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Folle Blanche grapes

by | Nov 1, 2016

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Folle Blanche is a white-skinned grape belonging to Vitis Vinifera species. Folle Blanche was once the hallmark of Cognac and Armagnac.

Wine with Folle Blanche grapes

The two wine producing regions of France, is now declining rapidly from France.

Gouais Blanc is the parent grape variety of Folle Blanche. Folle Blanche originated in France and exclusively found in western France.

Folle Blanche is known by many names; Picpoule and Gros plant in Loir and Vendée regions of France.

Although this variety of grape is found only in some parts of France, traces of small plantation of Folle Blanche is found in Spain, California, and Uruguay.

Baco Noir and Baco Blanc are the two offspring of Folle Blanche. With the decline in the production of Folle Blanche, Ugni Blanc, and Baco Blanc have taken its place which has very similar characteristics with the Folle Blanche.

The reason for the decline in the production of this grape variety is its susceptibility to rot and diseases.

Today, less than 3% vineyards of France grow Folle Blanche though it is crossed with other varieties to produce some of the greatest grape variety in France.

Wine grape varieties

For example, Folle Blanche crosses with Vitis Reparia variety to produce Baco 1 or Baco Noir, which is a disease resistant grape variety. Some of the popular brandies made in France, use Folle Blanche for blending.

This grape variety is naturally very acidic and can be fermented easily in comparison to other less acidic grapes variety. The wines made from Folle Blanche grapes are rare and expensive.

History of Folle Blanche grapes

Folle Blanche grape variety originated in France.
In the year 1696, plantation of Folle Blanche in Charente-Maritime department in the south-west cost of France was documented for the first time.
Folle Blanche takes its name from French word fou meaning mad.

Historically, Folle Blanche was planted in the vineyards of Loire Valley by Dutch wine merchants.
In the late 19th century, the production of Folle Blanche decreased after the Phylloxera epidemic and planters shifted towards more rot resistance grape varieties.

In 1968, about 30,000 acres of land were dedicated to planting this grape variety, by the end of the year 2000, this figure has declined to less than 6,500 acres of land.

Many times Folle Blanche grape variety is misunderstood with other grape varieties like Knipperlé, which has very similar characteristics.

Viticulture and wine making of Folle Blanche grapes

Folle Blanche is a mid-ripening grape variety. The soil suitable for the growth of Folle Blanche varies from limestone to sand and clay. The mild-cool climate of around 22 to 32 degree Celsius of temperature is considered favorable for the growth of this grape variety.

This grape has long vines and green leaves with 5 lobes. The shape of the leaves is deep and U-shape.  The berries of Folle Blanche are juicy and have a round shape.

The berries are of medium size. Planting Folle Blanche requires remedies to some of its natural problems like; susceptibility towards rot and diseases, sensitivity towards spring frost and early bud burst.

Some of the popular wines made from Folle Blanche are Gros Plant du Pays Nantais, Domaine Boingneres Folle Blanche Vintage Bas Armagnac and Christiane et Michel Lamothe Domaine Le Basque Bas Armagnac, France.

Characteristics of Folle Blanche Grape wines

In the Loire region of France, Folle Blanche grape produces a varietal wine, which is very rare.  Its high acidic characteristic has made it prone to distillation.

The wines made from Folle Blanche contain 17% of sugar. These wines’ alcohol content is about 8.5%, which is comparatively very less. These wines have pale lemon color.

Folle Blanche wine has an aroma of white pear and golden apple fruit, tough the aroma is intense but it’s delicate.

Since the acidic content in these wines is high, it has the flavor of raw lemon and green apple. The best serving temperature for these wines should be 8 to 12 degree Celsius.

Food pairing with Folle Blanche wines

Pilaf, which is fried rice with onion and spices, can be a good pair with Folle Blanche wines. Asian food cuisines are best suited for these wines because of its high acidic content.

Salad, chocolate, cheese etc. are other food items that are good to go with these wines.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

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 🙂

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