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Tibouren or Rossese di Dolceacqua is a red French wine grape variety that is primarily grown in Provence and Liguria but originated in Greece and possibly even the Middle East. [1] Intensely aromatic, with an earthy bouquet that wine expert Jancis Robinson describes as garrigue , Tibouren is often used in the production of rosés . [2] [3] [4]

French wine

French wine is produced all throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world. French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times. The wines produced range from expensive wines sold internationally to modest wines usually only seen within France such as the Margnat wines were during the post war period.

Jancis Robinson British journalist

Jancis Mary RobinsonOBE, ComMA, MW is a British wine critic, journalist and wine writer. She currently writes a weekly column for the Financial Times, and writes for her website JancisRobinson.com, updated daily. She also provides advice for the wine cellar of Queen Elizabeth II.

Garrigue type of low, soft-leaved scrubland ecoregion and plant community

Garigue or phrygana is a type of low, soft-leaved scrubland ecoregion and plant community in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome.


While the unique aroma and character of the wines produced by Tibouren are valued by producers, it is not a widely planted variety. This is due, in part, to the viticultural issues of the grape's sensitivity to coulure and tendency to produce highly irregular yields from vintage to vintage. [4] The wines produced from Rossese are a local specialty found around Dolceacqua. [5]


Coulure is a viticultural hazard that is the result of metabolic reactions to weather conditions that causes a failure of grapes to develop after flowering. In English the word shatter is sometimes used. Coulure is triggered by periods of cold, cloudy, rainy weather or very high out-of-season temperatures. The condition is most often manifested in the spring. It also occurs in vines that have little sugar content in their tissue. Flowers stay closed and are not fertilized. Thus the vines are not pollinated as the grape fails to develop and falls off. Coulure can also cause irregular bunches of grapes which are less compact than normal. These bunches are more sensitive to developing various grape diseases. The yield of a vine with coulure will decrease substantially. Grape varieties with high proclivity to coulure are Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, and Muscat Ottonel. Other causes of coulure may be vineyard conditions and practices, pruning too early or too severely, excessively fertile soils or overuse of fertilizers, and improper selection of rootstocks or clones.


Vintage, in winemaking, is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product—wine. A vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all, or primarily, grown and harvested in a single specified year. In certain wines, it can denote quality, as in Port wine, where Port houses make and declare vintage Port in their best years. From this tradition, a common, though not strictly correct, usage applies the term to any wine that is perceived to be particularly old or of a particularly high quality.

Dolceacqua Comune in Liguria, Italy

Dolceacqua is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Imperia in the Italian region Liguria, located about 120 kilometres (75 mi) southwest of Genoa and about 35 kilometres (22 mi) west of Imperia, on the border with France. As of 31 December 2014, it had a population of 2,078 and an area of 20.2 square kilometres (7.8 sq mi).


Location of Marseille and Saint-Tropez (underlined), where Tibouren may have been introduced to the Provence region Marseille and Saint Tropez in Provence highlighted.jpg
Location of Marseille and Saint-Tropez (underlined), where Tibouren may have been introduced to the Provence region

While Tibouren today is almost exclusively associated with the Provence wine region, French ampelographer Pierre Galet suspects that the grape probably has Greek origins or possibly Middle Eastern. Galet's theory derives from the uniquely shaped leaves of the Tibouren vine, which include deeply incised lobes that are usually seen in Vitis families of the Middle East. He speculates that over the evolution of the grape its ancestor vines were brought to Greece and from there it was probably introduced to France by the Ancient Greeks at their settlement in Marseille. [2] [3] [4]

Pierre Galet is a French ampelographer and author who was an influential figure within ampelography in the 20th century and before DNA typing was widely introduced. Beginning in the 1950s, Pierre Galet introduced a system for identifying varieties based on the shape, contours and characteristics of the leaves of the vines, petioles, growing shoots, shoot tips, grape clusters, as well as the colour, size, seed content and flavour of the grapes. The impact and comprehensiveness of his work earned him the consideration as the "father of modern ampelography". He started publishing within ampelography in the 1950s and his Ph.D. thesis was presented in 1967. He has also written popular science books on grape varieties. Galet was active at the École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier.


Incised means cut, particularly with a "V" shape. It is a term found in a number of disciplines.

