Monday, September 19, 2011

Thoroughly Modern Thuerry

Chateau Thuerry is one of most highly regarded in the Var.  Like most Var vignerons Thuerry produces some outstanding roses but also an off dry white blend and four rouges.  The chateau uses Cabernet and Merlot along with the Provencal grapes that predominate in the Var; Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault.  The whites, roses and whites are made in four quality levels, the basic “chateau” blend up through the “Exceptionale” which can age 4-6 years.  

Our guide gave us a primer on the importance of barrel aging and how new oak, American Oak and French Oak impact the taste of wine.  American Oak produces the oak and vanilla flavors we attribute to New World wine while the French Oak lends smoke and tobacco notes to the cepage.   It’s a fine point I didn’t appreciate though I’ve been “into” wine for forty years. Further, there are even differences in the effects of the barrels from specific barrel makers.  Now that’s really esoteric.

Chateau Thuerry harvests 45 hectares of estate grapes and produces more than 200,000 bottles each year.  Their production is evenly split between direct sales, retail sales around the globe and restaurant sales in bag in a box form.  Three and five liter box wines are a staple of restaurants and households throughout France and are an economic way to enjoy good juice.  We have just bought our first Box and will report forthwith.

Happily we visited while La Vendage or harvest was still happening so the images show Grenache grapes on the vine and being sorted before destemming.  We were able to help ourselves to the grapes that didn’t make the cut. I couldn’t tell why they weren’t up to snuff but they were fruit bombs in the mouth.

This is my first post with a gazillion pics.  Tell me if it’s too much.


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