Featured in the pictures: joint leading lights in conceiving the Symposium Walter McKinlay of Domaine Mourchon ( that’s Tim Atkins of the Times in the background), Nicole Rolet owner of venue La Verriere and wine Domaine “Chene Bleu”, apparently tireless mover and shaker to get this event up and running (Steven Spurrier standing beside her, as well as the man with the loudest shirts in the universe Chester “d’Arenberg” Osborne), two of the hundreds of vignerons who showed their wines at a series of tastings, here Marie Elisabeth Joyet and Andre Romero both of Rasteau, a view from La Verriere’s swimming pool across their vineyards ( you might spot an upturned vehicle in the distance…I never got to hear the story but this was after a humungous tasting session!)
This last weekend saw wine makers, journalists and others like ourselves interested in wine tourism descend on our neck of the woods to spend 3 days thinking, discussing and planning for a better future for the Grenache grape. The basic premise of the Symposium was that the Grenache grape is something of an unsung hero, often found as a work horse variety but in the right hands with low yields and careful craft in the winery capable of producing glorious wines the match of better known peers Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The outcomes of the debate and all the many actions are too numerous to fully reference here ..check out the Symposium web-site for further information and news…but to give you a flavour: a push to develop more iconic wines as role models for producers (more like Rayas please!) and to capture public attention; a wine/food tasting comparing G with CS/PN based on Pleasure/Price/Partnership (with food/other varieties); smarter education of sommelliers/retail staff; better best practice around serving temperatures…too warm and the high alcohol in G results in lack of balance; A special Grenache day is being organized for September; more research needed on viticultural issues…how can quality be enhanced in the vineyard?
The panel sessions/feedback were accompanied by some superbly well organized and researched comparative tastings..Grenache and Garnacha from Australia/Spain/Italy/Egypt/South Africa/USA were tasted alongside those of the Rhone and Languedoc/Roussillon. Some of my many highlights: Clos des Papes 2007; Domaine des Girasols Rasteau Vieilles Vigne 2005; Domaine Trapadis Gigondas “les Andrets” 2006; Domaine La Soumade Rasteau 2007; Hewitson’s Barossa valley “Miss Harry”2007; from Spain, Navarra region: Domaine Lupier’s “El Terroir”2008; and the piece de resistance the very generous donation, by the magnum, from CDP producer Chateau de la Gardine of their 1952 vintage, still very much alive and with unforgettable aroma of herb, fig and molasses. Who says Grenache isnt capable of long aging? ( actually me quite often, to my tour guests, I stand corrected)
In summary a great cause, a great Symposium, powerful ideas for moving forward, impressive organization and above all that feel good factor of being in at the ground floor of something thats going to grow and grow. Viva our beloved Grenache!
For more go to: www.grenachesymposium.com