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Valdiguié grapes

by Mar 31, 20170 comments

Valdiguié is one among the most popular grapes that is used for making red wine. It is commonly acquainted by the alias Gros Auxerrois and is predominantly grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon district of the southern part of France.


The wineries also grow Valdiguié as a minor variety in a few departments of Vin de Pays near Provence and Languedoc.

Valdiguié is also grown in the United States, especially in California. It is also known as Gamay 15 and Napa Gamay there.

Until the year 1980, Gamay of Beaujolais and Napa Gamay were believed to be the same. Later, the name Napa Gamay was banned from usage in the U.S wine labels in January 1999 because DNA testing exposed its true identity.

After 1999, it was outlawed and the ban was taken off. Valdihuié is famous for being high yielding, but is an ordinary variety of wine hailing from the south-west of France.

It was widely grown in California during the 1970s on more than 6,000 acres of land because of its high yielding capabilities and resistance to powdery mildew.

Wine grape varieties

But, as years passed, it got tagged as an ordinary variety of wine which reduced its popularity majorly.

This was the main reason of its downfall. Now, hardly 300 acres of land is available for growing Valdiguié in California.

The reputation of Valdiguié is merely mediocre. These grapes are treated by a number of vinification methods in California.

To enhance the essence of fruity flavour, carbonic maceration is used extensively. This technique further increases the confusion between the true Gamay of Beaujolais and Valdiguié.

Back in its homeland, it is not more than a minor variety of grape with the name Gros Auxerrois.

It is used more often to add colour to the red wine vin de table which has a high-alcohol content, originating in the Midi.

There are many other names that Valdigué go by. These synonyms are Noir de Chartres, Quercy, Jean-Pierrou at Sauzet, Cahors, Valdiguer and so on and so forth.


Valdigué wasn’t as popular before as it is now in the wine industry. It became commercial for the first time in the year 1874. The origin was not very clear. Experts came up with three acceptable theories to explain the origin of Valdiguié.

They are:

  • It is said that M. Valdiguié (1745-1817), chose a sapling which led to the origin of this famous variety of wine from a French variety of red wine grape kind called Merille.
  • The other popular belief apart from the above stated theory was that Guillaume Valdiguié located this grape variety in a vineyard near a monastery located in Aujols.
  • Many experts go by the theory that Jean Baptiste Valdiguié found this variety of grapes in a vineyard near Puylaroque and later sold it after the year 1874.

Though, any of the theories are not yet proven or accepted by all experts, one can resort to any of these theories to gain insight about the origin of Valdiguié.

Some of the other regions that yield Valdiguié wines in North America are Suisun Valley, Lodi, North Coast, Paso Robles, Solano County, Redwood Valley and Solano County Green Valley.


This variety of wine grape is found in large clusters in a conical shape, usually dark black-blue in colour.

It is known to be highly yielding. It is also quite resistant to powdery mildew called oidium. The wines containing Valdigué are generally dark coloured with significantly low amounts of alcohol.

As it has a lower amount of alcohol along with a fruity flavour compared to the other wines, it does not conclude many varietal distinctions.

These wines are of light or medium body and are prepared in a similar fashion as that of the true Gamay of Beaujolais.

Food Pairing

It is important to know what food should be paired with the type of wine that is being consumed.

There are many non vegetarian options that suit best with Valdiguié. But in case of vegan consumers, a better option is to pair the fruity flavour of the wine with something spicy and savory.

Adding some fine yet mouth-filling tannin can do the course of essential taste buds’ arousal as well. Other than the above, Valdiguié goes game with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes.

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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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