiser le client qui veut éviter de trop boire tout en laissant le vigneron libre de faire le meilleur vin possible, même si son vin comporte un taux d’alcool un peu plus important.  Est-ce que cette idée fera trembler le blogosphère autant que la suggestion de Philippe Gimel sur le blog de Miss Glouglou de se mettre à table avec un crachoir à chaque repas?

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