It was fun to meet Cork’d Content editor Jon Troutman in real life at the Grenache Symposium in the south of France. We’ve had lots of virtual run-ins because Cork’d works with my family’s wines, but it’s always nice to meet IRL. I’m happy to see he’s still talking about some of the great Languedoc and Roussillon wines that were being showcased at the Symposium.
I promise I’ll visit Richard Case at Domaine Pertuisane and show you some of his old vines, all planted on stoney slopes that produce some of the best Maury I’ve ever tasted. Case compares to even the top cuvées from my friend at Calvet-Thunevin, also producing in Maury, and I’m always happy to discover another great estate in the area. The focus on this wine is power, extraction and density. VERY interesting wine.
Here we have one of TWO epic panel of winemakers at the Grenache Symposium held in the Rhone last week. The Q&A can get a little dry at times, but I think some of you will appreciate it. If it gets too technical, feel free to fast forward through the video to see other people talk.
I think the most interesting thing about this footage is that it shows the huge amount of knowledge and detail that went into the Symposium. This was not a fluff-oriented conference. We had a group that truly understands the strengths and challenges facing Grenache grapes around the world. If anything, posting video from the Symposium is making me realize that we need to do a sort of entry-level translation for people who just like wine. More on this to follow.
The people who talk in this video include:
Ray O’Connor, wine writer of the year and my name nemesis, asks “What is the ageability of Grenache as a single varietal and as a blend?”
Randall Grahm, winemaker at Bonny Doon, answers by talking about the hidden power of Grenache
Vincent Avril, of Clos des Papes, gets into some of the details about blended Grenache in Chateauneuf du Pape
Chester Osborn, from d’Arenberg, talks about how Grenache responds to vintages in Australia
Eben Sadie, from Terroir Al Limit Soc. Lda and Sequillo Cellars, talks about making single estate Grenache in Priorat and South Africa and the challenges involved in single varietal Grenache and ripeness
Philippe Cambie, winemaker in Chateauneuf du Pape and around the south of France, talks about the effect of fermenting with stems versus destemming
Hervé Bizeul asks about the proper level of volatile acids in a good grenache and a great grenache
Cambie coyly answers that the good level is the one you have when you finish fermenting, wherever it is.
Tim Atkin asks if there is any place in the world where Grenache should be grown where it is not already grown
Cambie coyly answers “In my garden.”
We had an epic dinner and I’ll post lots of photos, but this short video is the dozen and some winemakers who proudly presented their wines at Puech Haut’s dinner Tuesday night.
As you can see, they are a fun and goofy group. But the wines don’t mess around.
It’s probably the best traditional meal I’ve ever had. Four courses, cheese and dessert. Sticking to traditional cuisine with a few inspired highlights and garnishes to update the dishes. And three to four excellent wines with every course (selected by Philippe Cambie to accompany each part of the meal).
I’m proud to see Languedoc wines like Oustal Blanc’s Maestroso and Puech Hauts’ wines served alongside legendary names in Chateauneuf du Pape and the rest of the Rhone and even some of our neighbors in Spain.