Monday, 22 February 2010

Persan to join the obscure-grape hall-of-fame

Another obscure grape, this time Persan has been voted by the Slotovino Academy to join our obscure-grape hall-of-fame.

Persan is a red grape from Savoie. We cannot sum it up better than one Alex Redfern who writes on his blog:

Persan Its synonyms are: Becuetta, Becuette, Becu, Princens (Maurienne). There are now only a few parcels of Persan left in the Combe de Savoie.
This variety appears to have originated from the vineyard of Princens, in St-Jean de Maurienne. This was one of the great varieties of Savoie, but has declined for a number of reasons, including its sensitivity to oidium, and mildew as well as its early budding which exposes it to spring frosts.
It has had many fans over time and even had a poem dedicated to it - Nicolas Martin's Adioz Nobla Cita (C.16th). According to Doctor Jules Guyot (1807 - 72) "Persan made at Princens in Maurienne is an exceptional wine, of a rare quality. Rich on the nose it unites a warm flavour and causes a physiological action like those of the best Burgundies."
Whilst another doctor, Dr Paul Ramain, explains that "Princens is in my opinion the greatest red wines of Savoy. It is made from… Persan de Maurienne… and [is an] exceptional wine but unfortunately very difficult to get hold of, which keeps our [France's] gourmets ignorant of it. With a rich bouquet, stimulating, powerful (12°) it keeps for a long time, and is very smooth, and acts like a "peacock's tail in the throat" with a strong and persistent taste of raspberries (Clos de Rocheray) or violets (Clos de Petites-Ripes et de Bonne-Nouvelle). It spends 5 years in barrel in a very cold cellar and isn't drunk before it is 15 or 20 years old. This really is a wine that resembles no other fine wine in France and is fit for a princely table and the palate of the best informed gastronomes!"
This great variety was thought to have disappeared, but was recently rediscovered and is being grown by a few vignerons in the Combe de Savoie - and me.

(Note the charming reference to 12° as 'powerful').

We would add that the 100% Persan we found was aromatic - not to the extent of Pineau d'Aunis but pleasantly so, giving it a strong and original personality. It is not at all rustic and as others have said, is well worth reviving.

This exmaple was by Domaines Grisard and was found at 'Pierre Traiteur', 14, Place Marcel Gaimard, 73700 Bourg St Maurice (Tel: 04 79 07 04 48) at €17.50. We also tasted the Amethyste cuvee of Domaine des Ardoisières, pays d'Allobrogie from Julien Caviste, Paris which blends 60% Persan with 40% Mondeuse which hides to a great extent Persan's unique character, albeit in the cause of a very delicious wine. Another Grisard, Michel is involved in this Domaine des Ardoisières. The back label of the (Jean-Pierre et Philippe) Grisard 100% Persan is perhaps worth reproducing:

It says Cepage Persan. Oublié pendant des décénnies, cet historique et illustre cepage est à l'origine des vins de Savoie. Il retrouve ses racines sur nos coteaux d'éboulis argilio-calcaires en exposition plein-Sud. Vendange à la main. Nez Frais Fruits rouges. Bouche Fruits rouges et noirs, structuré et longue. Accompagne les viandes rouges, gratins, fromages et specialités savoyardes. Consommer à une temperature d'environ 16 C.
Domaine Grisard vigneron independant depuis quatre générations. Nous recoltons, vinifions, et embouteillons à la proprieté plus de 20 cuvées de vins de terroir élevés dans le respect de la nature.
Jean-Pierre et Philippe GRISARD
tél: (+33) 04 79 28 54 09
fax: (+33) 04 79 71 41 36

No comments: