Old grape varieties are rediscovered, and new ones are created

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Old grape varieties, more or less forgotten, are now being honoured again. A variety called lignage was grown before the phylloxera around the city of Blois in the Loire Valley and produced wines with high acidity and low alcohol content. Unwanted characteristics at the time. Now, these are qualities that many producers are looking for.

In Corsica, new life is being breathed into the old varieties muriscu and muscatellu, both of which bud and ripen late, good qualities in times of climate change. These three grapes will now be given a trial period of between 9 and 15 years before it is decided if they can enter the official French catalogue of permitted grape varieties.

Five so-called resistant grape varieties (the new hybrids, sometimes called PIWI) have passed their trial period and are now entered in the French grape catalogue (one can only plant approved varieties). These are coliris, lilac, opals, selenos and sirano. All have good resistance to mildew, oidium and black rot.

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Young marselan vines in pebbly soil in the southern Rhone Valley, Costieres de Nimes
Young marselan vines in pebbly soil in the southern Rhone Valley, Costieres de Nimes, copyright BKWine Photography

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