The estate has now grown to encompass seven hectares of vineyards. The domaine is located in the hamlet of Ollignan on the border of the towns of Quart and Saint Christophe and includes “cru” vineyard sites such as Tzeriat, Rovettaz, Creton and Touren in Quart, plus Tzantè de Bagnere, Merletta and Castello di Pleod in Saint Christophe. After starting out with the traditional Petit Rouge along with some Gamay, Pinot Noir and Petite Arvine, the Grosjeans have planted other local varietals such as Fumin, Cornalin, Premetta and Vuillermin. Sustainable farming techniques have been in place since 1975: only organic fertilizers are applied and no pesticides or herbicides are used. Natural yeasts are utilized for fermentation.
|Petite Arvine Vigne Rovettaz: Made from 100% Petite Arvine grapes planted in the Rovettaz vineyard at 700 meters altitude. The wine undergoes a long fermentation on the lees with repeated “batonage” for the first month after fermentation. Bright and fragrant with notes of citrus and fennel, this wine has a solid structure that allows it to be enjoyed young or with substantial bottle age. Biodynamic Certified|
|Pinot Gris Vigne Creton: from a small parcel in the “Creton” vineyard, the ultimate wine undergoes fermentation in stainless steel and is handled in a manner similar to that of the Petite Arvine. Biodynamic Certified|
|Muscat a Petit Grain: an experimental parcel planted to this highly aromatic grape; extremely limited in production, vinified dry to emphasize the complex mineral elements of the high mountain vineyards. Biodynamic Certified|
|Torrette: An indigenous blend of 80% Petit Rouge together with a varying amount of Vien de Nus, Doucet, Fumin and Mayolet. The vineyard sites are at an altitude of 550-650m and trained using the Guyot system, allowing the vines to drape down the terraced hillside. The wine ages in both stainless steel and oak casks. Biodynamic Certified|
|Torrette Superieur Vigne Rovettaz: A blend of 85 % Petit Rouge, 10% Fumin and 5% Cornalin, produced from rich, sandy soils facing south/south-west. Maceration is done on the skins for 6-7 days with thrice daily pumping over. Elevage is done in stainless steel. Biodynamic Certified|
|Pinot Noir: While this wine is 100% Pinot Noir, 70% are from French lineage and 30% are of the rare Wadenzwil strain. The vineyards are at a high altitude (600-750m) and steep incline, allowing for the distinct alpine characteristics to show through. Vinification in wood casks with daily punching down for three days, followed by 10-12 days of settling before aging partly in steel, part in oak. Biodynamic Certified|
|Pinot Noir Vigne Tzeriat: The oldest pinot vines produce the grapes for this cuvée, which receives daily pressings for two weeks, followed by malolactic fermentation and 10 months in barrique. Biodynamic Certified|
|Gamay: Produced from 100% Gamay and planted to a greater density than the other reds of the estate (10k vines/ha). 4-5 days of maceration followed by aging in stainless steel to produce a fruity but rigorous wine with abundant aromatics. Biodynamic Certified|
|Premetta: Made from 90% Premetta and 10% Cornalin and sourced from the highest vineyards of the domaine at 800m. The wine is aged in steel tanks and yields a dry wine that is light in color and body but which houses subtle tannins. The Premetta is extremely limited in production! Biodynamic Certified|
Cornalin Vigne Rovettaz: First produced in the 2005 vintage, the wine from this local grape variety is subtly herbaceous with dominant notes of red cherry fruit; full bodied and lively, the Cornalin from Grosjean has the potential to be a serious, long-lived wine. Biodynamic Certified
|Fumin Vigne Merletta: Produced solely from the Fumin grape, another autochthonous variety of this region; the juice is fermented in wood vats and then aged in a mix of cask and barrel. This is the longest-lived wine of the estate with deep color, an intense wild berry flavor and layers of complexity, yet soft tannins at an early age make this wine appealing even in its youth. A wine we judge to have superior potential as the most profound wine of this estate. Biodynamic Certified|
20 Wines Under $20: Postcards From Around the World
In a pandemic era, when traveling is largely out of the question, these wines, good values all, can take you on a trip around the globe.
By Eric Asimov
Jan. 28, 2021
Good wine has the power to transport. As we now approach a full year locked in pandemic freeze-frame, with many people largely confined within their national borders, wine still provides an opportunity to taste the world.
In January, shopping digitally at Manhattan wine shops, I selected 20 bottles priced at less than $20, wines that not only offer great value but also convey the flavor of the places that produced them.
These 20 bottles come from 11 countries. Each of the wine regions does things its own way, using different sets of grapes, say, or techniques and sensibilities that have been traditional in its part of the world. Natural conditions — climates and soils, for example — vary as well.
The world is far more homogenized than it used to be. Television, the internet and easy international travel have all seen to that. But some things remain local, even under the pressures of globalization. Good wine is one of them.
Not all wines express the character of a place, however. Plenty of bottles, if not most, are mass-processed. These wines could come from anywhere, as they depend more on interchangeable production techniques than they do on specific places and cultures.
Those sorts of wines are often less expensive as well, as automation and additives are cheaper alternatives to more conscientious, labor-intensive agriculture and winemaking. That’s why I have long contended that the best values in wine fall into the $15-to-$25 range. That’s where many small farmers can work traditionally and still earn enough to sustain their businesses.
This guideline comes with a few qualifications. You will not find wines from areas that are in demand or that are highly esteemed. The cost of doing business in those places shoots up, as does the cost of the wines. In less-exalted wine regions, it’s still possible to find bottles at these prices.
I want to be clear that I am not dealing in absolutes. Some big producers work meticulously, and make excellent wines. Some small producers may work traditionally but are not particularly skillful at what they do. I try a lot of wines that do not make the cut.
It’s also possible to find bottles under $15 that fit my criteria and are wonderful. But the odds of finding such wines go up exponentially in the $15-to-$25 range.
These 20 bottles represent just a cross-section of the kaleidoscopic choices presented to consumers. Other parts of the country, and the world, may offer entirely different selections.
My best advice, if you cannot find these bottles (and few people will be able to find all of them), is to patronize the best wine shop available to you, with a staff dedicated to wine, rather than supermarkets without knowledgeable help. If they don’t have these wines, or those in past 20 Under $20 columns, ask for similar bottles. They may have some great suggestions.
Otherwise, please enjoy these wines and what they represent about their places of origin. Close your eyes, see the world and, if you remember, send me a postcard.
Grosjean Vallée d’Aoste Torrette 2019 $19.96
I’m always intrigued by the wines of the Vallée d’Aoste, a hilly, Alpine region that sits on the border of Italy and France. I especially like those from Grosjean, an excellent organic producer year in and year out. The Torrette is a lively red, with good acidity befitting its high-altitude site, and classic Italian dry red fruit flavors. It’s 80 percent petit rouge, with the remainder made up of other local grapes, like fumin, mayolet and Doucet. If you like this one, look for other Grosjean varietal wines made of the cornalin and fumin grapes. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York)
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