Cool Breizh

Producers turn to Brittany, on the Atlantic edge of Europe, to make fresh, lighter styles of organic wine. If quality wine can be made in Britain, it can be made further south in Brittany, say wine producers in France.

Barnaby Eales reports about an emerging region.

Les Longues Vignes vineyard in Val de Rance, Brittany. Winemaker Edouard Cazals is releasing Glaz, his first sparkling wine in 2023. Glaz is the Breton word for a colour which has blue, green and grey shades.
Les Longues Vignes vineyard in Val de Rance, Brittany. Winemaker Edouard Cazals is releasing Glaz, his first sparkling wine in 2023. Glaz is the Breton word for a colour which has blue, green and grey shades.

 

Edouard Cazals once made Bordeaux Grands Crus wines in Saint-Émilion, but in 2019 he turned north to Brittany to plant Les Longues Vignes, an organic vineyard along the riverbank of the Val de Rance – a site with little, if any, frost each year and which Cazals points out has less annual rainfall than Bordeaux. Known more for its cider production than its history of viticulture, the picturesque Val de Rance, whose estuary runs to the English Channel, is home to one of the many temperate microclimates in Brittany, where producers are seeking to meet demand for fresh and relatively light organic wines.

Faced with the onslaught of frost, drought and rising temperatures, French wine producers have turned north to the cool climate of Brittany, a culturally distinctive peninsula and popular tourist destination, which shares a similar, but often milder, maritime climate with Britain.

More than 30 wine producers have planted around 100 hectares of vines across Brittany since the EU’s liberalisation of vine planting rights in 2016, which brought an end to France’s prohibition of commercial wine production in the region. The most planted grape varieties are Chardonnay, Chenin, Grolleau, Pinot Noir and Treixadura. 

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