22 February 2010

2008 Xavier Flouret Nationale 7

It was difficult for me to open this wine. Not because of the cork, but because it's just such a breathtakingly beautiful color that I didn't want to empty the bottle... But at the same time, I had to know how it tasted. Ah, the eternal conflict of wine.

This little beauty is the 2008 Xavier Flouret Nationale 7, $20, 13% abv. From the Côtes de Provence AOC, made in a spot on the coast between Marseille and Nice in the southeast corner of France. No oak, all stainless steel. 45% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 15% Tibouren. A very light and delicate wine, and you'll want to resist the urge to serve this too cold. As it warms up a yellow cherry and violet aroma arises. Light strawberry flavors with just a bit of acidity towards the finish. If you ever talk to someone who wants a gentle transition into French wines, or maybe is trying to break out of the Pinot Grigio rut, I'd strongly recommend this wine.

I served it with a homemade white clam pizza. I haven't made crust from scratch in a while and it was a pleasure working with the dough again. A splash of olive oil, a healthy dose of garlic, a can of chopped clams, fresh mozzarella, and shredded spinach. Lovely light dinner to go along with such a beautiful wine, and the seafood/coastal wine connection seemed appropriate.

As stated above, one of the grapes is Tibouren. It just so happens that this is my 150th confirmed grape. I've tried more, but for bragging purposes I stick to those I've got documented here on the blog, minus duplicates like Trajadura/Treixadura. And coincidentally, #150 is a weird, rare, obscure grape with a confusing history.

A few hours of research in different languages revealed alternate names, such as Guesserin, Gaysserin, Lou Defiouraire, Tiboulen, Tibourenc, Antibois, Antibouren, and Antibourenc. (Some of these names only show up in an 1881 catalog of European grapes. I consider the variant Tribouren to be a persistent typo.) The latter names were useful in that they pointed towards the French Riviera city of Antibes, founded by Greek settlers in 500 B.C.E.

English sources I found claim that the grape came to France via Greece, while French sources claim it came from Chaldea (part of Babylonia near modern day Kuwait). It's possible both are true, since many grapes moved from the Middle East through Greece to the Mediterranean and then throughout Europe and later the rest of the world. It's grown primarily as a blending grape for rosés in Provence, and I didn't find evidence of it being planted anywhere else in the world. Well, a German source makes reference to a Tibouren grape grown in Armenia, but that it's unknown if there's a relationship. And the Italian take on the whole thing is just confusing and full of speculation. (If anyone wants to tackle the Niçard or Provençal sources, be my guest. Life's too short to learn the 40 minor dialects spoken in France.)

Having run out of languages, source material, and without physical grapes, leaves, or DNA to test, I have no definitive answer about the grape's origins. Perhaps some ampelographer will figure it out in the future. While the hunt was fun, perhaps I was overthinking it... After all, this is a light and refreshing wine for enjoying on a sunny afternoon, even if you're not on the expensive beaches of Saint-Tropez.

This wine was received as a sample from Cognac One.


Michael Hughes said...

I just love Provencal roses. Such a sensually gorgeous hue.

Benito said...


I know all my friends are sick of me talking about how pretty this wine is, but it's really an amazing shade, and looks different and beautiful under various lighting conditions.


fredric koeppel said...

Sounds lovely.

"Tribouren" is for drinking when crossing the Triborough Bridge.

Benito said...


Ha! The name thing got a bit ridiculous after a while--one of the German sources listed a bunch of Italian names for the grape, and there was some reference to a Genoese sailor. But my all time favorite for crazy alternate names is for Gouais Blanc, one of the parents of Chardonnay. Also known as (deep breath):

