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Molette grapes

by | Nov 3, 2016

Molette is a white wine grape belonging to France primarily planted in the region of Savoie.


Molette as a varietal has a tendency to produce wine of neutral taste so it is mostly combined with Rousette to improve the complexity.

The occurrence of Molette in the blend with other grapes provides it a significant peppery feature.

Wine grape varieties

The analysis of DNA has disclosed that Molette is a hybrid which is formed between Gouais Blanch and an anonymous variety of grape.

Remember to read the Wine Tasting guide…


Origin and history of Molette

This grape variety belongs to the Savoie and on the basis of the publications of genetic analysis, it is possibly a successor of Gouais B. Molette Blanche is formally recorded in the “Catalogue of vine varieties”.

Plantations of Molette were badly affected during the 19th century in the phylloxera epidemic due to which the vines were completely wiped out from the region of eastern France.

Although the slight recovery of grape took place in the 20th century, the French plantings of Molette declined heavily in the 1970s, with only 200 hectares left in 2000 in France.

Regions where Molette is grown

Molette is a light-skinned grape variety producing white wine. In spite of looming extinction, the grape has found its place in the alpine foothills, particularly in the sub-region of Bugey between Lyon and Annecy.

The plantations are spread out to only 5 hectares of land leading to its reduced existence and are utilized particularly in the AOC (Appellation d’origine controlee) Vin de Savoie and the VDQS (Vin delimite de qualite) wine Bugey.

Synonyms of Molette

Molette is also famous under several synonyms like Molette de Seyssel, Mondeuse noire, Mondeuse, Molette Noire and Molette Blanche. Molette belongs to the Vitis vinifera family.

Characteristics of Molette grape

The clusters of grape are moderately sized with small berries. They may also be less herbaceous and exhibit aromas of green apples, newly cut grass and pears.

Molette provides excellent taste when consumed young, although it still shows its lively citrus and clean minerality palate. The grape is rich in Tannin and has a good color with notes of bitter cherry which makes it highly spicy.

We can blend the wines produced in Savoie with Gamay and Pinot Noir, adding to their acidity and fruitiness. Winemakers often point out that Molette resembles the Italian white wines in its bitter and rustic character.

The bouquet is strongly aromatic with a taste of damson plums, sour cherries, black pepper and pencil lead.


The cultivation of Molette is dynamic and shows fairly linear growth. The variety shows normal fertility when pruned short but the yield becomes substantial when this variety is pruned long.

Molette is well adapted to sandy and clay-limestone soils. Being a late ripener, primarily when there are high yields, reaching an alcohol content more than 11% becomes difficult and thus it is always chaptalized.

Most possibly, Molette can be vulnerable to downy mildew and grey rot. The viticultural hazards which affect Molette are chlorosis, powdery mildew and mites. The vine is also very vulnerable to conditions of drought, which may need proper irrigation facility in the vineyards.

Characteristics of Molette grape wine

Molette wines are particularly produced in the dry, fresh style distinctive in Savoie, though their acidity level normally is not very high.

This late-ripening grape variety produces wines with extreme alcohol content and a neutral flavor.

The classic Molette wine is deep ruby-colored and the wine exhibits a strong personality with authentic spicy flavors. The notes are subtly spicy, floral (acacia and magnolia) and then flavors of raspberries, rich plum, redcurrant and hazelnut are observed which are not different from those present in Viognier.

This wine is full of notes of cinnamon, rosemary and black pepper. It is a medium-bodied with moderate tannin, but the taste of the spice lingers around the palate for a while. The wines produced from Molette show high acidity which is specific to cool climates.

These wines are mostly described as “alpine clean” or “mountain fresh”. This white wine produced from Molette grape is juicy, bright and quite refreshing.

Food pairings with Molette wine

Molette wine can be consumed with several food stuffs like Fondue, highly spiced food like burgers spiced with cumin and harissa mayo.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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