<i>Vitis</i> genus of plants

Vitis (grapevines) is a genus of 79 accepted species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The genus is made up of species predominantly from the Northern hemisphere. It is economically important as the source of grapes, both for direct consumption of the fruit and for fermentation to produce wine. The study and cultivation of grapevines is called viticulture.

One competing theory is that the variety was a relatively recent import to Provence that was introduced to Saint-Tropez, to the east of Marseille, in the 18th century by a naval sea captain named Antiboul (from which several synonyms of Tibouren are derived). [3]

Saint-Tropez Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Saint-Tropez is a town on the French Riviera, 100 kilometres west of Nice in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France.

Wine regions

Tibouren is a permitted grape variety in several Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) wine regions of Provence, most notably the large Côtes de Provence AOC, which accounts for more than 75% of all Provence wine. The AOC runs non-contiguously from Nice west to Marseille and is the source of many rosé wines. Here Tibouren, like all grape varieties in the AOC, is limited to a maximum yield of 55 hectoliters per hectare with the finish wine needing to attain a minimum alcohol level of 11%. While it is primarily used for rosés it can also be included in red wine blends. Tibouren is often blended with, for both reds and rosés, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. [6]

Nice Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Nice is the seventh most populous urban area in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The metropolitan area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi). Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille. Nice is approximately 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from the principality of Monaco and 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the French-Italian border. Nice's airport serves as a gateway to the region.

Grenache red wine grape

Grenache or Garnacha is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape most likely originated. It is also grown in the Italian isle of Sardinia, the south of France, Australia, and California's Monterey AVA and San Joaquin Valley.

Syrah Dark-skinned grape variety

Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a dark-skinned grape variety grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce red wine. In 1999, Syrah was found to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a cross of Syrah with Peloursin dating from 1880.

Viticulture and winemaking

Tibouren is most often used in rose blends. Several Rhone and Provence roses.jpg
Tibouren is most often used in rosé blends.

Tibouren can be a difficult grape to cultivate due to the irregularly of the harvest yields it produces, often brought on by its sensitivity to coulure. This is one reason why Tibouren is often used as a blending grape rather than as a varietal wine. In blends, particularly the rosés of Provence, Tibouren contributes earthy aroma notes that are often described as garrigue. [3]

Harvest (wine) one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making

The harvesting of wine grapes (Vintage) is one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce. The weather can also shape the timetable of harvesting with the threat of heat, rain, hail, and frost which can damage the grapes and bring about various vine diseases. In addition to determining the time of the harvest, winemakers and vineyard owners must also determine whether to use hand pickers or mechanical harvesters. The harvest season typically falls between August & October in the Northern Hemisphere and February & April in the Southern Hemisphere. With various climate conditions, grape varieties, and wine styles the harvesting of grapes could happen in every month of the calendar year somewhere in the world. In the New World it is often referred to as the crush.

Varietal wine made primarily from a single named grape variety

A varietal wine is a wine made primarily from a single named grape variety, and which typically displays the name of that variety on the wine label. Examples of grape varieties commonly used in varietal wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. Wines that display the name of two or more varieties on their label, such as a Chardonnay-Viognier, are blends and not varietal wines. The term is frequently misused in place of vine variety; the term variety refers to the vine or grape while varietal refers to the wine produced by a variety.


Over the years, Tibouren and its wines have been known under a variety of synonyms including Antibois, Antiboulen, Antiboulène, Antibouren, Antibourin, Gaysserin, Geysserin, Gueipperim noir, Guesserin, Rosese, Rosese Nero, Rosseis, Rossese, Rossese di Dolceacqua, Rossese di Ventimiglia, Rossese Nericcio, Rossese Nero, Rossese Rossa, Sarreiron, Tiboulen, Tiboulin, Tibouren noir, Tibourin and Tibourin noir. [7]

Clones and other varieties

According to the Vitis International Variety Catalogue, a few clonal variants of Tibouren exist that are distinct from the main dark-skinned noir variety. These include a white wine grape variety, Tibouren blanc, [8] and a non-hermaphroditic female grape vine known as Tibouren gris. [9]

A separate white French wine grape variety, known as Bicane (best known for being a parent of Gutenborner), has Tibouren gris as a synonym but there is currently no known connection between this grape and Tibouren noir. [10]

Related Research Articles

Poulsard varietal

Poulsard is a red French wine grape variety from the Jura wine region. The name Ploussard is used mainly around the town of Pupillin but can appear on wine labels throughout Jura as an authorized synonyms. While technically a dark-skinned noir grape, the skins of Poulsard are very thin with low amounts of color -phenols and produces very pale colored red wines, even with extended maceration and can be used to produce white wines. Because of this, Poulsard is often blended with other red-skin varieties or used to produce lightly colored rosé wines. Additionally the grape is used to make blanc de noir white wines and sparkling cremants.