"Absenger, Bauernweinbeer, Bauernweinbeere Weiss, Bauernweintraube, Belina, Belina Debela, Belina Drobna, Best's N°4, Blanc De Serres, Boarde, Bogatyur, Bon Blanc, Bordenauer, Borzenauer, Bouillan, Bouillaud, Bouilleaud, Bouillen, Bouillenc, Bourgeois, Bourguignon, Branestraube, Branne, Burgegger Weiss, Burger, Cagnas, Cagnou, Champagner Langstielig, Colle, Coulis, Dickweisser, Dickwiss, Enfarine Blanc, Esslinger, Figuier, Foirard Blanc, Foirard Blanc, Frankenthaler, Gau, Gauche Blanc, Geuche Blanc, Goe, Goet, Gohet, Goi, Goin, Goix, Got, Gouai, Gouais Blanc, Gouais Jaune, Gouais Long, Gouais Rond, Gouas, Gouaulx, Gouay, Gouche, Gouche, Gouche Blanche, Goue, Gouest, Gouest Sauge, Gouet Blanc, Gouette, Gouge, Gouget Blanc, Gouillaud, Gouis De Mardeuil, Gousse, Grauhuensch, Grobe, Grobes, Grobheunisch, Grobweine, Grobweisse, Gros Blanc, Grünling, Guay Jaune, Gueche Blanc, Guest Salviatum, Gueuche Blanc, Guillan, Guinlan, Guy, Guy Blanc, Gwaess, Harthuensch, Hartuensch, Heinisch, Heinish, Heinsch, Heinschen Weiss, Hennische Weiss, Hensch, Heunisch Blanc, Heunisch Weisser, Heunischtraube, Heunish Weiss, Heunsch, Heunscher, Heunschler, Heunschlir, Hinschen, Hinschene, Hintsch, Huensch, Huenschene, Huentsch, Hunnentraube, Hunsch, Hunschrebe, Huntsch, Hyntsch, Issal, Issol, Kleinbeer, Kleinberger, Laxiertraube, Lombard Blanc, Luxiertraube, Mehlweisse, Mehlweisse Gruen, Mendic, Moreau Blanc, Mouillet, Nargouet, Pendrillart Blanc, Petit Gouge, Pichons, Plant De Sechex, Plant Madame, Plant Seche, President, Regalaboue, Riesling Grob, Rous Hette, Roussaou Blanc, Rudeca Belina, Saboule Boey, Sadoule Boey, Sadoulo Bouyer, Seestock Grob, Stajerska Belina, Tejer Szozeloe, Thalburger, Trompe Bouvier, Trompe Valet, Verdet, Verdin Blanc, Vionnier, Weisse Traube, Weisser Heunisch, Weissgrobe, Weissheinsch, Weissstock, Weisstock, Wippacher, andZoeld Hajnos".


Joe said...

I'll never refer to myself as a wine nerd again.

Benito said...


Maybe, but I'm pretty useless when it comes to the big stuff like detailed knowledge of Bordeaux or Burgundy. If you want to talk about wines of the former Soviet Union... giddyup!


Samantha Dugan said...

Got all excited when I saw this. I start tasting the 2009 Rose next week..woo hoo, here comes summer.

Benito said...


If you try this, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.


Jim Wilkerson/VINEgeek said...

First of all, I got giddy when I clicked the link to that 1881 catalog. Thanks for sharing it (even though it'll probably cost me dozens of hours in the coming months).

As for the wine, I agree on the color thing. I can barely get myself to note the color of whites and reds in my tasting notes (crimson, eggplant, opaque, near-opaque, inky, whatever.) But there is something alluring about the color in roses - and the amazing range makes it so much more interesting.

Kimberly said...

Rosé, rosé, rosé -- I can't wait for warm weather to arrive!!Though, why wait? Life is short, and I am simply mad for Rosé.

(You're right, this one is a very pretty color.)

Benito said...


The book is pretty interesting--Google Books has a lot of full copies of obscure books and magazines from before 1900. You can either read in scanned format or in plain text, and can download. Perhaps good to throw a few on the laptop for plane rides and other situations.


I did a post a while back on French names for rosé colors. I'll be honest that I typically ask my female friends for advice, and this one got suggestions like peach and apricot. Many of the French names for the shades are also used to describe lipstick colors.