What kind of weird wine is this? Well, it is a wine that was created after a terrible hailstorm that hit Château Roquefort in Provence just north of the town of Cassis. During a 7-minute hailstorm on July 1, 2012, all grapes were lost on the 27-hectare vineyard.
Instead of breaking down and going bankrupt, winemaker Raimond de Villeneuve Flayosc contacted his friends, neighbours, customers and the media and the response was fantastic. He succeeded so well that he got grapes from 35 vineyards in Provence and from the Rhône valley all the way up to Cornas. Thus, he was able to produce the wine Grêle 2012 (Grêle means hailstorm in French) on these donated grapes, and as it says on the label 15 kg from his own vineyard. Talk about a multi cuvée wine!
This is also the background to the formation of the producer association Rouge Provence which help each other in solidarity by contributing grapes in similar “natural disasters”. The second purpose is, as the name suggests, to promote the fantastic red wines from Provence, i.e. not only to produce the more lucrative interesting rosé wines. Like Grêle 2012, the association makes a wine from grapes from all members every year.
So how did the wine taste then? Well, as a mix of Rhône and Provence. With dark berries, red berries like dark raspberries, spice from the oak ageing, dried fruit like dates / figs and a little liquorice and with a very long aftertaste.