Grolleau (grape) varietal

Grolleau or Grolleau noir is a red French wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Loire Valley of France. The name is derived from the French word grolle, meaning "crow" and is said to reflect the deep black berries of the Grolleau vine. The grape is most commonly made into rosé wine, particularly in the Anjou region. Grolleau wines tend to low alcohol content and relatively high acidity.

Mondeuse noire varietal

Mondeuse noire is a red French wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Savoy region of eastern France. The grape can also be found in Argentina, Australia, California, Switzerland and Sicily. Plantings of Mondeuse noire was hit hard during the phylloxera epidemic of the mid to late 19th century which nearly wiped out the vine from eastern France. While the grape recovered slightly in the 20th century, French plantations of Mondeuse noire fell sharply in the 1970s, with just over 200 hectares left in France in 2000. In the early 21st century, it seems the variety has increased somewhat in popularity, as it can give good wines if the planting site is chosen carefully.

Terret noir

Terret noir is a dark-skinned French wine grape variety grown primarily in the Rhône valley region of France. It is a mutation of the old Vitis vinifera vine Terret. It is a permitted blending grape for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Like the related Terret gris and Terret blanc, the vine tends to bud late and grow vigorously. Terret noir produces a light color wine that is perfumed and tart.

Piquepoul varietal

Piquepoul, Picpoul, or Picapoll is a variety of wine grape grown primarily in the Rhone Valley and Languedoc regions of France as well as Catalonia, Spain. It exists both in dark-skinned and light-skinned versions, as well as a very little grown Piquepoul gris. Piquepoul blanc is the most common of the Piquepouls, with 1,000 hectares cultivated in France in 2000, and an increasing trend.

Fer varietal

Fer is a red French wine grape variety that is grown primarily in South West France and is most notable for its role in the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) wines of Gaillac, Marcillac and Béarn but can also be found as minor component in the wines of Madiran, Cabardès and Bergerac. The grape is also featured in red blends from several vin de pays regions in the south west with significant plantings coming from the Aveyron department.

Aramon (grape) varietal

Aramon or Aramon noir is a variety of red wine grape grown primarily in Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France. Between the late 19th century and the 1960s, it was France's most grown grape variety, but plantings of Aramon have been in continuous decline since the mid-20th century. Aramon has also been grown in Algeria, Argentina and Chile but nowhere else did it ever reach the popularity it used to have in the south of France.

Braquet is a red French wine grape variety grown predominantly in the Provence region of southeastern France, particularly in the Bellet Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) where it is as both a blending and varietal grape in still and rosé wines. Also known as Brachet, the vine produces naturally low yields and light bodied wines that are delicately perfumed. Recent thought among ampelographers is that Braquet is not related to the more aromatic Italian wine grape of the Piedmont region known as Brachetto.


Picardan or Picardan blanc is a white wine grape which is one of 13 permitted blending grapes within the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC in Rhône wine region in France, altohough very little planted. The Vitis International Variety Catalogue previously listed Oeillade blanche as the primary name of the variety, but now identifies Araignan as the primary name. However, since the variety is practically unknown for any other use than the Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend, it most commonly goes under the name used for it in that appellation.

Terret gris is a white French wine grape variety planted primarily in the Languedoc wine region. It is a mutation of the ancient Vitis vinifera vine Terret. Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) regulations allow the grape to be used in white wines from the Corbières, Coteaux du Languedoc and Minervois AOCs as well as some vin de pays. The vine has a very long history in the region and is capable of producing full bodied wines with crisp acidity.

Terret blanc is a white French wine grape variety growing primarily in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. It is a mutation of the Terret vine that also spawned the dark skinned Terret noir and light-skinned Terret gris varieties.

Caladoc varietal

Caladoc is a red French wine grape variety planted primarily in the southern wine regions such as the Languedoc. The grape is a crossing of Grenache and Malbec created by Paul Truel in 1958 at Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA).

