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South African Grape Varietals

Discovering Clairette Blanche: A Guide To South Africa’s Rare Grape Variety

Discovering Clairette Blanche: A Guide to South Africa’s Rare Grape Variety. Have you ever heard of this rare and special grape variety? It is a popular cultivar in the wine world, but its origins remain mysterious. This guide will take you on a journey through the history of this unique grape variety, from where it comes from to how it’s used today by winemakers all over the world. So what are you waiting for? Let’s start exploring!

Clairette Blanche has been cultivated since at least the mid-18th century; however, its exact origin remains unknown. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn more about this fascinating vine – its flavor profile is like no other. While some describe it as having aromas of apricot and peach with a slightly floral finish, others describe flavors of lemon zest or even honeydew melon! What makes this grape so interesting is its ability to pair perfectly with many different types of dishes and beverages.

The secret behind Clairette Blanche lies in how it’s grown and processed by local winemakers. By understanding how these practices influence the taste and quality of the final product, we can better appreciate why this rare white variety is such an important part of South African viticulture culture. With our help, you’ll be able to discover everything there is to know about Clairette Blanche and understand why it’s become such an integral part of many wineries’ portfolios!

History Of Clairette Blanche

Clairette Blanche is a rare grape variety that has been cultivated in South Africa for centuries. Yet, its renown and popularity have only recently been discovered. It’s an ancient varietal with fascinating origins. On one hand, it’s said to be the result of natural cross-pollination between two French varieties – Clairette Rose and Muscat de Frontignan; on the other hand, there are some who believe it was brought over by Dutch settlers back in 1657. Whether through serendipity or human intervention, this dynamic grape offers complex aromas and flavors that make it sought after among winemakers today. From captivating citrus notes to hints of herbal tea and honeycomb, Clairette Blanche wines promise delightful sipping experiences. The future looks bright for this special varietal as more oenophiles discover its unique attributes–it’s only just beginning to make its mark on the wine world! With so much potential ahead of it, let us now explore where this remarkable grape is grown throughout South Africa.

Growing Regions For The Grape

The Clairette Blanche grape is most commonly found in the Mediterranean region, specifically France and Italy. It’s also grown in California, where it has become increasingly popular due to its distinct flavor profile. In South Africa, however, the variety can be found mostly in the Western Cape province. This area enjoys a unique combination of hot days and cool nights that gives this delicate grape an ideal environment for growth.

Vines are often planted on slopes with good drainage and plenty of sunlight exposure. The soil should be well-drained but not overly dry so that it provides adequate moisture. Additionally, low fertility soils tend to produce more intense flavors as they limit how much sugar is produced by the grapes.

Overall, growing regions must provide ample light, water and nutrient availability if vineyards want to realize their full potential when cultivating Clairette Blanche grapes. These conditions create a perfect climate for producing wines with bright acidity and complex aromas – something that makes them stand out among other white varieties.

Characteristics Of The Vine And Grapes

Clairette Blanche is a grape variety like no other – its unique features are what make it stand out from the crowd. It’s vine and grapes display an array of distinguishing characteristics:

  • The clairette blanche vines have small, tightly packed leaves with greyish-green topsides.
  • The grapes themselves are oval shaped with thick skins that can range in colour from yellow to green and even pink on occasion.
  • Most importantly, they possess high levels of acidity which give them their signature ‘punchy’ flavour profile.

These distinct qualities allow clairette blanche to craft elegant white wines with complex character and body, making it highly sought after among wine enthusiasts all over South Africa. Its ability to thrive in diverse climates further increases its appeal as a varietal for both amateur growers and commercial winemakers alike. With such captivating traits, one cannot help but be drawn into the mysterious world of this rare grape variety. As we explore further, let’s take a look at how popular Clairette Blanche has become and what cultivation levels exist today.

Popularity And Cultivation Levels

Clairette Blanche is a rare grape variety that has grown in popularity over the years. It’s found primarily in South Africa, where it was first discovered and cultivated. In recent decades its production level has risen steadily, with more winemakers turning to Clairette Blanche for their blends and varietals.

The vineyards of South Africa are known for producing great wines from both local and foreign varieties of grapes. As such, many producers have taken advantage of this opportunity by introducing new grape varieties into their vineyard sites. Currently, there are around twenty-five distinct cultivars of Clairette Blanche available on the market; these include single-varietal wines as well as blended reds and whites.

In terms of cultivation levels, Clairette Blanche vines tend to produce large yields when managed properly. The key is finding the right balance between water availability and temperature during growth periods to ensure optimal ripening conditions. This helps bring out the best characteristics in the finished product while keeping costs low at harvest time. With proper care, a single acre can yield up to four tons of ripe grapes ready for fermentation or bottling.

