The pinot noir 2011 was described as having a complex bouquet with hints of cherries and a touch of thyme and sweet spices. â€˜Aromas of strawberry and raspberry persist in the mouth in a silky finish that is long and delicious,â€™ the judges said, adding that it is perfect for drinking with charcuterie or white meat.
GÃ©rard Samson, the vineyard owner, said he was delighted with the prize and added that it shows that top class wines can be made in Normandy. He believes that the valley in the village of Grisy where the vineyard in situated has its own little microclimate that protects it from frost. The vines are planted on a sunny sloping hillside. â€˜We also have a good supply of water throughout the growing season and the ground warms up quickly,â€™ he explained.
He conducts visits at the vineyard to educate people about growing wine in the region. The soil and the climate give the wines their own distinct flavour.
Although it is currently the only commercial vineyard in Normandy, wine was produced in the region from Medieval times until the 18th century. Mr Samson believes grapes have been grown in the valley for hundreds of years. The famous Cassini map of 1761 shows the vines and the words â€˜Maison du Vigneronâ€™, suggesting wine was certainly being produced on the site then.
Indeed, it was when he was studying to be a notaire at Caen University that he became aware of the fact that there had been a vineyard at Grisy. He found legal documents in the archives. But wine was his passion and while working he travelled through France and Europe discovery the secrets of wine making before starting his own vineyard in 1995 on the site of the ancient grape growing slopes.