27 Dec What is Terret Noir?
Terret Noir is a Rhône Valley Grape that is dark but thinned skinned and produces a light colored wine. It is one of the 13 grapes permitted for blending in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, although it totals just 2 acres of vineyard in the region. Like Grenache you will also find Terret Blanc and Terret Gris the other color variations in the grape. Terret Noir is thought to be originally from Languedoc where Terret Gris was once grown widely and used in the production of vermouth.
This grape buds late (which is great, so you don’t have as much frost worry with it), produces abundantly and brings a freshness to other varieties when blended.
Terret Noir in Paso Robles
Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles brought this grape in with their program to bring all 13 of the Châteauneuf-de-Pape grapes to their vineyard. We had the opportunity to taste a single varietal of Terret Noir in their tasting room and took a bottle of the 2015 with us. (They made this as a single varietal in 2013, 2014 & 2015)
It was indeed a light colored wine, transparent cranberry red, leaning more toward orange than purple in my glass. On the nose you get bright red fruit and spice with dried strawberries and brambles, like a walk in a meadow in summer after rain as you get all the lush green grasses drying in the sun.
In your mouth it is pomegranate and bright spices and the flesh of a bright red plum.
We paired it with a cheese and charcuterie plate and found it made the parmesan cheese taste sharper and less salty. The dry Italian salami brightened the fruit in the wine while the wine brought out the savory tones in the salami.
Tablas Creek plans to use this as a blending grape. Watch for it to appear with Syrah and Grenache in a 2016 blend.
I always enjoy exploring those underappreciated grape varieties. It widens your palate and reminds you that there is so much more out there than Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
This wine pairs well with braised vegetables, grilled eggplant and salty meats and cheeses.
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