This grape, which used to be one of the most popular varieties of France, is typically grown in the region of Loire in large numbers.
At one time its popularity soared so high, that despite being a grape which produces white wine, it occupied the third spot amongst the red wine grapes in the late twentieth century in the department of Loir-et-Cher.
This included the popular wine making areas of Cour-Cheverny, Montrichard, Cheverny, Oisly, Valençay and Saint-Romain-sur-Cher as well as those vineyards which made wine under the Cremant de Loire AOC, Touraine AOC and the Vin de Pays du Loir et Cher.
Despite being a minority, the production of this grape was at its peak, thanks to the rising demand of this grape amongst the wine consumers of the world.
History of Arbois grape variety
Ampelographers are still not completely sure about how Arbois grape originated, though some of the synonyms suggest that the grape typically shares a relation with the Pinot varietal family, as does the grape’s weak association with the Juras wine region of the Arbois AOC.
Thanks to the similarity of its leaf structure to that of the Savagnin variety. Ampelographers feel that this grape came into existence in the Loire region itself, from where it prospered to become the region’s one of the most popular grape varieties.
Most of the Arboisgrape’s viticulture history is linked to the historic region of Touraine where it still i9s quite prevalent, mainly in the department of Loir-et-Cher.
Wines with Arbois grapes
Characteristics of Arbois grape variety
Arbois grape which is also known by the name of Menu Pineau, Pineau Menu & Petit Pineau throughout the whole of France & Herbois, Orbois & Verdet in some parts of the country is an obscure white wine grape variety used as a blending component in the wines produced in the Loire Valley.
From being one of the most popular grape varieties of France to losing ground to other grape varieties and occupying, just 750 acres or 300 hectares of land in the whole of France in the year 2004, Arbois grape have seen it all.
Characteristics of Arbois wine
The Arbois grape wine is a permitted grape variety in the several Appellation d’originecontrôlée (AOC) of France, which includes regions like Cheverny AOC, Valençay AOC & + Vouvray AOC.
In fact, in case of Vouvray AOC, the only other grape variety allowed for a blend apart from Arbois is Chenin Blanc, as Arbois wine typically has the power to soften and regulate the acidic content of Chenin Blanc.
The reason why Arbois wine is permitted to be used as an AOC in so many wines of Loire is, it tends to soften the quality of the wines produced from this region, especially those which are produced for early consumption.
Arbois grapes tend to produce wines which are softer in texture and flavour with less of acidity level, being one of the reasons it’s being used for blending with the grapes like Savagnin & Romorantin.
This grape has a tendency to overgrow and give a very high yield, which is good if one sees the numbers, however, bad when it comes to the quality of the wines produced from it.
If not pruned properly, this vine tends to give high yields which are vigorous and which produces wines which are under ripe in flavour.
And hence, this wine, due to its difficulty in growing, is rarely found as a varietal wine.
Taste and flavours of Arbois grape wines
The Arbois wine typically gives a soft, slightly fruity, and a nutty flavour which almost gives a character of minerals and charcoal.
Food pairings with the wine made from Arbois grapes
Wine made with the Arbois grapes can typically be paired with food items like the Sake marinated grilled vegetables, Garlicky polenta wedges, Toétché, Trout rillettes, sautéed wild mushrooms (black trumpet, yellow foot, oyster & hedgehog).
Also Morbier and Comté cheeses, warm salad of wild mushrooms & roasted rose fine potatoes, Wickson apples and breakfast radishes with grey sea salt & cultured butter pairs well with this wine.