Definition - What does Clairette mean?

Clairette is a historic French white grape variety that has been grown and used in white wine and white blends since the beginning of French viticulture. Since the 18th century, this grape has been used less in favor of varieties that are hardier and of higher quality. This variety is still used for sparkling, fresh white wines that are easy to drink and pairs well with salmon, shellfish, ginger flavoring and fresh vegetables.

WineFrog explains Clairette

In French, Clairette translate to “light one,” and this white grape is rare but still grown in France in the Languedoc and Rhone Valley regions. The majority of Clairette grapes can be found growing in Montelimar in central Rhone where it is categorized in the Clairette de Die appellation. The most notable region in Rhone that uses Clairette is the exclusive Chateanuef-du-Pape, which uses the grape to blend with its Blanc white wine. The Clairette de Bellegarde and Clairette du Languedoc are the select regions in Languedoc that continue to make still clairette wines, but most clairette makes either sparkling white or rose. Wines made with Clairette should be drunk soon after bottling as this varietal does not age well, as it is susceptible to oxidation. Thus, this wine is not ageworthy.

The high acidity and low alcohol content makes this grape easy to blend and contains crisp lime and apple, peach, licorice flavors with floral undertones. The grape is also grown in Russia, Australia and South Africa as it prefers limestone soils and warm weather.

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