These factors combined make Clairette Blanche an attractive choice for wine producers looking to expand their range of options without sacrificing quality or taste. Moving forward, understanding climate conditions needed for growing will be integral in furthering its spread across South Africa’s diverse landscape.

Climate Conditions Needed For Growing

Clairette Blanche is a delicate grape variety that requires specific climate conditions to thrive. To start, this white grape can only flourish in warmer climates with ample sunshine and little rainfall during the growing season. It also needs plenty of air movement to keep mildew away. As such, it’s best suited for Mediterranean-style climates or warm inland valleys located near rivers and streams that create an ideal habitat for vine growth.

The grape vines themselves should be planted on south-facing slopes that are protected from strong winds while still receiving adequate sunlight throughout the day. The soil composition must have good drainage too, as maintaining dry soil helps prevent disease development in the buds and fruit clusters. Lastly, Clairette Blanche has been known to do well when trained along trellises at least 2 meters tall so that air can circulate around the vines more freely.

Now armed with these environmental requirements, growers looking to plant Clairette Blanche will find success if they adhere closely to them. With careful attention paid towards cultivating this rare varietal, winemakers may be rewarded by its unique flavor profile and complexity once harvested.

Age Of Vines And Yields

Clairette blanche is a relatively young vine, with most of the vines planted in South Africa over the last decade. The majority of these are trellised on wire systems and grown as bushvines, typically pruned to three or four buds per shoot. Clairette blanche yields tend to be low but can vary depending on soil type and age of the vines. Yields usually range from 4-8 tons/hectare and produce wines that have great depth and complexity due to their concentrated flavor profile.

The quality potential of clairette blanche is best realized when it’s grown at lower yields – around 4-6 tonnes per hectare – as this helps to ensure that the grapes ripen evenly and increase phenolic concentration for optimal aromas and flavors in the resulting wine. This also means that growers need to pay close attention to canopy management strategies such as leaf plucking, green harvesting, and water stress management throughout the growing season in order to control yield levels without sacrificing fruit quality or expression.

Although there are many winemaking techniques used with clairette blanche, careful viticultural practices remain essential for producing high-quality wines from this variety. As such, understanding how different vineyard management approaches affect the characteristics of the final product remains key for ensuring successful harvests year after year. With proper care and attention in both viticulture and winemaking, clairette blanche has tremendous potential for creating exceptional wines full of character and personality. Next, we’ll explore some common winemaking techniques used with this variety.

Winemaking Techniques Used With Clairette Blanche

The sun sets over the vineyard, a golden hue cascading throughout. A winemaker stands in awe of the beauty of Clairette Blanche grapes growing on the vines, ready to be harvested and transformed into something extraordinary.

Winemaking TechniqueUse With Clairette Blanche
FermentationDry or sweet wine production
MacerationIncrease body & aroma
AgeingOak or Stainless Steel Barrels

Clairette Blanche is known for its high acidity, making it an ideal grape variety for both dry and sweet wines. The fermentation process can range from off-dry to fully dry depending on the desired style. For more complexity, maceration techniques are employed which help to increase body and aromatics while developing flavors such as tropical fruits, honeysuckle, peach skin and honeyed apricot. To further develop flavor profiles, aging in oak barrels is often done with Clairette Blanche to add notes of toast and vanilla spice that pair perfectly with dishes like spicy curries or rich desserts. Additionally, stainless steel barrels may also be used during ageing which helps preserve freshness and vibrant fruit character in this unique varietal.

With these various winemaking techniques at their disposal, vintners have endless possibilities when crafting wines made from Clairette Blanche – allowing them to create remarkable expressions that stand out against others! Moving beyond the glass and onto food pairings for wines made from this rare South African grape variety brings even greater potential for discovery…

Food Pairings For Wines Made From Clairette Blanche

Clairette Blanche is a versatile grape variety that can be used to make wines with various flavor profiles, making it perfect for food pairing. Depending on the style of Clairette Blanc wine made, different dishes should be paired to optimize its flavors. Here are some guidelines:

*Rich White Wines:
-These whites tend to have more body and complexity than other styles. They pair well with heartier fish dishes like salmon, tuna steaks or even roasted chicken. Rich sauces such as cream sauce or buttery sauces also work great with this type of wine.
-More robust cheeses such as Brie, Camembert and blue cheese go well with these white wines too. The rich texture and intensity of these wines stands up to the bolder flavors in these types of cheese.

