“Let us teach our children to disobey us!” ~ Michael Serres, philosopher
We all grew up knowing rule breakers. Kids in school who would not sit still, be quiet, and follow the rules. Some of those rule breakers grew up to be Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Zuckerberg to name a few. Others collaborated in groups forming bands such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin. The wine industry is filled with rule breakers, in fact the California wine industry began due to rule breakers. I am going to introduce you to a French family of rule breakers.
Le Tariquet has been the cradle of the Grassa family since 1912. Hélène and Pierre Grassa began the tradition with their love of fine Armagnac, then it was home to their children Maïté and Yves, both fervent winemakers, and today Yves’ sons Armin and Rémy, the third generation of winegrowers in the family. The estate has always been fiercely independent and fully family owned and operated. Tariquet’s success is not only the result of hard work, dedication, and respect for the vine and winemaking practices; it is also the result of the region of Gascony, known as Gers, famed for its fine Armagnac but also the Gascon grapes and terroir, which Tariquet has cultivated with a touch of reasonable rebelliousness.
The rule breaking began 25 years ago when Yves Grassa broke the rules of traditional wine making, proposing white wines that were “consistently characterised by a fresh finesse and fruity elegance.”
As Tariquet’s web site explained: He was the first in the region to dare to plant chardonnay, sauvignon or chenin grapes, which were far from popular in those days. Worse still, he conjured up combinations of sworn enemies such as chardonnay with sauvignon, or chenin with chardonnay. The Tariquet style was born of contemplation, rebellion and reason, followed by continuous observation and improvement. Both in the vineyard, and in the wine cellar, as only a true winemaker makes wine in the midst of his vineyard.
Defying his detractors, Yves Grassa took on the challenge of producing white wine and was duly rewarded for his work by being selected as Wine
of The Year in England, in 1987. A young team has now taken up the challenge. We wish them success and are sure they will never forget, nor cease to demonstrate, that a touch of boldness, coupled with a convivial approach and the pleasure of producing fine wine, will take us further still…
Take a moment to visit Domaine Du Tariquet through the eyes of a drone! It is so beautiful!
It was a great pleasure to be introduced to Tariquet at Vinisud 2016. I am thankful Colangelo PR emailed me an invitation to visit Tariquet’s booth for a tasting. Additionally, it was great to learn that not only are Tairquet’s wines available throughout the US at local wine retailers and online at very reasonable prices but that they are sold at Central Markets throughout Texas. Here is a brief description of the wines I tried:
Chardonnay 2015: 100% Chardonnay; orchard fruit, floral notes, spice notes, hint of butter, toasted cedar and vanilla; aged in French oak barrels, rich flavors and texture on palate; serve with fish, white meats and cheese
Chenin – Chardonnay 2015: 75% Chenin, 25% Chardonnay; citrus, orchard fruit, soft spice notes, floral notes, toffee and a touch of salinity; complex and round on the palate with a crisp approach; perfect with seafood, shell fish and poultry
Savignon 2015: 100% Sauvignon Blanc; fresh crisp fruit notes of stone fruit and citrus, with green herbal notes and a nice minerality; crisp and clean on the palate, round acidity; perfect as an aperitif or with seafood, shell fish and poultry
Côté 2014: an original and unique blend of 50% Chardonnay, 50% Sauvignon Blanc that works; citrus fruit, grape fruit, green apples and pears, spice notes; a nice minerality, well-structured, well-balanced; pairs well with Asian or exotic, spicy cuisines
Classic 2015: Ugni blanc 45%, Colombard 35%, Sauvignon 10%, Gros Manseng 10%; tropical fruit, citrus, stone fruit, floral and soft spice notes; this wine screams spring, round acidity, very crisp and clean on the palate, well-balanced and thirst quenching; great for sipping or pair as an aperitif or with seafood, shellfish and poultry
Tariquet Rosé 2015: 40% Merlot, 40% Syrah, 20% Tannat; strawberries, pomegranates, red raspberries, spice and floral notes, earthiness; delicate yet powerful, lots of flavor yet subtle and refined, refreshing, vinified same as white wines; perfect with tapas, Italian cuisine, spicy cuisine, or summer grilling
Dernières Grives 2014: crafted of Petite Manseng, with additional late harvest varieties; crisp fruit notes with spices, white truffles and soft floral notes; a delicate yet well-structured balance of acidity and sweetness; really nice on the palate and perfect with foie gras
Premières Grives 2015: “In Gascony, the onset of winter heralds the arrival of the first thrushes (‘premières grives’), eager for their share of the season’s pickings.” Crafted of Gros Manseng and other late harvest varietals; notes of tropical fruit, citrus and green herbs, full on the palate with pleasing sweetness and balanced acidity; another great foie gras wine
Furthermore, for you Armagnac lovers out there, Tariquet crafts an exquisite line of award winning brandies. I am so happy to share Tariquet’s wines with you. I encourage you to seek them out at your favorite local wine retailer or purchase online. These wines are perfect year round but will add great wine sipping pleasure to your spring and summer meals and entertaining.
My Song Selection: I love the idea of blending two things that at face value do not go together to create something new and fresh and lovely.
Get your own bottles of Tariquet wines and let me know what songs you pair with them. Cheers!