A couple of years ago I thought I’d plant some illegal grape varieties, under Appellation Contrôlée rules, in our Bordeaux ‘garden’. The photos were taken here at the very start of August and again three weeks later, before and after they changed colour – a stage called véraison. The Pinot Noir, which you’re more likely to see in Beaune, Oregon or Central Otago than Bordeaux, was well on its way in late July – much earlier than any of the other reds. Syrah is normally grown in the Rhône – notably the North – amongst many other places (it’s called Shiraz in Oz), while Grenache is found in the Southern Rhône and beyond (it’s known as Garnacha in Spain).
This has been all in the name of research, of course, and there is absolutely no suggestion that any of these terrible, alien grape varieties will turn up in our wine. However, they seem to be doing just fine, so perhaps I’ll have a good look at the ‘Vin de Pays’ or ‘Vin de Table’ option. Bordeaux Pinot, anyone? Watch out, DRC.