The Counoise Grape, Coming to Texas and the World

Written on 03/12/2022
Amie Nemec


This French grape, pronounced ‘koon-wahz,’ is known for its peppery notes that add complexity to blends from the Rhône Valley. You may know it as one of the 13 varieties allowed in a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Typically blended with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre in the Rhone and other parts of the world as well, we are seeing this dark-skinned grape shine as a single-varietal wine. The wines are light-colored and light-bodied but heavy on complexity. It’s bright acidity makes it a great wine for food pairing as well. Look for some great examples here in Texas by French Connection. In Australia, it is being experimented with in small-batches and typically in blends from the McLaren Vale. Look for Larry Cherubino Wines, who is aiming for Rhone quality down under. While Four Men and a Shed winery in Barossa Valley has a light, fruity wine with Counoise blended with Carignan. Paso Robles’ Tablas Creek Vineyard is responsible for nearly every Rhone variety having been cut from France and propagated for planting in California. They generally blend, but Counoise can be found in a small lot single-varietal from exceptional vintages. Groundwork has also done a bright single-varietal out of Cali. Washington’s Columbia Valley AVA is also seeing some success with growing this grape, but I’ve only found it used as a very small portion of a GSM blend. Keep an eye out, as this could be an interesting grape gaining traction in Texas.