Calitor varietal

Calitor or Calitor noir is a red French wine grape variety. It was previously widely cultivated in southern France, in particular in Provence, but is now very rare, almost extinct. Historically used as mainly a blending variety, Calitor gives high yields and produces a light-bodied and lightly colored wine. When grown on hillside sites, it can give a wine of character.

Alicante Ganzin is a red French wine grape variety. Unlike most Vitis vinifera wine grapes, Alicante Ganzin is a teinturier with dark flesh that produces red juice. Most varieties used to produce red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, etc., have clear color flesh and juice with the wine receiving its color through a maceration process where the color seeps out of the grape skins for as long as they are in contact with the juice. Alicante Ganzin can thus produce light red and rose colored wine without maceration. It is believed that Alicante Ganzin is often described as the progenitor of all French teinturier grapes.

Brun Fourca varietal

Brun Fourca is a red French wine grape variety that once grew widely throughout Provence and Southwest France but is now limited to small plantings within the Palette Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC).

Terret (grape)

Terret is an ancient Vitis vinifera vine that, like the parent Pinot vine of Pinot noir's history, mutated over the course of thousands of years into grape varieties of several color. Originating in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine of southern France, the descendents of Terret now include the red wine variety Terret noir, the white Terret blanc and the light-skinned Terret gris.

Béquignol noir is a red French wine grape variety that originated in Southwest France but is now more widely grown in the Mendoza wine region of Argentina where it is often used to add color to blends. The grape is often confused with several other red wine varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Durif, Fer and Prunelard with Béquignol noir sharing several synonyms with these grapes. However DNA profiling has shown Béquignol noir to be distinct from those grape varieties. Further research in 2011 showed that Béquignol noir may have a parent-offspring relationship with the Savagnin grape.

Œillade noire is a red French wine grape variety that has been historically grown in the Languedoc and Provence wine region but it is now close to extinction. The grape is often confused for the Rhone wine grape Cinsault which is known under the synonym œillade noire when it is sold as a table grape. It was also once thought to be a color mutation of Picardan which is known as œillade blanche and share several similar synonyms to œillade noire. However the grape has no known relation to both Cinsault and Picardan.

Bouteillan noir is a red French wine grape variety that is grown in the Provence wine region of southern France. While the grape has been recorded growing in the Vaucluse region since at least the early 18th century, today the grape is virtually extinct. Despite sharing synonyms with another Provençal grape, Calitor, and the Languedoc wine grape Aramon noir, Bouteillan noir has no known relationship with either of those variety. The white Provençal grape Colombaud was once thought to be a white berried color mutation of Bouteillan noir but research conducted by Dr. Linda Bisson of the University of California, Davis shows that while the two grapes are likely related, one is not a color mutation of the other.

Gueuche noir is a red French wine grape variety that has been historically grown in the Franche-Comté of eastern France but is now close to being extinct. Though its exact relationship has not yet been determined by DNA analysis, ampelographers believe that the grape variety is closely related to the Hunnic grape Gouais blanc which is notable for being the mother vine to several grape varieties including Chardonnay and Gamay. There also might be a relationship between Gueuche noir and the Jura wine grape Enfariné noir.


  1. J. Robinson, J. Harding and J. Vouillamoz Wine Grapes - A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours pgs 910-911 Allen Lane 2012 ISBN   978-1-846-14446-2
  2. 1 2 J. Robinson Vines, Grapes & Wines pg 203 Mitchell Beazley 1986 ISBN   978-1-85732-999-5
  3. 1 2 3 4 Wine Pros "Tibouren entry" The Oxford Companion to Wine . Accessed: February 21, 2011
  4. 1 2 3 J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes pg 22 Oxford University Press 1996 ISBN   0-19-860098-4
  5. J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Wine Course Third Edition pg 149 Abbeville Press 2003 ISBN   0-7892-0883-0
  6. P. Saunders Wine Label Language pg 66-67 Firefly Books 2004 ISBN   1-55297-720-X
  7. Tibouren, Vitis International Variety Catalogue, Accessed: February 21, 2011
  8. Tibouren blanc, Vitis International Variety Catalogue, Accessed: February 21, 2011
  9. Tibouren gris, Vitis International Variety Catalogue, Accessed: February 21, 2011
  10. Bicane, Vitis International Variety Catalogue, Accessed: February 21, 2011