Origin and History of Poulsard
Poulsard is possibly the oldest grapevine variety belonging to the Jura region and contributes its full character on red marls.
The grape got its name from a wild berry called Pelousse, which is edible and is grown in the northern region of Jura.
Regions Where It Is Grown
Poulsard is a sactioned grape variety in the AOC wines of Cotes du Jura AOC, Arbois AOC, L’Etoile AOC, Macvin du Jura AOC and Cremant du Jura AOC.
Poulsard is found primarily in eastern France, in the Jura region between Switzerland and Burgundy. Because of its distinctive and versatility floral fragrances, the grape was formerly the most extensively planted grape in Jura but due to several viticulture hazards and changing styles in the wine market, the plantings have declined.
Anyhow, it is Jura’s 2nd most extensively planted grape. It is a sanctioned grape in many Jura AOCs such as Cotes du Jura AOC and Arbois where it is blended with Pinot noir and Trousseau Noir to produce rose and red wine; the Cremant du Jura AOC where it produces sparkling and white rose and the L’Etoile AOC where it produces a blanc de noir white wine.
Poulsard and its wines have been famous having several synonyms such as Blussard Blau, Belossard, Blussart, Cornelle, Blussard Modry, Drille-de-Coq, Mecle, Malvasier Schwartz, Kleinblaettrige Fingertraube, Mescle, Olivette, Pelossard, Methie, Peloussard, Miecle, Pendulot, Pleusard, Pandouleau, Plousard, Pulsar, Plussart, Yurskii Zhemchug, Raisin Perle, Pulsard, Pulceau, Plant d’Arbois, Quille de Coque etc.
Characteristics of Grape
Technically, it is a dark-skinned noir grape, but the skin of this grape is quite thin with very less quantity of color- phenols and makes very dull colored red wines, even after complete maceration and is used to make white wines.
Due to this feature, Poulsard is usually blended with other red grapes or used to make light colored rose wines. Moreover, the grape is used to produce sparkling cremants and blanc de noir white wines.
In Jura, the grape is usually planted on limestone, shale marl and clay soils. The clusters of grape have a thin skin with oval-shaped berries that have a black to light violet color.
The Poulsard vine has the tendency to bud early, which makes it liable to the viticulture hazards of frost of early springtime. This vine is additionally vulnerable to several grape diseases such as grey rot, oidium and downy mildew.
These issues along with its reduced phenolics and pigments have added to the decline of the grape in entire plantings, though it is still available in Jura.
Characteristics of Wine
Even after being a red-skinned Noir grape technically, Poulsard generally produces Vin Gris either due to reduced extraction of color pigments or from the must oxidation that reduces the color even more.
Although several red skinned grape give color over some hours or day during the process of maceration where the skin is kept in touch with the fermenting must, the quantity of pigment is so low that very little color is penetrated into the must even after an extended maceration for a week.
Because of this reason, Poulsard is generally used to manufacture light colored rose and white wines, though above 80%of the harvest is officially used to produce red wine in Jura.
Even though Poulsard can be used to make a varietal wine, it is usually blended with other grapes to enhance color or to improve the fragrance of the blend.
The grapes with which Poulsard is often blended are Trousseau Gris, Pinot Noir and Trousseau Noir. The wine is very fine and fresh with red cherries, nice sappy notes and a delicate leafiness.
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