"Texas Black Spanish - The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir"

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"Texas Black Spanish - The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir"

Postby Paul B. » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:39 pm

A very interesting read here about a Texas-grown Black Spanish / Lenoir / Jacquez wine.

Jacquez is the same grape that still survives in the Ardèche region of France to this day: a hold-out from the phylloxera-era imports and a grape that locals still grow and defend with passion, as detailed in Freddy Couderc's book, Les vins mythiques de la Cévenne ardéchoise et du Bas-Vivarais.
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Re: "Texas Black Spanish - The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir"

Postby Peter May » Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:08 am

Interesting.

There must be something in the air.....

I spent many days researching Jacquez/Lenoir/Black Spanish a couple of months ago for a book I'm writing, and I had an article investigating the origins of the variety published in the last issue of the Circle of Wine Writers journal .

I am also conversing with R.L. Winters of Fairhaven Vineyards in Hawkins, Texas who is writing a Thesis on the matter of the mysterious origin of the variety. RL is looking for very old vines to take DNA samples from for testing in an attempt to shed some light on this variety. He says "Of very great importance is locating the oldest specimens of the Lenoir (and Herbemont) as possible in the New Orleans area and the lower Savannah River Valley (Georgia and South Carolina). "

The Vintage Texas article doesn't add to what I know, but I am very intrigued by his reference to Pinotage............

I have not come across Freddy Couderc's book, Les vins mythiques de la Cévenne ardéchoise et du Bas-Vivarais and I cannot read French. Have you read it?

The French growers of Jacquez have a website -- I think you know it Paul -- at http://vigneantan.com/en/index.htm
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Re: "Texas Black Spanish - The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir"

Postby Paul B. » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:43 pm

Peter,

Yes, I've been to the site (bookmarked it on my blog in fact) and I have Freddy Couderc's book. I've read most of it, albeit not cover to cover. I find it intriguing that he tells the story of these American grapes and their place in the Ardèche to this day, and how he makes the argument against the silly rules banning them to the sidelines.

Speak to private growers in many parts of Europe where hybrids are still grown, and people do appreciate them for their hardiness and health: fewer (if indeed any) chemical inputs required to make one' own wine. Moreover, there are people who have not failed to see the words "organic viticulture" flashing atop that idea! :idea:
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Re: "Texas Black Spanish - The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir"

Postby Hoke » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:33 pm

When I was in Texas, itb, and working hard to promote Texas wines (not the easiest thing in the world then; perhaps a bit easier now), the best Lenoir came from the Rio Grande Valley area, literally right up against the Mexican border. The Qualia family had some very, very old vineyards there (the original vineyards and winery dated back to before Prohibition). Hands down their best wine was a "Port", a major component of which, as I recall, was Lenoir.

I can certainly attest to the aptness of the adjectival "Black" with Lenoir. Deeply saturated color and rustic flavors. More than slightly phenolic in many of the Texas renditions.
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Re: "Texas Black Spanish - The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir"

Postby Peter May » Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:20 am

Paul B. wrote:Peter,

I have Freddy Couderc's book. I've read most of it, albeit not cover to cover.


Does the book detail the origins of the Jacquez variety? Is there any mention of a Madeira connection?

Is the book soley about Jacquez?
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Re: "Texas Black Spanish - The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir"

Postby Paul B. » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:30 am

Don't recall a Madeira connection explicitly; though I do remember reading about Jacquez being half Norton/Cythiana, with something else as the other parent. I will try to read up on it again and post back.
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