*Light Dry Whites :
-Lighter dry white wines are best served alongside lighter fare such as salads and seafood dishes like grilled shrimp skewers or sole meunière. These bright and aromatic whites need something light enough that won’t overpower their delicate notes.
-Fresh goat’s cheese is excellent when paired with this style of Clairette Blanche wine due to its mild yet tangy flavor profile that complements the acidity in the wine nicely.

The range of possible food pairings for Clairette Blanc allows you to get creative while finding the perfect complement for your favorite bottle! With so many possibilities, one thing is certain – whatever dish you choose will perfectly compliment any style of Clairette Blanche wine you decide to enjoy! Moving forward, let’s take a look at where we can find commercially available bottles featuring this rare grape variety from South Africa.

Commercial Availability

Ah, the joys of finding a rare and obscure grape variety! A thrill like no other. But after all that searching comes one inevitable question: Where can I get some? Well, if you’re in search of Clairette Blanche then have no fear! It may be hard to come by but it is indeed commercially available – and here’s how you can find it.

First off, you should check out your local wine shop or specialty grocer. There are an increasing number of stores carrying this unique varietal, so don’t be afraid to ask around. Your best bet would be to look for distributors from South Africa as they tend to carry more options than anywhere else. You could also try online retailers that specialize in South African wines – they usually have quite a selection on hand. And lastly, don’t forget about wineries themselves; many offer their own signature bottles directly through their sites.

So there you have it: with a bit of detective work and determination, you too can join the ranks of connoisseurs who enjoy this special gem from down under. Now let’s move on to exploring price points for Clairette Blanche wines…

Price Points For Clairette Blanche Wines

Clairette Blanche is accessible at a variety of price points, making it an enjoyable and affordable wine for everyone. The table below provides examples of the range of prices available.

Price RangeWine
£8-£18Cederberg Clairette Blanche 2018
£19-£25Daschbosch Avon Clairette Blanche
£25-£30Van Loveren Family Collection Chardonnay-Viognier 2017
Above £30DeMorgenzon Maestro White Blend 2016
Price Points For Clairette Blanche Wines

Although cheaper wines can be found in this variety, splurging on pricier bottles is highly encouraged as they tend to provide more complexity and character. If you’re looking to age your bottle of Clairette Blanche, opt for something around or above the thirty dollar mark – these will develop best over time. To ensure that you have selected a quality Clairette Blanche, always look out for awards and accolades received by the winery or particular vintage before purchasing!

Awards And Accolades Received

Dedication and passion have their rewards. Clairette blanche has been recognized for its excellence in the wine world, earning many awards and accolades. It is like a beauty pageant contestant whose hard work pays off with success and admiration from an audience of appreciative peers.

At various competitions around South Africa and abroad, clairette blanche wines have earned gold medals and top honors. At the Veritas Wine Awards held annually in Stellenbosch since 1993, several varieties of this white grape variety have won coveted prizes. In 2016, La Motte’s Sauvignon Blanc-Clairette Blanche blend was awarded Double Gold; at the same competition two years later, Kleine Zalze’s Reserve Barrel Fermented Clairette Blanche 2017 also achieved Double Gold status.

These successes are testament to the potential of clairette blanche wines when made by winemakers who understand how best to bring out the delicate character of this varietal — combining it with other grapes or leaving it pure as a single varietal can both lead to excellent results. Through these achievements, clairette blanche continues to be introduced to more consumers worldwide, delighting those fortunate enough to try it with its unique flavor profile that ranges between citrusy lemony notes and aromas reminiscent of exotic fruits such as guava or pineapple. With recognition growing year on year, there will no doubt be exciting new developments ahead for this rare grape variety from South Africa. This provides ample opportunity for curious enthusiasts to explore events featuring clairette blanche wines, where they can educate themselves further about this exceptional varietal and sample some exquisite examples firsthand!

Events Featuring Clairette Blanche Wines

The popularity of Clairette Blanche wines is surging, leading to a number of events where the variety can be sampled and enjoyed. There are now several wine festivals that feature Clairette Blanche in South Africa every year. Many wineries around the country also host special tastings for their own offerings as well as other vineyards’ versions of this increasingly popular grape.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience with Clairette Blanche, visit one of the region’s many estate restaurants or boutique hotels. These establishments often serve up traditional dishes paired with specialty bottles from nearby vintners who specialize in producing exceptional examples of this unique variety. They may even offer private dinners featuring all-Clairette Blanche pairings designed by renowned chefs.

For those interested in learning more about the history and production methods behind this rare varietal, there are educational seminars available at some locations dedicated to educating guests on the nuances and complexities associated with crafting top quality Clairette Blanche wines.
These events provide a great opportunity to get acquainted with South Africa’s most beloved white grape while enjoying its distinctively fruity flavor profile. With so many options available, it won’t take long before discovering why Clairette Blanche continues to gain acclaim among oenophiles worldwide. Moving forward, we’ll explore the potential health benefits of drinking clairette blanche wine.

