Sunday, May 30, 2010

Castel 19637 Grape

Many people have not heard of this grape but it has been cultivated as a red French-American hybrid for decades. Castel 19637 or Castel which is it's common name, is a cross between Cinsaut x V. rupestris.

Cinsaut itself is a high producer and can make an excellent wine (good blog details at this link - fun wine blog). In South Africa Cinsaut is also known as Hermitage and it was crossed with Pinot Noir to make Pinotage (Pinot Noir + Hermitage = Pinotage) Hence the name.

The Castel vine is also highly productive and has been reported up top 6 tons per acre. It is recommended for the shorter season areas of British Columbia and rated well in a variety trial held on Vancouver Island in the late 1980's (link - see The Duncan Project). Over the 5 years that grapes were harvested in this study the average Brix was 24, PH was 3.12, and the TA was 1.27. The five year average degree days accumulation was 900 from April to October. These are great numbers for such low degree day accumulations and are similar to the numbers that have been observed from this variety in trials in Minnisota which recorded Brix 23.9°, 3.05 pH, and 10.3 g/l of acidity. The comments on the wine from the Duncan Project were "red, intense colour, full body, attractive, earthy flavour, hybrid character, acidity." It is also widely grown in Denmark.
It has excellent cold hardiness to -30 c and disease resistance against Powdery Mildew and Downy Mildew. It ripens in the same period as Leon Millot about 85-90 days from flowering to harvest. This variety is said to be excellent for the back yard grower as well as the commercial vineyard and is quite easy to manage. It can be trained to several styles including VSP or hanging curtain.

This variety is made into sevaral different syles including rose, fruity red and a complex big wine. The Castel I've tasted from Domaine de Grande Pre and Gaspereau Vineyards in Nova Scotia were both excellent and are very similar to Pinotage I've had from the Soljans Estate, New Zealand. Zanatta Winery and Cherry Point Vineyard on Vancouver Island both harvest this grape. Zanatta uniquely blends it with Cabernet Sauvignon to make champagne they call "Taglio Rosso" (Brut) and Cherry Point makes a varietal from Castel that they call "Forte". Here is a link to someone who has tasted the Cherry Point Castel

Here are some more links to information about this variety.
Castel link
Castel link