Wine Grapes: Clairette


Pronunciation: Kl-erreht

Planted in: France, Italy, Russia, Australia, South Africa.


The name Clairette, meaning ‘light white’, might come from the color of the berries, but since there were many light-white-berried varieties at that time, it is more likely that the name refers to the white hairs on the underside of the leaves, giving them a bright (Clair) appearance.

It can best be described as an old-fashioned variety, producing fairly simple but crisp, sometimes mineral, wines for relatively early drinking. Aside from its more well-known fizzy guise, it is often used as blending partner in the southern Rhône, eg in Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Côtes du Rhône, generally contributing about 30-35% of the mix for white wines and sometimes, as at Château de Beaucastel, adding some freshness to red blends. Château Rayas’ white Châteauneuf comprises 50% Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca) and 50% Clairette and Le Vieux  Donjon’s white generally has equal parts of Clairette and Roussanne. Many other southern Rhône appellations such as Lirac, Tavel, Vacqueyras, Grignan les Adhémar, and Ventoux may include Clairette.


Source: Wine Grapes 
A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavors
Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and Jose Vouillamouz
Published by the Penguin Group

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