Tuesday, 2 October 2018

1905 vineyard Domaine de la Tour Boisee, Minervois

Slotovino deals mainly in monovarietal wines. We have to if we want to get an idea of the taste of individual grape varieties. Just to be annoying we sometimes cover field blends or cuvees of multiple varieties as is the case with this Minervois wne called Plantation 1905.

The Domaine La Tour Boisee website says;

'Plantation 1905 is exclusively created from one of the oldest vineyards in the village. The vineyard is composed of 23 different wine plants of the Minervois, some of which were typically used during the 19th century  and some of which are now unknown and unique in France. This vineyard is a true historic monument that we are preserving. We put the grapes in the vat directly from the vineyard and let the vinificatio n process run completely untouched as we leave the land and plants to make this wine! The first juice extracted, and the press-juice (the more concentrated juice from the hard part of the grape) from all twenty-three varieties blend in the same vat.

...a wonderful rediscovery of a wine from the last century!!!'

The 23 varieties are;

Alicante Bouschet
Clairette Blanche
Morrastel Bouchet
Petit Bouschet
Grenache Noir
Terret Noir
Terret Gris
Lledoner Pelut
Alphonse Lavallee
Muscat d'Hambourg
+ 4 unknown black varieties

Some notes may be helpful in the case of the less familiar names;

Aspiran. This is either Rivairenc (aka. Riveyrenc - one of ouyr favourite re-discoveris by Thierry Navarre) or Apiran Bouschet (Gros Bouchet x Rivairen cross by Henri Bouschet).

Aubun. Thought to be resistant to Phylloxera but that was not so. The mistake lay in some Aubun having been planted in resistant (maybe sandy?) soils.

Varousset. A Seibel 4668 x Subereux hybrid.

Clairette Blanche. Blanche because there are other Clairettes including a Clairette Rousse.

Morrastel Bouschet. A cross between Graciano and Petit Bouschet. There are several Bouschet hybrids in this list which bear tribute to this successful 19th century grape breeder.

Cardinal. There is only one grape in either Galet or 'Wine Grapes' called by this name and that is a table grape obtaind in 1939 from Szoloskertek Kiralynoje (aka. Koenigin der Weingaerten) x Alphonse Lavallee. This may well be found in the 1905 vineyard of Domaine Tour Boisee but must have been a late addtition if it only saw the light of day in 1939.

Alphone Lavallee. Galet is obviously rather taken with this big-berried table grape, devoting a whole page to it. It was named by a nurseryman in 1860 after the then president of the Societe d'Horiculture de France and has served in various grape breeding forays, no doubt thanks to its characteristics including the aforementioned big berries and its vigour.

Italia. Again a table grape. Again dating to after 1905 (1911). Bicane x Muscat of Hamburg.

We don't know why the grapes are listed in the order they are. Usually listings are in order high to low of costituent varieties but that seems unlikely in such a blend with so many different types and anyway, the grapes are just placed in the vat straight from the vineyard as the website says.

23 varieties. Is this a record? The other field blend from the Minervois is 'Rouge Fruit' from Le petit domaine de Gimios. This has 16 varieties or more. They include Carignan, Terret, Aramon, Grenache, Alicante and Muscat Petit Grains and others quite possibly similar to those of Domaine Tour Boisee.

In Argentina there is a supermarket wine called San Felipe with but 12 varieties; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Bonarda, Sangiovese, Barbera d'Asti (sic), Pinot noir, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Chenin.

J'en veux encore!!! '16, Ganevat

In the Jura, Jean-Francois Ganevat makes a blend called 'J'en veux/J'en veux encore!!!' consisting of 17 varieties including;

Petit Beclas
Gros Beclas
Gueche white and red
Seyve Villard
Portugais Bleu
Poulsard Blanc
Poulsard Musque
Gouais Blanc

You might think of Gemsischer Satz in this context. The field blend of Vienna has to consist of a minimum of 3 'noble' varieties and up to 20 in all.

Varieties may include

Müller Thurgau
Grüner Veltliner
Pinot Gris
Pinot Blanc
Frühroter Veltliner (= Roter Veltline x Sylvaner cross)
Roter Veltliner
Grauer Vöslauer
Weisse Vöslauer
Hietl Rote

The last four of these are difficult to identify. Vöslauer is a synonym for Portugiester. Weisse Portugieser is what Galet calls Pis de Chevre blanc, a Hungarian and Transylvanian white grape with a list of synonyms as long as your arm beginning with Ketsketsetsu (a catchy one that) and ending with Zizet-el-Maaza-el-abiod if you're on the hills of Marocco. Grauer Vöslauer is Blauer Portugieser.

Hietl Rote is anyone's guess. It is unknown to 'Wine Grapes,' Galet and Google alike.

Silberweisse = Rauschling.

So, La Tour Boisee, your record is safe with 23 varieties but this year in our little experimental vineyard we took our rather unsuccessful Gemischter Satz from 2017 and poured it over the pomace from the pressing of our red field blend of this year to produce a few bottles of wine containing traces from these 15 grapes:

GM 1807-3
Souvignier Gris
GF 93-22-6

Pinot Noir
Pinot Meunier

There are other vines coming onstream but we don't expect to get further than 20 or so however much fun it might be trying.

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