American winemaking is a very recent concept. With regions like California, Oregon and New York witnessing winemaking only in the last 50 years, Americans in general have never been a winemaking community.
Contact with European powers during the 19th century, the rise of the American economy in the 20th century and the two world wars were perhaps more than enough for Americans to start gaining knowledge on the thousands of grape varieties that were and still are grown in countries like France and Italy, two major theatres of war during all the great conflicts of the 20th century although some wineries do take pride in being almost a century old.
This scenario however is fast changing and the US has started to cultivate some of the best and well known grape varieties that we know today.
Almost all of the international brands of Europe can now be found in several valleys here.
As winemaking keeps on evolving in America, so do new grape varieties and mutations that keep farmers’ attention occupied.
One such grape variety is the Chambourcin grape, a hybrid of French and American wild grapes and has only been recently found in the 1960 by a viticulturist.
Today, after several decades, the grape has gained popularity not just in US but also in the Loire valley where it is said to be the third most cultivated grape variety Loire-Atlantique region since the 1970s.
Characteristics of Chambourcin
Chambourcin is perhaps the best you could get from a French grape, synthesized by an American variety.
It has also grown to a considerable extent in Australia, where it’s found to be more in cultivation than in France and is grown in districts of New South Wales where its blended with other well known varieties.
Being a red one, the grape produces some quality rich rose wines that have different flavors as you move across Chambourcin territories.
In France, Chambourcin gives off a slightly different trait with flavours being comparable to Cabernet Franc while those grown in Australia give off slightly divergent notes.
In general, Chambourcin does exhibit dark colors, intense spicy aromas with spicy flavors with notes of cherries and plums and some noticeable herbal traits as well.
Winemakers like Mike Fiore, who runs his own Fiore winery in Pylesville, Maryland, stresses on the ‘strong potential’ of this grape variety that can be used for a lot of blending and making varietal wines as well.
Fiore’s Proprietor’s Reserve Chambourcin is considered to be the best examples of Chambourcin potential in the US.
The grape’s flexibility and ease of cultivation in any continental condition also makes it a choice for those looking to get into wineries or would like their wine business to flourish; Chambourcin is a literally risk-free grape that promises immense returns.
Parentage of Chambourcin
Many believe its parentage is unclear in spite of being a very modern addition. What is known is that it is a cross of a Siebel hybrid and a North American native variety, name unknown.
It was developed by Joanne Siebel in the 160s and was only commercially available since the 1970s in the Loire valley.
It is now grown in the regions listed above Chambourcin is also the parent of the Regent grape that is gaining popularity in the German wine industry.
The grape’s popularity got catalyzed by Philip Wagner,founder of the Boordy vineyards in Hydes. He was important important and instrumental in getting the grape gain Pan-American popularity through his vineyards and wine business.
His legacy is what we see today; Chambourcin is one of the most sought after American varieties.
Chambourcin wines are fruity-spicy in nature and have immense matching potential with mild food items like Cepes a la Bordelaise, a French recipe of sautéed mushrooms, Italian cheeses or even common desserts.
Enjoy it with a lentil soup accompanied by a risotto to make a relaxing meal or pair it up with a manchengo to get a bittersweet sensation on the tongue.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