Le 06/03/2015 par Raphaël POMMIER

Notion of terroir n°3

The type of vine (or varietal)

ëlThe plant is the fruit ! That’s what we always say.
Different type of vines will each give some grapes with different fruity tastes.

Some vines will give fruits with a lot of acidity, some other with a lot of sugar, of glycerol, of tannins, of polyphénols, anthocyanes…
Some vines produce white grapes, rosé, red…
And the aromas of the fruits will always been different.

It is the same difference that we could find between different species of strawberries or tomatoes... No wonder the wines are going to taste different.

In the Rhône Valley, the Grenache is the richest grape in sugar. It will give to the wine its body, its content of alcool, since the yeast making the alcool are eating this sugar. It contains also a lot of glycerol which will bring a lot of roundness to the wine. Usually, the fruity taste of the grenache evokes strawberry, raspberry, little clear red fruits.

The Syrah grape is rich in tannin, in anthocyanes (colour) and in tartaric acid. It brings wonderful purple colours to the wines of Notre Dame de Cousignac and a very nice structure in the mouth. Its fresh fruity acidity will evoke blueberry, blackberry, little black red fruits.

The complementary red grapes of the Rhone Valley (Cinsault, Carignan, Counoise, Mourvèdre) help to harmonise the Syrah-Grenache Blend.

The Cinsault, almost a table grape, will make light wine, which is great to temper the powerful Grenache.
The Carignan, has a fruit resembling the syrah, but without the tannins. Harvested late, it could help bring some good acidity to any blend of overheated grape, burned by the sun of the south of France.
The Counoise gives very floral, feminine notes (roses) which will marry the Syrah very well.
The Mourvèdre has a spicy note, that goes very well with the blend of syrah-grenache.

Of course, all these grapes are able to give their best if they are in good health, if the weather is good and if they are on a suitable soil.

That’s where the terroir is really a combination of these three factors.

Imagine a good soil, with the correct vine, but a very rainy vintage… All the water will dilute the taste of the fruits… Not good.
Imagine a perfect weather, with the correct vine, but on a very dry soil, full of stones… All the drought will shrink the grapes, destroying the fruits… Not good.
Imagine a perfect weather, a perfect soil, but with a sick vine… Not good.

That’s where the vinegrower helps. It will be in the lesson #4 !

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