Karine BISCARRAT – Domaine Grange Blanche
Karine Biscarrat © A.O.C Rasteau
Climate change is a hot topic for Karine Biscarrat My business experience was something I needed.
and her family. “My father is 82,” she says, “and remembers how it was in his day. We are definitely seeing a rise in the strength of our wines. My father tends to think it’s cyclical, but my husband and I disagree. We need to look to the future, and consider varietals with potentially lower alcohol content – Carignan for example. At appellation level we also have to look at changing our planting specifications. The ability to question her own beliefs and make decisive choices is an integral part of 50-year-old Karen Biscarrat’s character. Rasteau born and bred, the only daughter of a winemaker couple, Karine already has several careers under her belt.
The right experience
Born in the hamlet of Blovac on a farm overlooking the plain, the young Karine had little choice but to leave the fold when it came to studying and choosing a career. In the 1980s it was almost unheard of for a woman to go into winegrowing, despite her own desire to do so. After her studies, she was employed by Campbell France in their quality control department. But it isn’t easy to turn your back on four generations of family history, and her ambition to become a winegrower remained unchanged. “I never doubted that at some time or another, I would come back to the Domaine. I made that quite clear. I needed to know I could make my own way without support from the family.”
Between the hillsides and the Mistral
In 2003, Karine and her husband Didier leapt into the breach and took over the family estate, with Didier looking after the vines. A new chapter – the 5th generation. “In the old winery, the oldest wines dated back to 1850, possibly some of the earliest wines in the village. Basically, it doesn’t change a thing – but it’s symbolic.”
A new, more practical winery was built in 2011. The Domaine’s vines grow at the foot of the appellation where they are open to the Mistral, and on clay slopes that become a sea of mud when it rains. This gives plenty of scope for blending. Grapes are de-stemmed and vinified in the traditional way, giving smooth, expressive wines. “Blending is a very specific art- form,” says Karine. “It takes time, and here too, you sometimes need to question your own beliefs. Every year has its own individual personality.” As her 14th vintage approaches, Karine has no regrets. “It was a calculated move,” she says. “I always knew what I wanted.”