Sunday, 17 July 2011

Colombaud: positively the world's rarest grape?

We stumbled on this fantastic new website while researching a local Vaucluse variety called Aubun of which more in a moment. does something so simple and essential one wonders why it had not been done often and before. It lists all the permitted grapes of France, ascribing them to their relevant apellation while giving some interesting information as to their characteristics, history and 'superficie' or number of hectares to which they are thought to be planted.

in the course of this, two apellations emerge as the home of the most obscure varieties of all, Béarn and Palette, The latter of course is the home of the splendidly idiosyncratic Chateau Simone which is permitted a choice of 29 different varieties in its annual assemblage, One of these, Colombaud is said to have a 'supeficie' of 0.00 hectares!

As for Aubun, it makes up 40% of a Vaucluse cuvee we bought today. Sadly there must be many such varieties which never see the limelight and are always part of blends so we will probably never experience their unique character. Aubun is said to be similar to the slightly less elusive Counoise. Both are permitted in Chateauneuf du Pape. Apparently Aubun had some resistance to Phylloxera which is not something you hear often. In spite of this it is sadly in decline.

We recommend this site. Now an Italian equivalent would be about ten times as big and fascinating. There's a fun job for someone!

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