Thursday, April 14, 2016
Clairette du Languedoc, an Ancestral Wine that Never Goes Out of Fashion by Philip S. Kampe
After attending a most compelling MasterClass regarding Clairette du Languedoc, coupled with a generous sampling of the many moods of the grape, I have become quite compassionate about one of the AOC Languedoc's controversial oldest white grapes (1948).
One of Clairette du Languedoc's claim to fame is that it one of the grapes that is used to make Chateauneuf-du-Pape (southern Rhone).
The grape is a light colored grape that grows throughout southern France.The grape was grown widespread since the 18th century, but, as time advanced, the grapes lure ran out and it was replaced by other, well known varietals. The versatile grape, today, produces dry wines that run the gamut to rich, sweet wines.
Clairette de Languedoc is not particularly forgiving to winemakers, which,possibly, contributed to its decline. The problem is that the grape has a tendency to oxidize quite quickly. To counter the oxidation, winegrowers have begun to harvest the grape earlier. This has had a very positive effect on the wines, as they tend to be fresh, crisp and light.
Our professor reminded the class that Clairette means 'light one' in French, thus the movement towards light, mineral driven wines. The grape grows best in warm environments that tend to have limestone as the base.
The high acid wines that use the Clairette grape are normally fresh with hints of peach, granny smith apples, lime and licorice. Shellfish would be the perfect match for the wines made from Clairette du Languedoc.
These full-bodied wines are not widely distributed, but, if you find them, they are well worth the investment.
Philip S. Kampe