Bordeaux last week moved to breach France’s tough ‘grape travel ban’ to allow six new varieties into the appellation.
But what are they, and what can avid followers of grape transfers expect? [are you sure about this? Ed]
This white variety is native to the flat muddy pasturelands outside Ghent where it is typically used to make industrial alcohol for removing ticks from livestock. Trialled in the Entre Deux Mers region over the last decade, the CIVB says that it will make a white wine that is ‘about as good as most Bordeaux Blancs.’
Probably the variety best suited to the new growing conditions in Bordeaux, Faux-syrah is closely related to Syrah. Very closely related to Syrah. In fact its genetic code is identical. Experts say that the easiest way to tell Faux-Syrah from Syrah is that one is now allowed to be planted in Bordeaux, and the other isn’t.
Pisse-Poule is a divisive variety. Its deep yellow juice – affectionately described by fans as ‘morning after’ colour – has made it a useful blending component down the years for growers who wish to add a little colour to otherwise anaemic white varieties. But its distinctive ammoniac nose can become overpowering if used at more than 5% in a blend. Expect it to be mixed with Sauvignon for an ‘assemblage double-pisse’.
This hybrid variety’s chief selling point is its hardiness. It is resistant to oidium, mildew, rot, moths, mites, Coronavirus, nuclear strikes – and all forms of winemaking. The CIVB claim that ‘the transformative superiority’ of Bordeaux’s terroir will allow it to shine. ‘If we can do it with Merlot, we can do it with anything,’ said a spokesman.
Dark, and earthy, with an almost bloody character, Boudin Noir was popular in the Middle Ages, but fell out of favour once people discovered the more elegant Saucisson. Famed component of a ‘fou l’ingliche’ blend, other grapes in the family include Boudin Blanc and Anthony Boudin.
Gum St Rippaire
Viciously tannic with low fruit flavours, piercing acidity and a savoury vegetal note, St Rippaire famously takes 220 days to reach full phenolic ripeness. Nonetheless, it’s the variety the region’s winemakers are most excited about, and forms a key part of the CIVB’s plan to achieve ‘elegant undrinkability’ across the region by 2030.
‘With this grape we will be able once again to make classic Bordeaux,’ said winemaker Duron D’Adieuronron. ‘The kind of wines we used to make before all this ‘ripeness’ nonsense came along.’
An experimental bottle of 100% Gum St Rippaire won the Michael Broadbent Misplaced Nostalgia Trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2016.