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Wine News

Chardonnay's mother is poor relation

A study has identified the maternal parent of leading grape varieties is a grape once banned in parts of Europe because of its poor quality. The grape is Gouais Blanc which was widely planted in France in the middle ages and is mother to Chardonnay, Gamay, Aligoté, Auxerrois, Bachet, Franc Noir, Melon, Romorantin and Sacy.

Scientists already knew that a number of modern-day grapes resulted from spontaneous crosses between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc but this study using DNA analysis by the Universities of Cambridge and Stanford pinpointed the latter as the 'maternal parent' of nine out of 12 varieties.

The Oxford Companion to Wine describes Gouais as a light-skinned variety, producing 'very ordinary, acid wine'.