Whats in a name? Grignan des Adhemar 2009 Vignerons D’Ardechois.

Posted on: July 9th, 2012 by Andrew 2 Comments

From the 2009 Vintage, Rhône sub-region Côteaux de Tricastin has been renamed Grignan des Adhemar.


Quite.  From one unpronounceable French word to another even more unpronounceable one. If the powers that be that organise these things had half an eye on the export market I would be very surprised. After all – even the man from whom I ultimately buy the stuff, the estimable Pascal Beylier from the Vignerons D’Ardechois was scathing about the namechange. He knows how the Frenchness of wine names gets a lot of monoglot English  running for the New World where most things are in English.

But why the change at all? Côteaux de Tricastin sounds perfectly fine to me. But apparently all is not what it seems. This is not some exercise in gingering up a tired brand but is more akin to the little local difficulty we have had in the past on the coast of Northumberland – to whit Sellafield.

Apparently the local Nuclear power plant at Tricastin had a little problem late in 2008 and a certain amount of nuclear material was released. Not enough to be a health hazard but enough to frighten the horses. So what was the solution. The same one that the operators of Windscale came up with – change the name and hope the problem goes away.

I’m not really sure what kind of dunces these people take us for. The kind that thinks that low level released radiation is going to have any effect on wine in a bottle or grapes on a vine or the kind that thinks that changing the name is going to make us think its another region entirely. Or both.

Whatever, the local wine producers obviously were worried enough to push through this mouthful in the hope that all their sales problems would go away. I wonder if they were shooting at the wrong target.  I wouldn’t be surprised if most wine regions’ sales fell after November 2008 and their little local difficulty masked the fact that the rest of the world was sliding into recession.

Nevertheless, we are now stuck with Grignan des Adhemar and will do our best to market the wine as such.   What’s it like?  Medium bodied, some fruit, a bit of leather and spice.  Dry finish. Quite drinkable actually.  I couldn’t detect a hint of radioactivity, but I didn’t have my Geiger counter to hand.

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2 Responses

  1. Nick Telfer says:

    You may know your wines but your geography is definitely shaky. Windscale works is on the CUMBRIAN coast 12 miles south of Whitehaven. I worked there for 20 years and the only really serious incident was in 1967. The name was not changed at that time. It was located on the land of a farm called Sellafield. I can’t remember noticing that the name was ever changed from 1956-1976 but I think it may have been as a result of the Windscale Enquiry which was not related to any accident. I think that was 1974. The names Windscale and Sellafield were always interchangeable as far as we were concerned. There was no name change except in the media I think.
    I’m buying 2010 Domaine de Devoy instead of my usual Costières de Nîmes because it’s good value at €4.99

    Kind Regards

    Nick Telfer

    • Andrew says:

      Hi Nick
      Thanks for putting me straight. I was always under the impression that the name change at Windscale/Sellafield was as a result of some accidental release of radioactive material into the sea – queue jokes about glowing children eating Windscale flakes and the like. I am sure you are right but it wasnt the impression us laymen had at the time. And it probably isnt the case for Grignan des Adhemar either. The Media is never one for letting the facts get in the way of a good story and so apologies for being taken in!
      Domaine de Devoy at £4.99 sounds incredible value – where do you get that? Costieres de Nimes has become rather pricey of late, though the wine is usually good. There are much better value Cotes du Rhone like Devoy about. If you can get 2010 so much the better. 11 is a bit patchy imho.

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