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Snooth User: embarr

Hi from Thailand

Posted by embarr, Feb 5, 2013.

Hi everyone,

My name is Alex, I'm retired and living in Thailand where I spend time on my passions, Sailing, Biking and of course wine and sake making. I`ve been making wines with my dad since my early childhood and so it is something genetic I guess.

I actually found this community while searching for Clinto (Clinton) vines which I would love to ciltivate here and see how they fair in this `harsh`climate. Clinto is a wine we always had, in small amounts unfortunately due to the ignorant and misguided laws in europe, but always produced excellent wines (and never killed or made anyone made LOL). I believe the varietal would produce excellent wine here in Thailand if the soil is prepared properly.

Should anyone know of any vines available please don`t hesitate to contact me. Thnx and Cheers.


Reply by EMark, Feb 5, 2013.

Welcome to Snooth, Alex.  I had never heard of the Clinton grape, before, and while I'm sorry that I cannot help you find any vines, I do want to thank you for bringing it to my attention.  I learn something at Snooth every day.

Reply by embarr, Feb 5, 2013.

Thanks Mark.

Clinto was banned first in France during the early 1930s when the local wine industry was loosing market shares to imported vines, which actually saved the european wine industry from total distruction. 

Most of you probably already know but for those who don't, Vines from North America were being imported to Europe in the 1800s (1830s on) to create hybrids and fight the powdery mould fungus. Unfortunately, with these vines Phylloxera was imported and this root pest virtually destroyed the entire European vines around 1870s. Some varietals from NA though were resistant to Phylloxera and by grafting the European varietals onto different stocks from NA total desaster was avoided in the last seconds.

One of the imported NA vines was Clinto, which is a natural ocurring hybrid between vitis riparia and vitis labrusca. Besides being extreemly resistant to phylloxera and pretty much any other desease, it yields an excellent wine, one that went on to dominate northeastern Italy for a while, until it was banned that is.

While it is certainly true that some of these hybrids did yield poor results, it was hardly the general rule. But in the economic downturn during and following the second world war the excuse was used when measures were taken by the French governement to help their suffering wine industry which was, on top of other things, loosing market shares to other wines.

Following a ban by France on hybrids and imported vines, Italy and Switzerland soon followed. Yet one particular vine was defying these laws and so, like with Absinth, in the early 1950s a well financed campaign of missinformation started branding these drinks as toxic...the word spread quickly and in turn the result was a serious crackdown and stiffer laws to prevent commerce of these.

Truth is, Clinto, like Absinth, has never killed or made anyone crazy that any other wine consumed in the same quantities wouldn't have. Of course these laws are still in place, it would be hard for so many officials to admit that they were total asses and just plaid plain politics into the French wine industry. Today Absinth has regained a legal status and has quickly captured a crowd of followers. Clinto (aka Clinton, Carmes, Worthington) is used in very small amounts in French and Italy but more so in the US, Australia, Chile (sometimes mistakenly sold as Merlot) and in Austria where it still used as hybrid for some very popular wines. My uncle still had Clinto until a decade or so ago when the governement forced him to destroy the remaining vines. How missguided can our governements be...

Sorry for making shuch a long story...the bottom line is, Clinto is a full bodied wine with lots of tannin and acidity, very well balanced. It has great fruity notes and a hint of spiciness and a long lingering finish on the palate. It is very dark, has an almost black appearance and usually has a solid alcohool content (15 to 17 apv). If you have a chance to find some I urge you to try it. It is, hands down, my favorit wine.

As a final note, there was a movie with Russel Crow (I can't remember the title) where he inherits his uncles vinyards in France, one of his wines was called the "Le coin perdu" (the lost corner) and it was all about Clinto of course.


Reply by EMark, Feb 6, 2013.

Very interesting, Alex.  Thank you.  My guess is that I'll have a better chance of finding the movie than finding wine from the grape, but I'll keep my eyes open.

From your description it sounds like the wine packs a wallop--full bodied, lots of tannin and acidity, and an ABV over 15%.  Believe me, I want to try it.  At my age many of the taste buds are dead.  So, I am all over "in your face" wines.  Subtlety is pretty much lost on me. :-)

Reply by embarr, Feb 7, 2013.

Don't kidd yourself Mark, it packs a wollop allright but the wine is a true symphony of is one of those that lets you smell the climatic conditions of the particular year, it lets you feel the sun and taste the kind of soil the vines are growing in.

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