Health Benefits Of Drinking Clairette Blanche Wine

Clairette Blanche is a rare grape variety found in South Africa, and its wines have numerous health benefits. Research has demonstrated that moderate consumption of Clairette Blanche wine can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as certain types of cancer. Studies also suggest that consuming this type of white wine may help to improve digestion, sleep quality, and cognitive function.

Furthermore, due to its low tannin levels compared to red wines, drinking Clairette Blanche is gentler on the digestive system than other varieties. It is believed that these low tannins are responsible for helping with inflammation-related conditions such as arthritis. Additionally, due to the presence of polyphenols in Clairette Blanche’s composition, it can provide anti-oxidative protection against free radicals in the body which could otherwise lead to cell damage or premature aging.

Given all these potential health benefits associated with drinking Clairette Blanche wine, it’s no wonder why this unique grape variety has become so popular in recent years. Its popularity has spurred conservation efforts underway by local winemakers and vintners who seek to preserve this rare varietal for future generations.

Conservation Efforts Underway

Having examined the health benefits of drinking Clairette Blanche wine, it is now time to explore conservation efforts underway. As a grape variety native to South Africa, there are several initiatives and organizations devoted to preserving this unique species.

One such organization is the Table Mountain Wine Route (TMWR). Established in 2006, their mission has been to conserve biodiversity within viticulture regions of South Africa. Specifically, TMWR has focused on safeguarding endemic varieties like Clairette Blanche from extinction due to urbanization or changing climates. The organization works with wineries along the West Coast region of South Africa—where many vineyards grow Clairette Blanche—to ensure that necessary steps are taken for its preservation.

In addition to protecting endangered vines, TMWR makes sure that resources are readily available to farmers who wish to cultivate Clairette Blanche grapes. Through educational programs and workshops, they have provided growers with information about best practices when handling the delicate grape variety. Furthermore, through grant funding and sponsorships, TMWR aims to encourage more people across South Africa’s wine industry towards cultivating this rare species sustainably.

With these efforts in place, there lies great potential for the future outlook of Clairette Blanche as an essential part of South African viticulture culture and history.

Future Outlook For The Variety

The future outlook for the Clairette Blanche grape variety looks promising. This rare South African varietal is gaining recognition among winemakers and wine lovers alike, who are drawn to its unique flavor profile. As demand increases, so does production.

Currently, a few select vineyards in the Western Cape region of South Africa are growing this white grape variety. But with more attention being paid to it, there’s potential for expansion into other regions:

  • Vineyards in Swartland have begun experimenting with the variety;
  • Wineries across Stellenbosch and Franschhoek have also started planting vineyards;
  • And some areas in Paarl and Wellington may soon follow suit.

Clairette Blanche has certainly made strides since its discovery less than two decades ago – from an obscure niche-variety to one that is celebrated around the world. With new plantings on the rise and interest increasing by day, chances are high that we’ll be seeing even more of this remarkable grape variety in years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Acres Of Clairette Blanche Are Currently Being Cultivated?

Clairette Blanche is a rare grape variety found in South Africa. It’s an intriguing fruit, and one that many people want to learn more about. As such, it’s important to answer the question of how much acreage is currently being used for its cultivation.

Currently, there are approximately 30 acres of Clairette Blanche planted throughout South Africa. The majority of these grapes are located in two provinces: Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. In addition to this, some smaller vineyards have experimented with planting small amounts within their own operations. These plots range from as small as half an acre up to four or five acres at most.

Although the number of acres devoted to growing Clairette Blanche may seem limited compared to other varieties, it still represents a large amount for this particular species. Its rarity makes it difficult for farmers to cultivate on larger scales without compromising quality control; however, efforts are ongoing by researchers and producers alike who wish to make this unique grape accessible for all consumers.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Bottle Of Clairette Blanche Wine?

For those looking to obtain a bottle of the increasingly popular Clairette Blanche wine, it is important to understand the cost associated with purchasing this rare grape variety. As one of South Africa’s most sought-after wines, the price tag can vary depending on the vintage and region that it comes from.

In general, a good quality bottle of Clairette Blanche will typically run between £18-£25 USD. If you’re lucky enough to find an old vintage or single vineyard bottling, however, prices can go up significantly. Some bottles are even rumored to be sold for as much as £80 per bottle!

