Wednesday, 15 February 2012

In praise of Domaine Grisard

We first wrote about Domaine Grisard exactly 2 years ago in February 2010, Since then there have been several mentions in this Blog, all good.

These were mainly in connection with Persan, a Savoyard variety rescued by the Grisards and now to be found either as a 100% varietal or in blends by other producers.

The Grisards did not stop at Persan though. For a relatively small producer they also make varietal Malvoisie, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Roussette (both straight and aged in Acacia wood), Jacquère, Mondeuse and the rare Mondeuse Blanche which is no relation to red Mondeuse. There are also blends and they run a 'Pépinière' (vine nursery).

Here is the list of their vines in the Pépinière;

Plantation Conservatoire 2004

Abondance Noire
Etraire de la Dhuy (Inra)
Corbesse ou Chatus
Hiboux Rouge ou Noir (Inra)
Jurançon Noir ou Gonni
Rouge de Maurienne
Servénèze de Voreppe
Tréfort (Geusche noire)

Bia gris
Blanc des RosesPinot Noir Gris Blanc sur le même plant
Pinot gris

Blanc de Maurienne = Rèze
Gouin (blanc 2eme)
Hiboux Blanc (Inra)
Maclon ou Fusette = St Pierre Doré
Melon de Bourgogne
Mondeuse blanche
Petite Arvine
Servanin (Inra)
Verdesse (Inra )

The story of how the pépinière was established is in itself interesting;


Né en 1813, Joseph Marie aménage en 1863 les bâtiments que l’on peut voir encore aujourd'hui. A cette époque, il cultivait la vigne et élevait les vers à soie. Vers 1890, le Phylloxera détruit les ceps des vignes. Son fils Antoine les remplace aussitôt par des plants greffés sur place. C’est à la suite de cet événement que les pépinières de plants de vigne ont fait leur apparition sur l’exploitation . Aujourd'hui encore, nous poursuivons la double activité de viticulteur et de pépiniériste viticole.

As well as the varieties mentioned above they are researching the following;

Cépages Rouges

Noir de Conflans



Vert Rouge

Gros janin

Cépages Blancs

Pointu de Vimines

Blanc Verdan : 2me époque Tarentaise

Doucette (Brides les Bains)


(Watch this space...)

They are obviously becoming celebrated locally at least with recent representation in Savoyard supermarkets.

Domaine Grisard is the concern of Jean-Pierre Grisard but there is a Michel Grisard and a Philippe Grisard who also produce wine in Fréterive, near Albertville, Savoie. Our Grisard describes himself on every bottle as Vigneron Indpendant depuis quatre générations.

On a recent holiday in the alps not far from Fréterive we decided to order a mixed case of some of the more basic Domaine Grisard wines as well as a couple of more expensive ones.

Jacquere Vielles Vignes 4.10

Roussette 2009 6.50

Roussette Acacia 2009 8.50

Rose Mondeuse 2010 4.70

Gamay 2010 5.00

Pinot Noir 2010 5.00

Mondeuse 2010 5.20

Malvoisie 11.00

4 x Persan 44.00

All the wines were pure, light and delicate. Some were intense, Some better than others of course. As well as the Persan which lived up to its reputation, we especially enjoyed the Rosé de Mondeuse

which turned out an unexpected triumph and the Malvoisie which was perfect.

The Gamay was too light if that is possible, veering towards the neutral. All the wines were 12% except the
Jacquère which was 11.5%.

In the local Spar supermarket we were delighted to find almost all these wines (except Persan, understandably) - even the Grisard Mondeuse Blanche.

We had baulked at a price of over E. 18 for this but in the event the rarity of this grape and our curiosity got the better of us and we duly went for it. Sadly, this like the Gamay was light to neutral.

These wines from the supermarket sported different labels for 'marketing' reasons no doubt.
The Roussette aged in acacia barrels was much more interesting.

There was a woody note all right but also a hint of resin. The use of acacia wood is not unknown but in the case of these ultra clean and pure wines it adds an aromatic element. Fascinating.

Jacquère and Altesse are indigenous Savoyard grape varieties. Roussette is the same as Altesse but nothing to do with the Roussane of the Rhone region despite Roussette being a synonym for Roussanne there. Bergeron, as in Chignin Bergeron is Roussanne however. Confusing.

Getting representation in supermarkets in the region is hopefully going to be the start of recognition for these wines. They are currently available in very few places in France but quite well represented in the low countries, the Dutch and Belgians having always been canny about wine.

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