Duras grape variety

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Duras grape variety
Wine glossary

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Country: France

Duras is a red grape variety found in the Tarn Valley in South-West France north east of the city of Toulouse. It may have been introduced to the area by the Romans over 2000 years ago.
It is certainly used in the Gaillac appellation where it is one of the allowed red grape varieties. In the 1950s and 1960s many growers were urged to uproot local varieties and instead plant ‘international’ varieties such as Shiraz and Chardonnay. By the end of the 19602 less than 100 hectares of Duras survived.
In the Gaillac region, however, the 1980s and 1990s saw the emergence of a group of vignerons who saw the folly in following international trends and they returned to their native varieties and started planting Duras, Fer Servadou, Alicante, Prunelard and Jurancon Noir - all red varieties in danger of disappearing. By 2009 over 1000 hectares of Duras had been established in the valley.
The leaves of the Duras vine have long lateral lobes. Wine made from this grape can resemble a soft Shiraz due to the spicy, peppery notes that are found. It produces quite elegant wines with deep colour and beautifully restrained tannis.
Duras is one of the varieties found in the popular Causse Marines Gaillac Peyrouzelles. Causse Marines also make a pure Duras called Rasdu 2008 which they market as a Vin de Table because the rules of the Gaillac appellation require that wines are blended rather than being single varietal. (The red wines must contain both Duras and Fer Servadou, for example.)
For fans of Jura wines, it has recently been discovered through DNA testing that Duras along with Petit Verdot are the parents of the Trousseau grape variety which is commonly used to make elegant, light red wines in the Jura such as the stunning Michel Gahier Grands Vergers or the Philippe Bornard Le Ginglet and le Garde-corps.

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