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Le Cousin Rouge, Vielles Vignes Grolleau, Vin de Table

March 27, 2010

Got this at Wine Bottega. Not sure what vintage (probably 2007 or 2008) as it is a Vin de Table. The grape is Grolleau. I’ve only had one before and it was good but this one was much more interesting. It is more commonly used for rose wine than for red wine and the other Grolleau I’ve tasted could be described as something in between. Apparently some very famous wine writers, the diametric duo Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, have unabashedly bashed the hell out of this grape’s already humble name. I would never go so far as to say that wine should not be made from Grolleau but I’d need at least few more examples to convince me that I should plant some if I had a vineyard. If I already had some old vines I certainly wouldn’t rip them up but I might experiment with planting some other varieties when the old vines died. I am however very happy to find these oddities so far away from their homes and I’m all for agricultural diversity so overall this is one of the more satisfying bottles I’ve had lately.

This wine had an appearance that was unique in my experience. It  had a very light purple color but yet was  completely opaque at a centimeter past the rim (when tipping the glass). Most of the time young opaque wines are very dark purple or black. It was definitely unfiltered and you could move clouds with a light swirl. If you let the glass sit there would be a small amount of fine sediment at the bottom of the glass. At first it smelled like a salt marsh. Then I wondered if this was what a cranberry bog smelled like. Eventually things opened up and it had a quaint fusion of stewed kale, wet hay bale, cranberry, blackberry and rust. The flavor was rather grapey up front and it was very frank in reminding me that I was drinking fermented grape juice; much wine I’d want to drink again is not so forthcoming in this manner. The texture of the tannins was not unlike that of certain organic grape juices I’ve bought at the super market, I liked this aspect of it. The acidity level was medium and the tannin low. The finish was tart blackberries and a very funky quality that was very informative as to the living nature of the wine. As the wine got more air the finish became increasingly alive with what was surely the flavor of some tiny French organisms on holiday in my mouth. I think this might be great with stuffed grape leaves.

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