The best way to get your hands on a great bottle of Clairette Blanche is by asking around in local wineries and tasting rooms. Many smaller producers may have limited quantities available for purchase at reasonable prices. Additionally, online retailers often carry several different types of these rare grapes – making them more accessible than ever before. Ultimately, no matter what type of budget you’re working with, finding a delicious bottle of this unique varietal shouldn’t be too hard if you know where to look!

Is It Possible To Purchase Clairette Blanche Grapes To Make Wine At Home?

Have you ever heard of Clairette Blanche? This rare grape variety is native to South Africa and has become increasingly popular in recent years. While it’s certainly possible to purchase bottles of this exquisite wine, many people are wondering if they can buy grapes to make their own at home. In this article, we’ll explore the possibility of purchasing Clairette Blanche grapes for winemaking purposes.

When considering whether or not one could buy Clairette Blanche grapes to make wine at home, there are a few important factors that must be taken into account. First, availability is always a concern when attempting to purchase any type of fresh produce. Unfortunately, due to its rarity, finding stores that sell these grapes may prove difficult. However, some specialty stores and online retailers do offer them from time to time so it never hurts to check around!

In addition to availability issues, cost is another factor that should be considered before buying Clairette Blanche grapes for winemaking purposes. Generally speaking, prices vary depending on the quality and quantity purchased; however, expect to pay more than average as these grapes tend to be pricier than other varieties. Furthermore, since making your own wine requires additional supplies such as fermentation equipment and aging barrels which also come with added costs, it may end up being cheaper in the long run just purchasing pre-made wines instead.

All things considered though, purchasing Clairette Blanche grapes for winemaking is still an option worth exploring – especially if you’re looking for something unique and special! With some research and effort put in beforehand, it might just turn out that having access to this rare grape variety makes all the difference in creating a truly exceptional bottle of homemade wine.

Does Clairette Blanche Wine Contain Any Health Benefits Not Found In Other Wines?

It is possible to wonder if there are any health benefits that can be found in Clairette Blanche wine compared to other wines. In this article, we will investigate the truth of whether or not consuming Clairette Blanche has any special advantages over drinking other types of vino.

Due to its high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, studies have shown that moderate consumption of red wine may reduce the risk of heart disease. The same goes for white wine made from the popular Sauvignon Blanc grape variety, which contains a similar amount of beneficial compounds as well as low alcohol content. While it’s unclear how much more nutrient-dense than regular white wine Clairette Blanche might be, research suggests that it also possesses antioxidant properties.

Clairette Blanche grapes contain higher concentrations of minerals such as potassium and calcium than most other varieties do. This could lead to increased bone density among those who drink it regularly. Additionally, some studies indicate that these compounds help improve blood flow around your body and protect against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Ultimately, further research needs to be done before definitive conclusions about the potential health benefits associated with Clairette Blanche can be drawn. However, current evidence does suggest that enjoying a glass every now and then could come with some added value beyond just flavor satisfaction!

Are There Any Events Scheduled To Promote Awareness Of Clairette Blanche Wines?

Are there any events scheduled to promote awareness of Clairette Blanche wines? The answer is yes, many wineries and organizations in South Africa have been hosting tastings, dinners, and other promotional events as a way to bring attention to the rare grape variety. These events provide wine lovers with an opportunity to learn more about this unique varietal and sample some of its delicious offerings.

The most common way for people to get involved in promoting awareness of Clairette Blanche wines is by attending these special tastings or dinners. At the event, attendees will be able to try several different types of Clairette Blanche wines while learning more about their history and production methods from knowledgeable experts. Additionally, they may also receive exclusive discounts on purchases made at the venue that night.

By taking part in one of these events, you’ll not only gain a deeper understanding of the distinctive qualities found within this grape variety but also help support local South African vineyards who are devoted to preserving it for generations to come. It’s just another great example of how we can all do our part in helping protect endangered species like Clairette Blanche from extinction.


In conclusion, Clairette Blanche is a rare grape variety that has been cultivated in South Africa for centuries. It’s an exquisite wine with unique characteristics and health benefits not found in other wines. The average cost of a bottle of Clairette Blanche wine is relatively affordable so it’s definitely worth trying if you’re looking to explore the world of South African wines.

For example, my friend recently purchased a bottle of Clairette Blanche from his local winery here in Cape Town – he wasn’t disappointed! The light yellow-green colour was beautiful and the aromas were fruity yet delicate. He also said that it had a crisp acidity with hints of citrus fruits and herbal notes on the palate.

Clairette Blanche may be a rare grape variety but there are still many opportunities to learn more about it through events such as tastings held at wineries or through online classes hosted by experienced sommeliers. There’s something exciting about discovering this rare varietal and learning its history first-hand – I highly recommend giving it a try!

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