If Grenache is the king of southern Rhône reds, then what is the region’s star white variety? Grenache Blanc may be the most widely planted, but I would argue the case for Clairette, or Clairette Blanche to use its full name. Clairette is usually found in blends, but I’ve been encountering pure Clairette increasingly frequently.
To get a clearer impression of the grape, I tasted as many wines as I could find that contain at least 80% Clairette. I was expecting to find 10, perhaps 20. I ended up with 70 (12 notes were published in Decanter’s November 2022 magazine, with an additional 41 for Decanter Premium).
Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for a selection of Clairette wines to try from around the world
Tough and beautiful
It’s not an aromatic grape, but it nonetheless has a floral softness and a deeply Provençal character; it’s richly textured, with a full, luxurious consistency that’s balanced by deep-set, if gentle acidity. It also performs well in hot climates – which might explain why its star is in the ascendant, not just in France, but around the world.
Matt Walls’ picks: a taste of Clairette wines from around the world
The list below features all five sparkling wines, plus all wines that scored 93 points or above