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The Baroque Grape


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About Baroque

(Synonyms: Barake, Baroca, Baroke, Barroque, Blanc Bordelais, Bordelais, Bordelais blanc, Bordeleza zuria, Boudales, Bourdales, Claverie blanc, Escripet folle, Muscadelle de Nates, Petit Bordelais, Plant Bordelais, Sable blanc)

Background

Map showing the Tursan region of France

Baroque is a white-wine grape originating in the Tursan region of south-west France, and is grown virtually nowhere else. It is a grape that almost went extinct, and was—which happens more often than it should have to—saved and redeemed by the efforts of one dedicated winemaker.

Baroque is (to put it mildly) not a wine type well known, owing to its limited quantities and production region. It is said to produce a big wine, full-bodied, strong-flavored, and of relatively high alcohol levels. In aroma, ripe pears are mentioned; others say that its nose is comparable to that of Sauvignon Blanc—indeed, Sauvignon Blanc may well be one of Baroque's parent grapes (a crossing with the bland Folle Blanche grape). The flavor of Baroque is said to have nut overtones and be "characterful". Jancis Robinson rates it as capable of producing wines ranging from middling to high quality, which is why we include it; but good luck trying to find specimens in the U.S., much less reasonably priced specimens.

White wines labelled "Tursan" must, by French law, contain from 30% to 90% Baroque, with the rest being Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc (some sources also mention Petit Manseng and even Chenin Blanc as allowed). That implies that a monovarietal Baroque would be hard to find.

Factoid: The eminent ampelographer Pierre Galet claims that Baroque was brought to France as cuttings from Spain by pilgrims returning from Santiago de Campostela; references to the wine in France are found at least as far back as the 1700s.


Some Descriptions of Baroque Wines


Some Baroques to Try

(About this list.)

The sad fact seems to be that there are few or no white Tursans imported into the U.S.—we certainly could not find any, neither with wine-search engines nor even plain Google. Sorry. If you ever run across a white wine with "Tursan" somewhere on the lable, grab a few bottles.

For a Splurge

Nothing even at high prices. If you ever somewhere find a bottle of Baron de Bachen Blanc Tursan (probably in the mid-$30 range, but maybe more), you could give it a whirl, but good luck on that.


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This page was last modified on Friday, 2 June 2017, at 5:16 pm Pacific Time.