The Baroque grape is typically used in the production of white wines and is one of the key grape varieties in the Tursan appellation, which falls to the southwestern part of France.
This obscure appellation is more known for the blends it creates in the red wines made from popular grape varieties like Tannat and Cabernet Franc, making Baroque to some extent a rarity amongst the wine consumers of the world, despite the fact that it is the one of the most widely planted grapes of France and the most planted grape variety of Tursan.
Origin and History of Baroque grape
The exact origin of Baroque grape variety is unclear. However, there are two theories when it comes to the origin of this grape.
One theory states that this grape variety might have descended from the natural crossing between French white wine grapes of Folle Blanche and Sauvignon blanc.
The other theory states that this grape might have made its way from Galicia to the south western part of France with the help of pilgrims who might have carried them while on their way along the Santiago di Compostela route.
When it comes to the choice, ampelographers believe the former, since this grape typically gives grassy aromas.
Whatever the origin of this grape, it was one of the most widely planted grapes of southwest France whose production simply went into decline in the later part of the 20th century.
Today, these grapes plantings are secluded to the Landes department which contains white wine regions like Vindé limité de qualitésupérieure (VDQS) of Tursan.
In the twentieth century, Baroque gained favour amongst the local vine growers due to the high degree of resistance offered by this grape variety to several diseases and powdery mildew which led to the decimation of other grape varieties.
In 1980s, this grape also saw the face of extinction due to the process of ripping off, of the vineyards done by the vine growers in the Landes region for converting their land for other agricultural activities and enterprise development.
Whatever it might be, thanks to the efforts of some of the dedicated local producers, this grape variety survived the onslaught, only to be pulled out of extinction.
Regions where Baroque grape is grown
This grape is exclusive to the Southwestern French wine regions of the appellation Tursan, with almost little to none plantings of this grape outside in the world.
Synonyms for Baroque grape
The several synonyms for this grape include Baroka, Barroque, Barake, Baroca, Boudalles, Blanc Bordelais, Bordelais, Baroke, Bordelais blanc, Bourdales, Bordele zazuria, Boudales, Claverie blanc, Escripet folle, folles, Muscadelle de Nates,Plant Bordelais, Petit Bordelais and Sable blanc.
Characteristics of Baroque grape
There are several mutations or types of Baroque grapes– a black, rose and beige version of this grape are known to exist.
When it comes to the black variety, it is assumed to be hereditarily related to the grape varieties of Manseng Noir and Tanna.
As far as tannin level is concerned, it is medium, with medium acidity levels. The alcohol content of the wine is 13 – 14.5 percent.
Characteristics of Baroque grape wine
Baroque grape typically produces wines which are full bodied having crispy flavours and strong acidic content offering flavours of hazelnut and pear.
When it comes to the aromas, it offers similar fruity aromas like the Sauvignon blanc.
Baroque wines, along with Gros Manseng, form the majority of blended Tursan white wines with the two grape varieties typically making up to at least fifty percent of the wine (In practice this number usually goes a little higher).
Under the Tursan AOC laws, the white wines must form a blend, and so varietal Baroque wines should possess an IGP designation.
And as a result of this, monovarietal Baroque wines are rare.
Also, the wines labelled as Tursan, need to have at least 30% to 90% baroque grape wine, with the rest occupied by either Gros Mansengor Sauvignon Blanc (Petit Mansengor Chenin Blanc can also be used in the blend of Tursan wine).
Baroque wine which is noted for its balance can achieve both- high alcohol levels as well as crisp and refreshing palate which is an unusual distinction to have, given that both these qualities do not usually coexist.
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