I was first introduced to Jean-Roger Calvet on a balmy, breezy June afternoon walking over the freshly mowed grass field outside La Verrière, Provence, the venue for the First International Grenache Symposium.
The symposium itself was a bit of serendipity.While in Europe on my first exploratory trip David brought to my attention this new exciting gathering of grenache aficionados. It was simply a coincidence that I was in the neighborhood, but I find it no coincidence that the wine world was beginning to focus on grenache. I am obviously not the only one with this beauty on her mind.
What an unexpected climax to almost three months of research on this very grape.Jean-Roger impressed me as a quiet, modest, and polite man. Young and handsome he seemed almost shy. I thought that it might be because he did not speak English. I was wrong on a number of counts (his English is excellent) and indeed he is modest and polite, but not shy.
I returned to France for harvest 2010 and busted my rear for a couple of weeks in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and then a couple more in the Roussillon. I was so taken with the area that I was ready to “settle down” in Maury and throw my lot in with the ruddy, sun worn people of Catalonia. This was the first Old World statement of grenache that I wanted to make. Jean-Roger and his wife Marie became my first “partners” in the OVGP.
They are hardworking, fun, and warm. Jean-Roger handles the winemaking, Marie the vineyards. They both oversee the business, sales, and marketing of their small winery Thunevin-Calvet. They have been invaluable in helping me launch this project, navigate the bureaucracy (that is a French word after all!) and the culture.
Simply put: I could not have done this without them.