Ugni Blanc grapes
The grape is one of the most widely known white wine varieties and is cultivated in almost all of Europe and also to a considerable extent, overseas as well.
Ugni Blanc is a very famous grape, but despite its popularity around the globe, it is ironically, one of the least labelled varieties.
It is one of the least prestigious among all of white varieties. This comes as an astonishing fact, since Trebbiano itself is used to produce one of the most commonly sought after white wines in Italy and France, it’s two of the biggest producers, especially in the production of Cognac and Armagnac wines, where it’s a quintessential ingredient to produce these two.
Origins of Ugni Blanc
Ugni Blanc is originally an Italian variety, originating around the region of Tuscany, where it’s still growing.
Because of its high yields and low costs, Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) spread northwards into the rest of the mainland Western Europe, including France and the Iberian Peninsula.
It is still one of the most produced white varieties of Italy, with some 76% of its production coming from there, while some 30% comes from France as well. Plantations also exist in Australia, the new world and the US.
Ugni Blanc is an old grape, although its exact date of origin and place is yet to be uncovered.
The grape existed in ancient times and Romans were quite well familiar with it. A subtype was recognised in Bologna in the 13th century as well and Ugni Blanc itself spread across Western Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries when the papal court was being shifted from Rome to Avignon.
In the following centuries, Ugni Blanc was being used in several parts of southeastern France, where it’s still being cultivated in the area.
In the following years, Ugni Blanc only witnessed upward economic trends. While some of it had to suffer during the phylloxera epidemic, the variety soon regained its glory because of the high popularity followed even back then.
Today, the grape is produced in large quantities in the Cherantais and Gascony regions of France where Cognac and Armagnac are produced. Light, crisp and comparatively neutral tasting white whiles are produced here, while a majority is converted into brandy.
Types of wines
It is not to be taken as a conception that Ugni Blanc produces similar white wines across all the regions it is produced in.
Several types of wines exist, and some because of Ugni Blanc’s clones give off different tastes and traits.
In cooler areas, Ugni Blanc makes white wines that are quite lively with discreet aromas.
In the hotter areas of the Mediterranean, it makes smoother, more flavour filled wines with fresh aromas and a full-bodied varietal taste.
Reach the regions of Auch, Angouleme and Rochefort and the grape is used to produce some of the best known brandies.
Ugni Blanc is a late ripening variety and buds at least a week later than the Chasselas, the benchmark grape compared to Ugni Blanc and ripens some 3½ weeks after it, making Ugni Blanc a period II grape.
The grape is very vigorous and also very susceptible to problems relating to high yields as that considerably reduces the quality of the cultivation.
Several pruning methods and limits to irrigation are used to limit the quantities once harvested.
Ugni Blanc is a not a very resistant variety towards hazards and fares very badly during winters.
It grows best in calcareous soils, although it is not much selective when it comes to soil types.
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