In fact this grape variety is struggling for its survival and is clinging on to the small hectares of land where it is grown.
This grape is also known by some other names like Engrunat (Saint–Loubes), Nicouleau (Saint-Macaire) and Machouquet (Saint-Loubes).
And this variety is so unknown, that it is commonly confused with other varieties like the Bequignol noir (Lot-et-Garonne) and Fer (Tarn).
Origin and Parentage of Castets Grape
According to the Cazeaux–Cazalet (1901) this variety of grape was apparently found in the woods as an obscure variety in the Saint–Macaire region in Gironde which is to the southwestern side of France.
This grape was discovered by a certain M Nicouleau in the year 1870, only to be later on propagated by an M Castets from the Saint–Andre–Du-Bois (Gironde) between the years of 1870 to 1874 because the latest mention of the Castets name for this varietal of grape came in the year 1874 in the Saint-Pierre d’Aurillac (Gironde).
However, the name Castets–en–Dorthe is also a name of a village which lies extremely close to Saint – Macaire, where it is grown and it would be quite possible that this grape was grown in that village some time back. And probably this grape would have got its name from this nearby village.
Region and taste of Castets wine
The small black berries of Castets, when fermented to form wine gives out a deep dark colour and high alcohol content, with high tannin and medium acidity content.
This variety is endorsed in the Cantal and Aude departments of France and is specially authorized to be included in the rose and red wines of Vins D’Estaing, which falls to the north of Rodez and blended with varieties like the Fer and the Gamay Noir.
This grape variety occupies less than a hectare of land in the whole of France and recently this grape variety was discovered in the old vineyard in the Russian River valley region of California.
Food Pairing with Castets wine
Castet grape produces wine which is kind of complex and pretty well layered. These grapes since they produce wines which are savoury and high tannin content, they go well with French and Italian cuisine.
Even American food is suited to be had with this wine. This wine tastes best with smoked and grilled foods and whichever vegetables one considers, as long as they are either properly smoked, or they are grilled, they will taste extremely good with the wine made from castet grapes. Sure enough, this wine can be had with smoked mushrooms and cheeses like the aged cheddar or hard cheeses like the Pecorino.
This wine tends to have a super long finish and pairs well with herbs and spices having an earthy and a smoky flavour like parsley, smoked paprika, sumac, thyme, porcini powder, rosemary, black pepper, juniper berry, cumin, coriander, clove, garlic, shallot, vanilla bean, Green Onion and Barbecue Sauce. It really tastes well with items like rosemary infused garlic kale chips.
However, Castets wine does not pair well with spicy foods since these wines have a high alcohol content and the hotness levels of the capsaicin, present in spices tend to enhance the alcohol flavour in the wines making it taste bitter.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