Terret’s Syndrome

Domaine Gaujal – Terret – 2016 – £11.99 – Grape Opportunities

During a recent trip to the Languedoc – or Occitania as it’s now been re-named, I was fortunate to be introduced to something a little bit special. There are many grapes in the wine growing world, most are well known, Chardonnay, Syrah or Merlot, for example. There are also many others which are almost unknown outside of France.

Take for example Terret, this grape has a long history in Languedoc, having been used for centuries locally.  Used primarily in the areas around Hérault and Séte it is a bit of a local secret, often found in Vermouth or in blends from Corbieres. Terret is produced in small quantities and is generally not exported, and it’s therefore unusual to find in a pure varietal form.

Domaine Gaujal – featured in these pages before, have been making wine in Pinet (home of the legendary and particularly trendy) Picpoul since the mid 17th century, so it came as no surprise that on a recent degustation with current winemaker Laurent Gaujal, I was introduced to a drop of history.

Laurent is part of a small group of winemakers around Occitania, making wines using old and forgotten varieties.

On the eye this wine is a clear pale golden colour, brilliant and vivid. On the nose, it’s quite different to the local Picpoul, notes of citrus and melon are present but so too are notes of red apple and wild flowers. Just a quick slurp gives way to a wonderful crisp acidity, the citrus notes are prominent, but there is a beautiful layer of lime and green apple on the finish. This wine although not long on the finish or particularly complex is a perfect alternative to Picpoul. It offers more body and weight and offers something just a little different. Pairing perfectly with seafood, but also with the body and balance to deal with chicken and cream sauces. It also makes the perfect aperitif.

It’s great to see wines in France that are breaking the mould, winemakers like Laurent are passionate about their history and their home, and are keen to share the secrets of the old world. With wines like this it’s easy to see why – long live the revival, and welcome back to the future!


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