More About ​Counoise

Counoise may be an obscure grape in the United States, but it is a key component of many Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. It is a deep purple-red, and has a rich spicy character, with flavors of anise, strawberries and blueberries. Counoise’s moderate alcohol and tannins make it a good complement for Syrah, balancing that grape’s characteristic intense spice, strong tannins and high alcohol. It is said to have been introduced to Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Spain by a papal officer who offered it to Pope Urban V when the papacy was based in Avignon in the mid-14th century. In the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it occupied a prominent place in the wines of the celebrated Château la Nerthe in the late 19th century, and saw a rebirth at Château de Beaucastel under Jaques Perrin. In California, Tablas Creek Vineyard imported Counoise cuttings from Château de Beaucastel in 1990, and the BATF recognized the varietal in 2000.