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Grolleau

Grolleau

She’s Grolleau, he’s just Ken. 


What’s Grolleau, you ask? Yet another grape gifted by France’s Loire Valley, bringing Barbie-pink brightness to some of your favourite rosés. Whether you know it by name or not, Grolleau may well have snuck its way into your glass over the years, likely presented in rosé or sparkling style by way of Anjou, Saumur or Touraine.


Grolleau famously offers pigmented punch, deriving its name from the french grolle meaning crow, a nod to its deep noir berries. Despite the brooding character it offers the eye, its thin skins make for slightly stilted red wines, with limited tannin and phenolic profile. Winemakers are suckers for a challenge, and certainly there are some light and bright Grolleau reds getting around, but where this grape truly serves its community is through the blushing pink hues it brings to rosés. Rosé d’Anjou is the appellation to turn to if you fancy sampling Grolleau in its most celebrated off-dry styling.
Though Grolleau calls the Garden of France its home turf, where it enjoys the best of the continental climate and fertile riverbank soils, it pays for its cushy residence in huge dividends: high yielding harvests season in and season out. This fertility is in some senses Grolleau’s downfall – if not carefully restrained, its rampant growth can come at the price of fruit character, yielding berries in abundance, but not necessarily ones that pack much concentrated flavour.

Heavily restricted across France’s many appellations, it’s hard to say whether Grolleau’s niche popularity with winemakers is choice or necessity; limited by law to only particular grow zones, and furthermore, to only rosé and sparkling usage in most of those zonings, it seems fated to remain a wine on the periphery.
All the more reason to regard your Grolleau with reverence; an occasional treat, an exciting excursion– but one well worth going on. Proper handling can unlock stunning acid, a perfect balancing counterpart to fruitier character, alongside floral and confectionery notes that delight the palate. An orchard in your glass, and oh so pleasing to the eye– flat or fizzing, we’re on board.

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